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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Brace Yourself! Bobby Petrino Returns to Razorbacks Stadium!

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Social media is buzzing with the satirical news of former Hogs coach Bobby Petrino returning to Razorbacks Stadium this Saturday. Petrino will bring his Missouri State Bears to DWR Razorbacks Stadium for a 6 p.m. kickoff with the Razorbacks. It will be the first time he has been in Razorbacks Stadium since his abrupt firing in April of 2012.

Social media is having a good time with his return, offering “advertisements” for neck braces, similar to what he wore at one of his final press conferences, for fans to wear to Saturday’s game. And for Hogs fans, it may be a joking matter now, directed to a polarizing figure in the Razorbacks football program history, but on Saturday, I would guess that Petrino has had this one circled on his calendar for a long time. Expect the high-flying bears to come out throwing the football all over field, much like his Hogs did more than ten years ago.

Here are some Missouri State notes as released by the University of Arkansas:

DATE: Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022
TIME: 6:00 p.m. (Central)
LOCATION: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium
(76,000), Fayetteville, Ark.
SERIES: Arkansas leads 7-0
Last Mtg: Arkansas 51, MSU 7 (9/3/11)
TV: ESPN+ / SEC Network+
(Jay Alter, Stanford Routt, Tera Talmadge)
RADIO: KWTO 101.3 FM | MSU Bears Radio Network
(Art Hains, Dennis Heim)

♦ Missouri State returns to the road this week when the No. 5-ranked team in FCS travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the No. 10 (FBS) Arkansas Razorbacks at 6 p.m. (ESPN+/SEC Network+). It will mark the first meeting between the clubs since 2011, while Arkansas represents the second-highest ranked FBS team the Bears have ever played (No. 6 Oklahoma in 2020).

♦ The Bears are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2016 and for just the ninth time in the program’s Division I era (since 1982) — 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2016. Only the 1983, 1989 and 2004 Bears were able to start the season 3-0.

♦ QB Jason Shelley (Sr., Frisco, Texas) is the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Week after he completed 19-of-24 passes for 297 yards and a career-high 5 touchdowns in last week’s home win over No. 14 UT Martin. The 2021 MVFC Offensive Player of the Year is one of 35 players on the 2022 Walter Payton Award Preseason Watch List, which recognizes the top offensive player in the FCS ranks.

♦ This week’s game marks the 200th career game as a head coach for MSU’s Bobby Petrino who brings a 134-65 (.673) ledger in his 17th season as a head coach. Petrino was 34-17 in four seasons as head coach at Arkansas (2008-11), including wins over Missouri State in 2009 and 2011.

♦ RB Jacardia Wright (So., Decatur, Ill.), a transfer from Kansas State, was named MVFC Newcomer of the Week for his efforts in Week Two. Wright logged his first career 100-yard rushing game in MSU’s win, carrying 23 times for 120 yards (5.2 yards per carry) in a breakout effort. He also scored on a 19-yard pass from Shelley with 35 seconds left in the first half, helping him rack up 162 all-purpose yards for the game. He ranks 35th nationally in rushing yards per game (79.0).

♦ This week’s game at Arkansas is Missouri State’s only game on grass this season and its first contest on a natural surface since the 2020 season opener at Oklahoma (9/12/20).

♦ Jason Shelley’s 5-touchdown passing effort last week vs. UT Martin was Missouri State’s first since 10/15/16 (Brodie Lambert vs. Western Illinois). Three of the other four players ever to throw 5 TD passes at Plaster Stadium ultimately became NFL quarterbacks — Sean Payton (1986), Carson Wentz (2014) and Easton Stick (2018).

♦ Milestone Updates: Montrae Braswell (CB, Avon Park, Fla.) is 3 tackles away from 100 (21g) at MSU … Jason Shelley is 90 passing yards away from 4,000 (14g) for his MSU career and would be the 7th Bears QB to do so.

♦ MSU’s defense is among the FCS national leaders in 3rd-Down Efficiency (3rd); team sacks (12th); tackles for loss (20th). The Bears .182 third-down efficiency also leads the MVFC.

♦ Braswell leads the nation (FCS) in kickoff return average (55.0). His career average (31 attempts) is up to 31.8.

♦ Led by Shelley’s exemplary start to the 2022 campaign, the Bears rank 4th nationally in passing efficiency (192.8), 13th in completion percentage (.685) and 17th in passing offense. Individually, Shelley ranks 3rd in passing efficiency, 6th in passing TDs (6) and 8th in points responsible for (42), all of which lead the MVFC. His 281.5 passing yards per game ranks 12th among all FCS players.

