Bears Tabbed Third; Eight Players Named to Valley Preseason Team

ST. LOUIS — Missouri State is picked third in the Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll, announced Monday by the league office, with eight Bears landing on the Preseason All-MVFC Team.

North Dakota State captured 39 of 41 possible first-place votes and 446 total points to land as league preseason favorites, ahead of South Dakota State (407), Missouri State (355), Southern Illinois (306) and Northern Iowa (304) to round out the top five. South Dakota (235), North Dakota (190), Illinois State (178), Youngstown State (132), Indiana State (109) and Western Illinois (44), respectively, round out the preseason vote-getters in the  in the 11-team league. 

It is the highest the Bears have been ranked in the preseason MVFC poll since 1996 (second). 

Bears earning Preseason All-MVFC honors were: Jason Shelley (QB), Ty Scott (WR), Landon Bebee (OL), Kevin Ellis (DL), Kyriq McDonald (DB), Montrae Braswell (DB and RS), Grant Purkett (P) and Jose Pizano (PK). 

Shelley is coming off a record-breaking debut campaign with the Bears in which he earned MVFC Offensive Player of the Year and MVFC Newcomer of the Year honors while earning All-MVFC first-team distinction. Scott, Ellis, Burkett and Braswell were also All-MVFC first-team selections in 2021 with Bebee and Pizano securing second-team laurels, and McDonald garnering honorable mention status. 

Earlier Monday, STATS Perform named Shelley, Burkett and Braswell to its FCS Preseason All-America Team.

Coach Bobby Petrino enters his third season as Missouri State head coach with 17 starters and 41 lettermen returning from an 8-4 squad that finished as runners-up in the Missouri Valley while making the NCAA FCS Playoffs for the second straight season.

The Bears kick off the 2022 season on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Central Arkansas before the club’s home opener a week later on Sept. 8 in a playoff rematch against UT Martin at Robert W. Plaster Stadium. Missouri State season tickets are currently on sale by calling (417) 836-8899, with single-game tickets set to go on sale August 8 at or by calling (417) 836-7678.

This article is provided by Missouri State