Football Bears Look for Road Redemption at North Dakota

#7 Missouri State Bears (2-2, 0-1 MVFC) at North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2-2, 1-1 MVFC)
Date and Time Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022 | 12:02 p.m. (Central)
Location Alerus Center (12,283) | Grand Forks, N.D.
Game Information Weather | FCS Top 25 Polls
Tickets | (701) 777-4689 
Radio KWTO (101.3 FM) (Corey Riggs, Dennis Heim) | MSU Radio Network | Listen Live
Television ESPN+ (via Midco Sports) | (Brian Shawn, Ryan Kasowski) | Watch
Series Series tied, 2-2 | Last Meeting: MSU 32, UND 28 (10/30/21) | Final Stats
Live Stats Live Stats
Game Notes Missouri State | North Dakota | MVFC | MSU Media Guide
Follow Athletics Facebook | Athletics Twitter | Football Facebook | Football Twitter | Instagram | Petrino Weekly Presser | Players Weekly Presser | #MSUBears | #BearsUnite | #WakeTheBears | @MoStateFootball
Up Next Missouri State will host Southern Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2:00 p.m. | Tickets

First and Ten

  • Missouri State will embark on its first Missouri Valley Football Conference road swing Saturday (12 p.m., ESPN+) when the Bears travel to North Dakota for a key league showdown. It will be homecoming in Grand Forks and will mark MSU’s first trip to the Alerus Center since a playoff loss to the Fighting Hawks on April 24, 2021.
  • Saturday’s game marks the first of three indoor games for the Bears this season. Missouri State will also play in domed stadiums for upcoming contests at Northern Iowa (Oct. 22) and South Dakota (Nov. 5). Head coach Bobby Petrino is 2-2 as MSU head coach in domes.
  • Bears head coach Bobby Petrino is 1-1 all-time against North Dakota, including last season’s 32-28 win over the Fighting Hawks at Plaster Stadium. Overall, Petrino is 12-4 in MVFC games in his third season at MSU.
  • For his efforts vs. South Dakota State last week, safety Dillon Thomas (Kansas City, Mo.) was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week. The transfer from Northern Illinois racked up a game-high 11 total tackles, including 7 solo stops, which was also a game-high. His defensive effort marked the most stops by any Missouri State defender this season and was also just one shy of Thomas’ career high
  • Jason Shelley (Sr., Frisco, Texas) has thrown a touchdown pass in 9 straight games, just 1 shy of matching the program record (10), set by Jay Rodgers in 1999. He is also 46 total offense yards away from 5,000 for his MSU career and he would become the 7th Bear to reach that milestone and first since Peyton Huslig (2017-19).
  • Shelley starts this week ranked in the top 20 nationally in six categories: 9th in passing yards (1105); 11th in passing yards per game (276.2); 11th in total offense (291.2); 13th in yards per attempt (8.77); 17th in pass efficiency (154.9); 18th in passing touchdowns (8). The 2021 MVFC Offensive Player of the Year is also on the 2022 Walter Payton Award Preseason Watch List, which recognizes the top offensive player in the FCS ranks. 
  • Milestone Updates: Ty Scott is 70 receiving yards away from 1,500 at Missouri State (16g) … Kevin Ellis is 13 tackles away from 200 for his career (46g) and 1.5 sacks away from 20 … Jason Shelley is 48 passing yards from 4,500 at MSU (16g) … Jose Pizano is 11 points away from 200 (only 6 MSU players have ever reached 200).
  • Ty Scott (WR, Estill, S.C.) ranks 11th nationally in receiving TDs (4), 26th in receiving yards (320), and 34th in receiving yards per game (80.0). 
  • With a 44.55 career punting average, Grant Burkett (Joplin, Mo.) is the active leader among all FCS punters and is on pace to match the MVFC career record (currently held by NDSU’s Ben LeCompte – 44.55). His 45.1 average this season ranks 7th nationally, while his 47.3 average vs. SDSU last week was the eighth-best single-game punting average in program history.
  • The Bears defense ranks 23rd nationally in 3rd-down efficiency (.319), 28th in turnover margin (+0.5), and 31st in red zone defense (.733).
  • Missouri State kicker Jose Pizano (Lehi, Utah) has made 18 of his last 19 FG attempts and converted 47 straight extra points – just 4 away from matching the school record (51 by Travis Brawner, 1997-99). He currently ranks 5th among all FCS players in career points per game (7.3) and is the FCS active career leader in FG accuracy (.860).
  • Missouri State’s offense has high national ranks in: 14th in passing offense (276.2), 18th in pass efficiency (154.94), 20th in fewest interceptions (2), 22nd in fewest turnovers (4), 24th in yards per completion (13.81) and 32nd in red zone offense (.846).
  • Montrae Braswell (CB, Avon Park, Fla.) enters this week ranked 4th among all active FCS players (and MVFC leader) in career passes defended (36). He is 6 behind active leader Anthony Adams of Portland St. (42) and just 1 behind Jalen Carr (Tarleton St.) and Ferlando Jordan (Southeastern La.) with 37 apiece. In 37 career games (including time at Central Michigan), Braswell has 8 interceptions and 28 pass break-ups. Also one of the nation’s top kickoff returners, Braswell ranks No. 3 among active FCS kick returners in career average (29.3).

