Bears in Grand Forks ready for grand playoff game

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GRAND FORKS, ND–Three Missouri State Bears were put on the Missouri Valley Football Conference All-Newcomer team.

Defensive backs Montrae Braswell, Kyriq McDonald and tailback Celdon Manning were all honored.

The Bears play North Dakota Saturday in the NCAA playoffs, KOLR 10’s Matt Vereen is in North Dakota with more.

Dan, here inside the Alerus Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Saturday we’re gonna get to see something that hasn’t occurred in three decades: a Missouri State football playoff game.

Two of the three teams that shared the Missouri Valley Football Conference title set to clash in the opening round of the FCS playoffs.

The Bears arrived here earlier and got a walk through on the field, coming in as the Number 12 team in the country – making the playoffs for the first time since 1990.

And earning a conference title for the first time since 1990.

Their opponents, North Dakota, meanwhile, ranked seventh and claiming the Fighting Hawks’ share of the title in just their first year in the conference.

One team took 30 years, the other took just one.

But North Dakota Head Coach Bubba Schweigert knows both are deserving of being here.

“I felt our guys put together a good resume. And we’re given an opportunity to play for a national championship. We’ve had a productive season. And now we look forward to a very good opponent coming to the Alerus Center. Hosting is exciting for us. We want to take another step. And win on Saturday but we have to stay in the moment. And keep preparing the best we can for a Missouri State who’s deserving of being in the tournament,” said Schweigert.

The Bears and Fighting Hawks have met only twice before – splitting the two meetings.

So Saturday out on that field will serve as an historic rubber match of sorts – but with far more history riding that the previous two meetings.

Kickoff is set for 3:00 pm central time on ESPN3.

And I’ll have a full recap Saturday night at 10 – but for now, reporting from the Alerus Center in Grand Forks North Dakota, Matt Vereen Ozarks First.

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