2006 Record: 2-9
Saturday, September 15th
Manhattan, Kan., Bill Snyder Family Stadium
6:05 p.m. Central Daylight Time (No TV)
When Missouri State has the ball...
The Bears have two returning quarterbacks with extensive experience from last year in sophomores Tyler Horner and Brad Krapfl. Krapfl started five games and Horner four last year, and the pair combined for 1,621 yards passing, seven touchdowns and six interceptions (on 146-250 passing, 58.4 percent).
The Bears ran the ball twice as often as they threw it last year, but lost their leading rusher, Michael Cooper. The top returnee is senior Gerald Davis, who had 56 carries for 275 yards (4.9 ypc) and one touchdown last year.
Although they don't throw the ball often (or particularly well) the MoSU has its top four receivers back from last year in Jeremy Nicholson, Tamarkus McElvane, Eric Davis and Chris Geisz. That group combined for 109 receptions, 1,439 yards and nine touchdowns last year.
When K-State has the ball...
To put it mildly, MoSU was not very good on defense last year. The Bears gave up 196.6 rushing yards per game, as well as 21 touchdowns. Through the air, it was 196 yards per game and 12 more touchdowns.
On the defensive line, end is the only returnee, and he saw action in only four games last year. He recorded three total tackles. The Bear d-line averages only 252 pounds.
At linebacker, the Bears return Jeron Poole, Jeremy Dawsom and Cory Harbor. That trio combined for 98 tackles, five tackles for loss and one sack.
Finally, the defensive secondary has five returnees in Marcus Colbert, Chris Farrar, Roger Wright, Darren Dula and Cedric Alvis. Combined stats for this group inclue 82 tackles, nine pass breakups and one interception.
I'll skip the matchups because it's pretty clear MoSU is overmatched in pretty much every phase of the game. I'll also skip the "Three reasons..." section because I really can't think of three ways the Bears could win unless K-State totally fails to show up or is seriously dinged up.
Instead, I'll note that last year MoSU was 0-2 against common opponents, falling 52-10 to Oklahoma State and 38-14 to Illinois State. K-State managed last-second victories against both those teams in Manhattan.
K-State has the advantage in size and talent across the board. The only way it could lose this game at home is if the coaches fail to get the players' attention focused on it. The Bears are undersized and inexperienced and will be playing in a hostile environment (although I doubt the fans will turn out in droves for this game). This won't quite be the Florida Atlantic game last year, but I expect the Cats will establish the running game to beat up the Bear defense and that the defense will provide a long evening for the Bear offense. The Cats roll to a 38-9 win.