♦ Ty Scott (WR, Estill, S.C.) continues to set the standard for MSU receivers, ranking 3rd nationally in receiving TDs (3), 6th in receptions per game (8.0), 6th in receiving yards per game (128.0), 8th in receiving yards (256), and 31st in all-purpose yardage (129.0). He leads the Missouri Valley in receptions and receiving yards per game.

♦ Grant Burkett (P, Joplin, Mo.) boasts a 40.3 punting average so far this season, but is just shy of the minimum number of attempts (has 3.5 attempts per game – minimum is 3.6). He would rank 31st nationally with that average. Last season, Burkett ranked second in the nation with a school-record punting average of 46.2 per attempt, while helping the Bears rank second nationally in team net punting (42.81). He had 16 punts of 50 yards or better with 15 attempts downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.

2022 BEARS SCHEDULE
SEPTEMBER
Thu. 1 at (RV) Central Arkansas ESPN+ ………….W 27-14
Thu. 8 (14) UT Martin ESPN+ ………………………..W 35-30
Sat. 17 at (10) Arkansas SEC+ …………………….. 6:00 p.m.
Sat. 24 South Dakota State* ESPN3 …………….. 2:00 p.m.
OCTOBER
Sat. 1 at North Dakota* ESPN+ …………………. 12:00 p.m.
Sat. 8 Southern Illinois* ESPN+ ………………… 2:00 p.m.
Sat. 22 at Northern Iowa* ESPN+ ………………….. 4:00 p.m.
Sat. 29 Western Illinois* ESPN+ (HC) …………… 2:00 p.m.
NOVEMBER
Sat. 5 at South Dakota* ESPN3 …………………… 1:00 p.m.
Sat. 12 Youngstown State* ESPN3………………. 2:00 p.m.
Sat. 19 at Indiana State ESPN+ ………………….. 12:00 p.m.


*Missouri Valley Football Conference games (0-0);
Television designations in bold. Times listed are Central time.
Home games (bold) at Robert W. Plaster Stadium, Springfield.

#10 Arkansas
RAZORBACKS
2-0

Missouri State Record vs. Arkansas …………………………. 0-7
at Home……………………………………………………………. 0-0
at Fayetteville ……………………………………………………. 0-5
at Little Rock …………………………………………………….. 0-2
First Meeting ………………………Ark. 100, MSU 0 (9/30/1911)
Last Meeting ………………………….Ark. 51, MSU 7 (9/3/2011)
Date Site W/L Score
9/30/1911 ……. at Fayetteville, Ark…………….L……… 0-100
11/22/1918 ….. at Fayetteville, Ark…………….L……… 6-12
10/4/1924……. at Fayetteville, Ark…………….L……… 0-47
9/2/2000……… at Little Rock, Ark. …………….L……… 0-38
9/3/2005……… at Fayetteville, Ark…………….L……… 17-49
9/5/2009……… at Little Rock, Ark. …………….L……… 10-48
9/3/2011 ……… at Fayetteville, Ark…………….L……… 7-51
n PF – 40 (5.7); PA – 345 (49.3)


BEARS IN THE FCS POLLS
Preseason …………………………………………………..*5 8
9/5/22………………………………………………………….. 5 7
9/12/22………………………………………………………… 5 6
*Team’s highest preseason Top 25 ranking; Consecutive weeks in Top 25: 21

Arkansas’s defensive secondary will face a stiff challenge from the Bears’ passing attack. The Hogs hope to have Myles Slusher back this week. His return is much needed to improve an Arkansas secondary that has shown its vulnerability in the Hogs’ first two games this season. The Hogs should have a significant advantage on both lines of scrimmage, and the defensive front will be looking to put pressure on the MO State quarterback and not allow him time to find his receivers.

Razorbacks fans, if you live in Franklin or Logan counties, you will want to subscribe to the Logan County RNN weekly newspaper. You can subscribe by going to residentnewsnetwork.com and click on the subscription link.

So, the former Hogs coach will surely have a new wrinkle in the Bears’ offense….just for the game with Arkansas. So, Hogs fans, brace yourselves!

Note to Our Readers: The information in this story was sourced from the University of Arkansas Office of Communications, Kyle Parkinson, Associate AD / Communications


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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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