Jacks’ number one threat this week: Bears

Ariy-El Boynton

Ariy-El Boynton

Last week, Missouri State lost a 23-17, last-second shocker to Southern Illinois. SIU quarterback Chris Dieker’s pass to Marc Cheatham made the Bears thirsty for revenge.

MSU will take on the Jacks this week in a Valley football match-up. Let us see how they compare.


Missouri State’s Cody Kirby is one of the best quarterbacks in the conference and is just a sophomore. Kirby has passed for 11 touchdowns with only four interceptions and has averaged 194 yards per game. His passing efficiency is 129 so far this season.

SDSU’s Ryan Berry carries a 141.53 passing efficiency, along with 16 touchdowns on the year. In the last three games, Berry has 11 touchdowns, with only two interceptions.

Advantage: The Jackrabbits’ Berry. The senior has the hot hand.

Running backs

Missouri State and the Jacks hold similar stats rushing the ball. The Bears have 1,208 yards rushing this season. The Jacks have only five rushing yards more, with 1,213 yards. SDSU’s Kyle Minett (748 yards) may be the best running back on the field, but the Bears have two talented ball carriers. Kingjack Washington (535 yards) and Stephen Johnston (303 yards) are two options for Missouri State to hand the ball to. Quarterback Kirby has been known to carry the ball, as he has gained 245 yards so far.

Advantage: The three-headed monster of the rushing Bears gives MSU the advantage.


Kirby has talented receivers to throw to: Clay Harbor has 26 catches and 44 yards a game, while Chase Mejia (20 catches) has made clutch catches for Missouri State.

Chris Geisz (18 catches, 37.4 yards a game) and Justin Fuselier (15 catches, 39.9 yards a game) both have three touchdowns on the year.

The Jacks come to the game with one of the most talented receiver corps in the conference. Six receivers have 10 or more catches on the season. Glen Fox’s performance last week against Indiana State made him the leading receiver for the Jacks on the season with 46 catches.

JaRon Harris has 45 catches and leads the Jacks with eight touchdowns. Minett is a threat out of the backfield with 37 catches on the season.

Advantage: Jackrabbits


The Bears have given up 3,284 yards of total offense and 232 points on the season. MSU’s passing defense is solid this year, giving up only 1,241 yards on the season. Their rushing defense has come up short at times. They gave up more than 2,000 (2,043) yards this season. The Bears only have five sacks for a loss of 32 yards.

The past four games the Jacks’ defense has allowed 145 points. SDSU has been effective against the run, only allowing 1,247 yards on the season. The Jackrabbits have allowed 1,732 yards in the air, but the Jacks have been good at getting to the quarterback, with 17 sacks and 53 tackles for loss. SDSU has had 17 takeaways.

Advantage: Even

Special Teams

The Jackrabbits’ last game saw a nearly perfect performance by the special teams unit. SDSU’s punter Dean Priddy is out with mononucleosis, and linebacker Dirk Kool is replacing him. Last week, the Jacks’ field goal kicker Peter Reifenrath was out because he broke a rule.

MSU’s Jordan Chiles has had six punts go 50 yards and eight punts that landed in the 20. Matt Hottelman has been an impressive field goal kicker, making 6-of-9 so far. Hottelman is perfect (2-2) from 40 to 49 yards out.

Advantage: Missouri State

One key question to ask is how big of a role will special teams play in this game? After a tough loss to Illinois State, will Missouri State come in and play with nothing to lose or take a more somber approach?

Whoever wins the battle between the Jacks’ passing offense and MSU’s passing defense will more than likely win the conference game.