Head coach Terry Allen opens his eighth season at the helm of the Bears with a Thursday night home game with Northwestern State on Aug. 29. The Louisiana club from the Southland Conference is coming off a 4-7 season and sixth-place conference finish. The Bears and Demons have split two previous contests, including a 20-10 MSU victory at Plaster Field in 1989 in the most-recent meeting.
From there, the Bears begin September with a pair of road games, including a Sept. 7 visit to Allen's hometown of Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes and a Sept. 14 trip to Murray State. Iowa is coming off a 4-8 campaign that saw it finish tied for fifth in the Legends Division of the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes are MSU's first-ever Big Ten opponent. It will be MSU's fourth meeting with Murray State in five seasons, including the Bears' narrow 28-23 home loss to Murray in 2012. MSU is 1-7 all-time against the Racers and will be looking for its first win at Roy Stewart Stadium.
MSU wraps up non-conference play on Sept. 21 when it opens a two-game home stand against Central Arkansas. The Southland Conference Bears won a share of their conference title in 2012 and finished 9-3 overall while making the FCS playoffs. The series between the clubs is even, 3-3, with the last meeting being a 42-38 MSU home win in 2007.
The club's Missouri Valley Football Conference opener will take place at Plaster Field on Sept. 28 when the Bears host Illinois State on Family Weekend. MSU knocked off the 11th-ranked Redbirds, 24-17, in Normal last season and will look to gain ground in the long-standing rivalry. ISU, which finished 9-4 a year ago en route to the FCS quarterfinals, leads the all-time series with MSU, 17-15-1.
Missouri State then embarks on back-to-back October games in the Dakotas with its first trip to the Dakota Dome in Vermillion, S.D., Oct. 5. The Bears' 27-24 home victory over South Dakota at Plaster last fall started a three-game winning streak for Missouri State. The following week, Allen's troops invade the FargoDome to wrangle with the two-time defending FCS Division I champions from North Dakota State on Oct. 12. The Bears and Bison have split the last four meetings, including a narrow 21-17 win by No. 1 NDSU last year in Springfield.
The Bears will host South Dakota State on Oct. 19 for Homecoming. The visiting Jackrabbits were the MVFC runners-up last season and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. The club's third home game against a 2012 playoff team kicks off a string of three MSU home games in a five-week span to close out the season.
MSU travels to Western Illinois on Oct. 26 in hopes of expanding its 16-15-1 lead and extending its three-game winning streak in the series with the Leathernecks. The Bears then return home to play Indiana State on Nov. 2, a series the maroon and white leads, 16-11.
Allen's team plays its final road game of the year on Nov. 9 at Southern Illinois with a chance to even the all-time ledger with the Salukis who lead the rivalry, 18-17. Missouri State will then celebrate Senior Day at Plaster Field on Nov. 16 with a visit from perennial league power Northern Iowa as the Bears wrap their first six-game home slate since 2009.
Missouri State is expecting 41 lettermen and 72 squad members to return when it opens spring drills in late March. Last season, MSU finished 3-8 overall, but the Bears won three of their last five games and took top-ranked North Dakota State to the wire at home late in the season.
For 2013 season ticket information, please call (417) 836-7678 or (417) 836-3302.
Allen and his staff will host a free Signing Day Party for all fans in the PRIME Overtime Club at JQH Arena this Wednesday evening. The free public event will begin at 6 p.m. and feature complimentary light snacks and soft drinks with a cash bar also available. Missouri State head coach Terry Allen and his staff will review the Bears' 2013 Signing Day commitments and show video highlights of each signee. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and those attending should park in the metered lot just south of JQH Arena (Lot 26).