Coach: Bobby Petrino (First Season, 5-5 @ MSU, 124-58 overall (college))
Offensive Coordinator: Nick Petrino
Defensive Coordinator: Ryan Beard
Stadium: Robert W. Plaster Stadium (17,500 capacity)
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2021 Spring Record: 5-5 (5-1 MVFC)
New Coach Bobby Petrino’s team played three games in last fall but fell in all three contests. The Bears though might have used that experience to get better in the spring as it won five of six regular season contests all within MVFC play. MSU finished tied for the conference crown and also received the team’s first playoff bid since 1990. While the Bears would fall in the first round to MVFC foe North Dakota, the team exceeded expectations by a long shot in Perinto’s first campaign in Springfield.
Last year, the defense carried the team to that co-MVFC crown but lost its playoff game by a score of 44-10. The defense should again be strong with the returns of CB Montrae Braswell, DL Kevin Ellis, DL Eric Johnson, S Kyriq McDonald, and LB Tylar Wiltz.
Braswell was selected to the All-MVFC first team for the 2020-21 season after racking up 41 tackles, 35 solo stops and seven passes defended in seven games played. As a sophomore, he was tied for second in the league with three interceptions. Ellis started nine games at defensive end this past spring and led the team with eight tackles for loss and six sacks on the year. Johnson collected 27 total tackles, six TFL and 1.5 sacks. McDonald racked up 41 total tackles which tied him for the third-most tackles on the Bears defense. Wiltz led the Bears in the spring with 80 total tackles and 51 solo stops.
The offense took a hit with QB Matt Struck leaving the team for personal issues but he split starting time with sophomore Jaden Johnson. The Bears also signed FBS Utah State transfer Jason Shelley, who also spent time at Utah before being dismissed from the Utah State team last fall. He started four games in 2020 for USU and completed 51-of-99 passes for 420 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
The Bears also went the transfer route for their wide receivers and a running back so this fall’s team could have a complete new look from what we saw this past spring.
Among the speedy receivers Missouri State has added this offseason includes FBSs Central Michigan transfer Tyrone Scott and Florida Atlantic transfer Terique Owens, the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Owens.
The Bears this fall will also get RB Kevon Latulas back. He played in the three fall 2020 games before being ineligible for the spring. He had 87 or more all-purpose yards in each of MSU’s games against Central Arkansas.
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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