Scouting Report: Missouri State

This game is much more about Oklahoma State and how the Cowboys play than it is about Missouri State. The Bears are the Cowboys' only FCS opponent this season and they are coming off a very disappointing start last Thursday at home in Springfield.

The plan was for them to beat opening foe, Division II Washburn of Kansas, and then come absorb the loss to OSU and be 1-1 before playing rival Southeast Missouri. So much for the best made plans as Washburn knocked off Missouri State 35-27. The Bears have a squad that is two-thirds sophomores and freshmen. After a solid 6-5 season last season, times are tough for former Kansas head coach Terry Allen.

"This is the start of our third year. In fact we were out there at Oklahoma State for our opener two years ago," said Allen. "We just got to regroup. We took a lot of steps forward and then we just took a gigantic step back with the loss against Washburn. That is the tough part of it and now we have to regroup and get ready to visit those Cowboys."

Offense
Coordinator: Rob Christophel
This is definitely the better side of the football for the Bears as they are coming off a season where they scored more points that any team in Missouri State football history.

In the opener against Washburn the offense nearly played well enough to win. The score was tied at halftime 21-21 and then in the second half the Ichabods (that's Washburn) scored a touchdown in each quarter, while the Bears settled for a field goal in each frame. The quarterback, Cody Kirby, is the key as he is a returning starter having earned the job last season as a true freshman.

"He had a couple of interceptions on tipped balls and he is a very competitive player," said Allen of his signal caller. "He was the freshman of the year in our league last season and he is the preseason all-conference pick for this season. More impressively, here is a second year player that was elected captain by his teammates.

"He's got the leadership ability and the only thing wrong with Cody in the eyes of the Division I people is he is 5-11, 5-10 ½, and if he were 6-2 he would be playing in the SEC or the Big 12 or one of those places."

Key Players
Cody Kirby, QB, 5-11, 200, So., Rogers, Ark. - He was 21 of 42 in the opener with two touchdowns, two interceptions and 261 yards.

Kingjack Washington, RB, 5-10, 165, So., Owasso, Okla. - Had 14 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown in the opener.

Clay Harbor, TE, 6-4, 230, Jr., Dwight, Ill. - Potential All-American and he is an excellent blocker.

David Arkin, OG, 6-5, 281, So., Wichita, Kan. - Stout offensive lineman that they load and run behind.

Defense
Coordinators: D.J. Vokolek
The defense really struggled in the opener and Washburn moved the ball almost at will. They allowed a lot of yards up the middle. Allen said that defense is the staff's biggest concern.

"No question about that," emphasized Allen. "Last year we scored more points than we had in the history of Missouri State football and we are lagging behind defensively. That is our Achilles heel and we will go as far as the defense takes us. We could not have a worst match up than we have on Saturday.

"I think that Mike (Gundy) would agree that they have a good defensive team, but Oklahoma State is on the verge of being an exceptional offensive team and our defense will be very much challenged."

Key Players
Terian Washington, DE, 6-4, 230, So., Pine Bluff, Ark. - Started as a freshman and had a sack in the opener.

Jeremy Dawson, LB, 5-11, 212, Sr., Grandview, Mo. - Defensive captain had 13 tackles and four unassisted vs. Washburn.

Tony Randolph, LB, 5-11, 195, Blue Springs, Mo. - Undersized linebacker had a sack in the opener.

Special Teams
Perfect on field goal last week, but struggled with two kickoff returns as they fumbled and recovered one on their own two and lost the other one. They'll try to shore up that area this week.

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