SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State University has finalized its 2014 football schedule which features a 12-game regular-season for the second year in a row, a five-game home slate, and a trip to national power Oklahoma State.
Head coach Terry Allen opens his ninth season at the helm of the Bears with a Thursday game at Northwestern State on Aug. 28. The Louisiana club from the Southland Conference is coming off a 6-6 campaign, but finished 5-1 at home last season. The teams are meeting for the fifth time and second season in a row.
From there, the Bears begin September with a trip to 2014 Cotton Bowl participant Oklahoma State on Sept. 6 in Stillwater. The Cowboys were 10-3 last season and will be squaring off against the Bears for the third time since 2006.
MSU will have its home opener on Sept. 13 with a Family Weekend showdown against North Dakota in what will be the first-ever meeting between the Bears and UND. North Dakota recently hired Southern Illinois assistant Kyle “Bubba” Schweigert to lead its team this season.
The Bears wrap up non-conference play at Central Arkansas on Sept. 20. The Bears from Conway finished 7-5 overall last season and 4-2 at home. The Southland Conference squad was also 4-3 in league games last year and finished tied for third in the Southland standings.
“I think our schedule presents a number of opportunities for us,” Allen said. “In the non-conference, we’ll have a brand-new opponent coming to Plaster for our home opener with North Dakota, and we’ll have a chance to play UCA and Northwestern State again at their place. Oklahoma State has obviously been a traditional power in the Big 12 and had a great showing in the Cotton Bowl this year. All those games should get us ready for the Valley season, which is where we feel we can build on the successes we had last year and continue to compete in the upper division of our league.”
The club’s Missouri Valley Football Conference opener will take place at Plaster Field on Oct. 4 when the Bears renew their rivalry with Youngstown State after a two-year hiatus. The Bears are 5-11 all-time against the Penguins, but have won four in a row in the series.
Missouri State then embarks on on a trip to Brookings, S.D., on Oct. 11 against 2013 FCS playoff qualifier South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits finished 9-5 last season, but the Bears were victorious against SDSU in Springfield in 2013, scoring a 35-21 home win over the 15th-ranked squad in MSU’s first-ever win against the Jacks. A week later, South Dakota makes its first-ever appearance at Plaster when it journeys to Springfield for Homecoming. The Coyotes were 4-8 overall last season and 3-5 in the MVFC to finish seventh.
The Bears will then play a pair of key conference road games at Illinois State (Oct. 25) and Indiana State (Nov. 1). MSU was able to defeat both foes at Plaster Field last season, including a 37-10 win over the No. 24-ranked Redbirds in the Bears’ first win of the year in late September. Missouri State has now won two in a row in a series with the Redbirds that dates back to 1971 and also owns a 17-11 series lead over Indiana State which finished 0-8 in conference games in 2013.
Early November brings a pair of home games to the slate as Allen’s squad entertains archrival Southern Illinois on Nov. 8 on Showcase Weekend before welcoming three-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State to town on Nov. 15 on Senior Day. MSU defeated SIU in Carbondale this season to tie the all-time series 18-18 and win its fourth straight game near the end of the 2013 campaign. The Bears have also defeated NDSU twice in the last five years, matching the most wins by any conference school in that span over the Bison who have now reeled off 24 wins in a row dating back to 2012.
For the third year in a row, MSU closes out the season against Northern Iowa who they’ll challenge in Cedar Falls on Nov. 22.
Missouri State is expecting 36 lettermen and 70 total squad members to return when it opens spring drills in late March. Last season, MSU finished tied for second in the competitive Missouri Valley Football Conference by winning four of its last five games to finish the year. The club’s 5-3 record in league games marked MSU’s most conference wins and highest league finish since its playoff season of 1990.
Bears season ticket information is available by calling (417) 836-8899. Renewal information for current season ticket holders will be distributed in mid-March.
Allen and his staff will host a free Signing Day Party on Wednesday, Feb. 5 to mark the beginning of the spring National Letter of Intent signing period for college football. The event will take place at University Plaza Hotel (333 S John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield), starting at 6 p.m. in the John Q Room and will coincide with University Plaza’s weekly “Happy Hour Live” night which features food from local vendors, live music, drink specials and more. The Missouri State football staff will review the Bears’ 2014 Signing Day commitments and show video highlights of the signees.
Fans are also encouraged to follow the team’s Signing Day progress on-line on Feb. 5 by clicking on the Signing Day Central home page at MissouriStateBears.com.
|Thu., Aug. 28||at Northwestern State University|
|Sat., Sept. 6||at Oklahoma State University|
|Sat., Sept. 13||University of North Dakota (Parents Weekend)|
|Sat., Sept. 20||at University of Central Arkansas|
|Sat., Oct. 4||Youngstown State University*|
|Sat., Oct. 11||at South Dakota State University*|
|Sat., Oct. 18||University of South Dakota* (Homecoming)|
|Sat., Oct. 25||at Illinois State University*|
|Sat., Nov. 1||at Indiana State University*|
|Sat., Nov. 8||Southern Illinois University* (Showcase Weekend)|
|Sat., Nov. 15||North Dakota State University*|
|Sat., Nov. 22||at University of Northern Iowa*|
Press Release by Missouri State Football