Missouri State preview capsule

NCAA Football

(Stats Perform) – Missouri Valley Football Conference member Missouri State is one of 15 FCS programs (out of 127 overall) that has announced it will play at least one nonconference game this fall. Due to coronavirus concerns, the MVFC postponed its conference schedule until a potential spring season.

LOCATION: Springfield, Missouri

STADIUM: Plaster Sports Complex

HEAD COACH: Bobby Petrino (first season; 119-56 overall)

2019 RECORD: 1-10, 1-7 Missouri Valley Football Conference (Tie/9th)

2020 FALL SCHEDULE: at Oklahoma (Sept. 12), at Central Arkansas (Sept. 26), Central Arkansas (Oct. 17)

PROJECTED RETURNING STARTERS: 12 (7 offense/5 defense)

3 KEY RETURNEES: WR/KR Damoriea Vick, OLB Tyler Lovelace, S Titus Wall

BIGGEST SHOES TO FILL: QB Peyton Huslig

OUTLOOK: Missouri State made one of the splash moves of the college football offseason by hiring Petrino, who has coached at Louisville (twice), Arkansas and Western Kentucky as well as the Atlanta Falcons. It’s tough enough for the 59-year-old to take over a struggling program (32-80 record in the 2010s), but the Bears also lost six players who earned a form of MVFC postseason honors last year. The offense is replacing a three-year starter at quarterback, Huslig, with Jaden Johnson, who is coming off a redshirt at Southern Miss as a true freshman. Not to be overlooked, and how could they be, are the tall receivers, including the 6-foot-3 Vick, 6-5 Lorenzo Thomas and 6-4 Jordan Murray and Armand Baker (a tight end). The Bears ranked 124th in the FCS in rushing, and likely No. 1 running back Jeremiah Wilson isn’t quite ready after his second ACL tear (Myron Mason had a team-high 247 rushing yards). The defense has to get better after it ranked last in the MVFC in rushing defense, had only nine sacks and allowed 48 plays of 25 yards or more. Wall, who was third on the team in tackles, and Lovelace provide senior leadership, while CB Jeremy Webb (Virginia Tech) and DE Isaiah Sayles (Mesa CC) are key additions.

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