Missouri State Announces First FBS Football Series

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri State has finalized a pair of non-conference football series for its inaugural season as a Division I FBS program in 2025, the university announced Thursday.

The Bears have inked exciting home-and-home series against Southern Methodist University (SMU) and Marshall University. Both series will begin in 2025 with reciprocal games in 2026.

The program’s first-ever home game against an FBS opponent will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2025 when the Bears host SMU at Robert W. Plaster Stadium. The game is expected to be a night contest and will kick off the university’s official home debut at its reclassified level. 

MoState will return the game in Dallas on Sept. 26, 2026. 

Likewise, the Bears have signed a home-and-home set with Marshall. The 2025 slate will feature a Sept. 6 game in Huntington, W.Va. against the Thundering Herd. The teams will also square off in Springfield in a rematch on Sept. 19, 2026.

It will mark Missouri State’s first-ever games against both foes.

For 2025, previously-announced games at Arkansas (Aug. 30) and at home vs. UT Martin (Sept. 20) will round out Missouri State’s inaugural FBS non-conference schedule. Next season will also including eight games in Conference USA. Those dates and opponents have yet to be announced by MSU’s new league.

Season ticket information for the upcoming season is available by calling (417) 836-8899, visiting MissouriStateBears.com/tickets or submitting a Ticket Interest Form

2025 Non-Conference Schedule
Aug. 30 – at Arkansas
Sept. 6 – at Marshall
Sept. 13 – SMU
Sept. 20 – UT Martin

2026 Non-Conference Schedule
Sept. 5 – at Kansas State
Sept. 19 – Marshall
Sept. 26 – at SMU

About Missouri State
This fall, Missouri State will enter its final season at the FCS level — and second season under head coach Ryan Beard — with 20 starters returning from a 4-7 club. Beard’s first season as Missouri State’s head coach in 2023 was highlighted by strong November performances and a highly-recognized passing offense that ranked No. 5 nationally (FCS) with a school-record 300.3 yards per game. MoState’s late-season surge included a convincing home win over No. 15 Northern Iowa and a hard-fought loss at eventual national champion South Dakota State in the season finale. 

The Bears have made the FCS playoffs twice in the last four seasons and are charter members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference which has produced 11 of the last 12 national champions at the FCS level, in addition to four national runners-up in that same span. MoState will transition to FBS football when it officially joins Conference USA in 2025.

About SMU
Third-year head coach Rhett Lashlee guides the Mustangs into the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 2024 after leading the Dallas squad to an 11-3 overall ledger and unbeaten 8-0 record in the American Athletic Conference last season. SMU defeated Tulane in the American Championship game before falling to Boston College in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl.

The Mustangs boast 12 players on the Athlon Sports Preseason All-ACC Teams, including first-teamer Brashard Smith, a Miami transfer who was a second-team All-ACC specialist a year ago. SMU plays at Gerald J. Ford Stadium which has a seating capacity of 32,000 with the possibility for future expansion to 45,000. The configuration includes nearly 600 club level seats and 240 seats in 24 spacious luxury suites housed in a three-level tower and press box. 

About Marshall
Marshall enters the 2024 season as one of the Group of Five’s most consistent programs, having made a bowl game in each of the last seven seasons and 10 of the last 11 years. Head coach Charles Huff is going into his fourth season leading the Thundering Herd and has a 22-17 record with the Herd during his three completed seasons.

Huff’s victories with the Herd include a pair of Power Five wins – a 26-21 win over No. 8 Notre Dame on Sept. 10, 2022, and a 24-17 win over Virginia Tech in Huntington on Sept. 23, 2023. In each of the last three seasons, Marshall has featured a running back that has eclipsed 1,000 yards and finished in the top-25 in FBS in rushing yards and touchdowns (Rasheen Ali, 2021 & 2023; Khalan Laborn, 2022).

Marshall is in its third season competing in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division.

This article is provided by Missouri State
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