Coach Bobby Petrino

  • Bobby Petrino is in his third season as Missouri State’s head football coach after joining the Bears program on January 16, 2020. He is currently 134-67 (.667) in his 17th season as a head coach and is 15-11 (.577) at Missouri State, including an 8-4 ledger at Plaster Stadium and 7-7 road record. As Bears head coach, Petrino is 12-4 in MVFC games (6-1 at home). Petrino is 1-1 all-time against North Dakota.
  • He picked up his 75th career conference victory on Oct. 2, 2021 at Illinois State and his 130th all-time win on Nov. 6, 2021 at Southern Illinois.
  • Petrino’s second season in Springfield in the fall of 2021 was even more impressive than his debut campaign. The Bears finished 14th in both the AFCA and Stats Perform final polls, while rolling to a 6-2 league record and runner-up finish in the MVFC. In addition, the Bears made a second straight appearance in the NCAA FCS Playoffs, while Petrino tied for 11th in the final voting for the Eddie Robinson Award for FCS National Coach of the Year.
  • The Bears boasted a dozen all-conference players in 2021 with QB Jason Shelley earning MVFC Offensive Player of the Year and MVFC Newcomer of the Year laurels. Five other MoState players earned All-America distinction in 2021.
  • During his debut in 2020-21, Petrino helped lead the Bears to a 5-1 mark in Valley play to earn a share of the MVFC regular-season title. His efforts not only landed him the prestigious Bruce Craddock MVFC Coach of the Year Award, but also led the Bears to their first NCAA FCS playoff appearance in 30 years.
  • In August 2021, ESPN ranked Petrino No. 77 on its Top 100 college football coaches of the last 50 years.
  • Petrino previously served as head coach in two stints at Louisville as well as Arkansas and Western Kentucky. He spent 14 seasons at the FBS level and led his programs to 11 bowl appearances with seven teams ranked in the top 25 at season’s end.
  • The Helena, Mont., native is in his 34th year of collegiate coaching overall, having guided his programs to AP top-six final rankings three times (2004, 2006, 2011) and directing some of the nation’s top offensive programs along the way. His clubs have finished in the top five nationally in scoring offense three times, while his 2004 club at Louisville led the country in scoring (49.8 ppg). He has developed 34 NFL Draft selections during his illustrious career, including four in the first round, and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
  • Petrino and his wife Becky have four children: Kelsey, Nick, Bobby and Katie — and eight grandchildren. Nick Petrino is Missouri State’s offensive coordinator, while sons-in-law Ryan Beard (defensive coordinator) and L.D. Scott (defensive line) are also on the MSU coaching staff this season.  

Series History

  • The series between the Bears and Fighting Hawks is tied, 2-2, in a brief rivalry that started in 2014.
  • The first-ever meeting took place on Sept. 13, 2014 before a Missouri State record crowd of 18,386 at Plaster Stadium. Playing its first home game in newly-refurbished Plaster Stadium, MSU built a 14-0 halftime lead thanks in large part to its defense, then pulled away with three touchdowns in a five-minute span in the second half in a 38-0 victory. The Bears’ defense limited UND to 166 yards of total offense and just seven first downs.
  • The second meeting took place on Sept. 9, 2017 in Grand Forks as the Fighting Hawks used a 21-point second quarter to pace a 34-0 decision at the Alerus Center. North Dakota held the Bears to just 211 yards of total offense, including 76 in the first half, while Keaton Studsrud passed for 273 yards and a pair of touchdowns to pace UND. 
  • On April 24, 2021, a fast start by North Dakota proved too much as the Fighting Hawks scored on their first four possessions and cruised to a 44-10 win over the Bears in the first round of the NCAA FCS playoffs. Making their first NCAA appearance since 1990, Missouri State fell behind 27-3 at the intermission, but did not allow an offensive touchdown after that until two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Bears secured their only touchdown of the game with 12:20 to play as quarterback Jaden Johnson tucked the ball and scampered eight yards for a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 46-yard scoring drive. Missouri State’s TD march included a 13-yard pickup by Myron Mason and a 12-yard carry from Tobias Little to the UND 8-yard line.
  • The Bears avenged the playoff loss last season at home, on Oct. 30, 2021. A two-yard touchdown pass from Jason Shelley to Isaac Smith with 15 seconds left in the game secured a thrilling 32-28 come-from-behind victory for the No. 17-ranked Bears who overcame an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit. The game-winning drive seemed improbable just moments after the Fighting Hawks converted a fourth-and-one at the MSU 32, but moments later Von Young popped the ball loose, and Eric Johnson recovered for the Bears at their own 24.
  • Shelley then went to work, completing four of his next five passes to the UND 15, including a 39-yard strike to Naveon Mitchell to get the Bears within field goal range. A defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone gave the Bears the ball at the two. Then on third-and-goal with no timeouts left, Shelley found Smith open to the right side for the game-winning score.  | Final Stats
This article is provided by Missouri State