Six football Bears named to All-Missouri Valley Team

Junior Dorian Buford (WR, Florissant, Mo.) and sophomore Caleb Schaffitzel (DB, Fair Grove, Mo.) were among 27 student-athletes named First-Team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference Monday by the league office. Additionally, senior Randy Richards (OL, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) was tabbed for the MVFC’s second team, while Nate Davis (LB, Jr., Liberal, Kan.), Anthony Grady (DL, Jr., Texarkana, Ark.) and Matt Thayer (TE, Sr., Bellevue, Neb.) picked up honorable mention all-conference recognition for the Bears.

Buford headlined MSU’s list of honorees on the offensive side of the ball with his first All-MVFC nod after leading the team in receptions (59), receiving yardage (642) and all-purpose yardage (642). The junior from Florissant, Mo., ranked second in the MVFC in receptions and third in receiving yardage, good for 47th and 87th nationally, respectively. He also finished the campaign tied for second on MSU’s single-season receptions list, and became just the 10th player in school history with three 100-yard receiving games in a season. Buford caught seven passes for a career-best 114 yards at Kansas State (Sept. 1) to earn CFPA Performer of the Week recognition, then topped the century mark again vs. Murray State (Sept. 15) and at Illinois State (Oct. 20), picking up MVFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in the latter.

On the defensive side, Schaffitzel ranked eighth in the nation in interceptions (0.45) and 24th in tackles (9.9) to notch his first All-MFVC honor. The Fair Grove, Mo., product, who led the MVFC in interceptions in league play, was a two-time MVFC Defensive Player of the Week and the CFPA’s National Defensive Performer of the Week for his effort vs. No. 1 North Dakota State on Nov. 3. He paced MSU in tackles (109), interceptions (5), solo stops (56) and passes defended (11), recording double-figure tackles in five of the team’s 11 games in 2012, including 20 stops at Louisville (Sept. 8), an MVC season high. Schaffitzel was a standout in the classroom as well, earning CoSIDA Capital One Academic All-District 6 honors.

Richards was a stalwart all season on the MSU offensive line, starting all 11 games at right tackle to conclude his MSU career with a string of 22 consecutive starts. A Royal Palm Beach, Fla., native, Richards was named MSU’s Offensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts vs. both Kansas State and North Dakota State. He was successful in executing 98 percent of his assignments and graded out at 85 percent overall for the season with 56 knockdown blocks to register his first All-Valley postseason honor.

Complementing the work of Schaffitzel for the Bears’ defense were additional first-time All-MVFC honorees in Davis and Grady. A senior outside linebacker, Davis started all 11 contests for the Bears in 2012, registering 75 tackles -- including 44 solo stops -- to rank second on the team and 20th overall in the conference. He also posted a team-best 5.5 sacks for the year, good for seventh overall in the Valley and 64th nationally. The Liberal, Kan., product recorded 12 tackles at Kansas State and a career-best 14 stops vs. South Dakota State (Sept. 29). Grady, meanwhile, made nine starts at right defensive end, totaling 49 total tackles, five sacks and a team-high of eight tackles for loss. He finished second in the MVFC in sacks in conference play and ranked 90th overall nationally for the season. A two-time MSU Defensive Player of the Week, Grady was named CFPA National Defensive Line Performer of the Week for his effort Oct. 13 vs. South Dakota in which he recorded career highs for tackles for loss (3.5) and sacks (3.0) while also tallying five total tackles and recovering a pivotal fumble late in the Bears’ come-from-behind 27-24 win.

Thayer earned his second-straight All-MVFC honorable mention citation after concluding the season as the Bears’ second-leading receiver with career-best totals of 38 catches and 294 yards. The tight end wrapped up his MSU career with starts in 23 consecutive games, including all 11 in 2012. A two-time MSU Offensive Player of the Week this season, Thayer posted his best effort of the campaign against Southern Illinois (Sept. 22), grabbing eight receptions for 72 yards, both figures representing career highs.

The Bears concluded the 2012 season with a 3-8 overall record and a 3-5 mark in league play, good for eighth place in the Valley standings.

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