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MSU takes on Illinois State in “White Out” conference opener

FIRST AND TEN

  • The Missouri State Bears are 12-16 in MVFC openers since joining the league in 1985, with 17 of their 28 openers coming against ranked opponents; MSU has gone 4-13 vs. ranked foes and 8-3 vs. non-ranked opponents.
  • Ranked 24th in this week’s FCS Coaches Poll, the Illinois State Redbirds (1-2) represent the eighth ranked opponent for the Bears in a Valley opener over the last nine seasons.
  • Bears’ quarterback Kierra Harris ranks third in the MVFC and 12th nationally with five of the Bears’ eight rushing touchdowns on the season.
  • MSU’s Terry Allen brings a 10-6 career mark against the Redbirds into Saturday’s contest, as well as an 82-40 home record overall in 21 seasons as a head coach.
  • Missouri State leads The Valley and ranks 17th nationally in red zone defense (.692), while Illinois State has scored in each of its 10 trips inside the opposition’s 20-yard line to lead both the conference and all of FCS football.
  • Junior receiver Julian Burton leads the Bears and ranks third in the Valley in receptions per game (5.3), as well as seventh in the MVFC in both receiving (57.0) and all-purpose yardage (91.8) per game.
  • Senior cornerback Howard Scarborough broke up a pair of passes vs. UCA to move into a tie with Marcus Shipp for 10th place on the Bears’ all-time list with 20 for his career; he needs just one more PBU to move up to the ninth spot.
  • Senior receiver Dorian Buford needs 62 receiving yards to reach the 1,000-yard marker and just 16 more catches to crack the 100-reception barrier for his MSU career.
  • Missouri State dropped its third game of the 2013 campaign by six points or less with Saturday’s setback to UCA; the loss marked the Bears’ 10th setback by a touchdown or less in the last four seasons.
  • All but one of the Bears’ 11 FCS opponents in 2013 are receiving votes in at least one major poll this week, with three ranked in the top 10 and five rated among the top 25 in the country in the FCS Coaches Poll.

THE SERIES

ISU leads 17-15-1 with the Bears winning three of the last six meetings overall. MSU is 7-8-1 at home against the Redbirds, and head coach Terry Allen is 10-6 all-time against ISU. Illinois State coach Brock Spack is 3-1 against the Bears.

WHITEOUT / PARENTS WEEKEND

As part of Missouri State’s annual Family Weekend, Saturday’s contest has been designated as a “White Out” game, with all fans encouraged to wear white. The MVFC opener for both clubs will also mark MSU’s annual “Coaches to Cure MD” game, benefitting muscular dystrophy awarness and funding.

ABOUT ILLINOIS STATE

After a Division I FCS playoff run in 2012, Illinois State (1-2) is coming off a 31-17 home victory over Abilene Christian. The Redbirds got 201 passing yards from quarterback  Blake Winkler and a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown at the end of the first half to seal the win.

COACH Terry Allen

Missouri State head coach Terry Allen (UNI, 1979) is 123-112 (.523) in his 21st year as a head coach and 28-53 (.346) in his eighth year at Missouri State. Allen is 10-6 vs. Illinois State (6-2 at home) and has an 82-40 overall home record (18-21 at MSU). Allen is a five-time MVFC Coach of the Year and has previous head coaching stints at UNI (1989-96) and Kansas (1997-2001).

Allen entered the 2013 season 14th in victories among active FCS head coaches and 32nd on the NCAA’s all-time FCS victories list. He will be shooting for his 60th career MVFC victory this Saturday. Allen has compiled a 59-39 record in 15 seasons as a head coach at UNI (1989-96) and Missouri State (2006-present) in league play, trailing only current UNI sideline boss Mark Farley (64 wins) in all-time conference victories.

Additionally, Allen sits in third on Missouri State’s all-time conference wins list. He trails only Jesse Branch (31 wins) and Rich Johanningmeier (27).

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