Welcome to Week Three! After a great bounce back game last week, Oregon will look to add another “W” to its tally when the Missouri State Bears (an FCS team) come to town.
FCS Football is one of the most underrated sporting leagues around, with a great deal of competition and of course, the all-important playoff system. Our opponents this week come from the Missouri Valley Conference and look to take the experience gained from playing powerhouses like Oregon and Arkansas to mature their relatively young squad. In fact, “Missouri State is the only program in the country, at any level, to play two AP Top 15 teams (FBS) during the non-conference portion of its schedule.”
Little information is available about MSU, and few journalists keep good tabs on Missouri State Football, so who better to ask for information from than a die hard fan. Missouri State has one of their own, very well operated forum system at Bear-Nation.com, and we were fortunate to get in touch with Terry Nunn, one of the moderators on the site. He answered a few questions about Missouri State athletics, football, and FCS-FBS relations:
FishDuck.com: Tell us a little bit about the MSU Athletics Programs, and facilities.
Terry: Our facilities would surprise most outsiders and I would put our basketball and baseball venues up against anyones. Missouri State is first and foremost a basketball school and it evident by the 70 million dollar 11,000 seat arena we play in. In the last 25 years our men’s program has been to 6 NCAA tournaments (including a sweet 16), 9 NIT tournaments and a CIT Championship while our women have been to 14 NCAA tournaments (2 Final Fours) and 2 WNIT (won 1 championship). Baseball is another strong sport and we play in a 32 million dollar 8000 seat stadium. We have played in 7 NCAA tournaments and went to the College World Series in 2003. Some of our alumni currently in MLB are Ryan Howard, Shaun Marcum, Brad Ziegler, and Ross Detwiler. We currently have 14 former players throughout the various levels of pro baseball. A little shout out to the VolleyBears as they have made 6 NCAA tournaments the last 8 years.
FD: So on to Football, who is one playmaker that the Bears will have on offense? Defense?
T: RB #4 Chris Douglas – averaged 6.9yds per carry last year and all the fans think he should get the ball more. ILB #52 Andrew Beisel – RS frosh who is currently our leading tackler after 2 games…6’2″ 230lbs.
FD: What is the usual game plan and scheme the Bears will run on offense?
T: No huddle spread, but a little more conservative than most as we tend to run more power or pulling stuff out of it. The fanbase has really wanted us to open it up a little more the last few years but we have very good backs for our level so the staff tends to lean on them more. Our QB started at WR last year so he can make some plays against teams at our level.
FD: Two trips to big time Div. 1 Programs (Arkansas and Oregon) this season, are you a fan of the FBS-FCS interplay? Or does it ultimately hurt the team?
T: Well, we play 2 more next year (Louisville and Iowa) and the main reason is money. We are taking part of the extra money and using it for stadium upgrades. Also, as most FCS teams our football program loses money and playing 2 BCS teams will minimize the loss.
FD: How well will MSU compete in Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) this year?
T: MVC Football Conference is one of the better in all of FCS and in the current FCS poll there are 3 MVC teams in the top 15 and 3 others receiving votes. It will probably be a tough year for us being so young but playing teams like Oregon and Arkansas should prepare us for the conference. We will be tough at home but we only have 4 home games so that won’t matter much.
Make sure you check out Bear-Nation.com for any MSU athletics information. Thanks to Terry for all the great information on the Bears.
Things may go badly for the Bears on Saturday, but MSU fans are looking for a little poise in their Sophomore QB, Trevor Wooden. He sat out in the game against Arkansas, serving a suspension, but came back against Eastern Kentucky, and threw for 262 yards, contributing to his 333 yard total. He scored 3 TDs, two by air, one on the ground, and set the MSU record for most yards by a QB in a debut. He was rather efficient, completing 69 percent of his passes, converting 7-10 third downs, and leading his team to scoring drives of 60, 63, 71, and 60 yards. As a freshman, Wooden started at receiver, so expect him to have a little mobility in the backfield.
The Ducks are aiming for a shutout. A combined effort from their starters and second-stringers will be needed as the offense will open a gap quickly. Duck fans should be excited about seeing Bryan Bennett, Tra Carson, and the rest of the Freshmen getting some significant playing time should they be needed down the road (knock-on-wood).
I’m not one for predictions in games like this, so I’ll just say, no this is not Appalachian State, and the score should be Ducks 60 or higher, Bears 7 or lower.
Thanks again to Terry, WTD, and Go Ducks!