SPRINGFIELD, Mo–It’s been 285 days since the Missouri State Bears last played a game at Plaster Stadium.
And it seems appropriate that the team that ended MSU’s season, is back.
Last November, Tennessee Martin and Missouri State battled in the NCAA playoffs.
The Bears turned the ball over six times which led to 23 Skyhawk points.
And the game ended on a tipped pass interception, Tennessee Martin won 32-31.
Bobby Petrino/Bears Coach:”Oh yea it hurts. It always hurts. You wish you remember more of the big wins. The big games that made you smile. But for some reason ou always remember the ones that hurt the most. And that certainly is. Because we were in position to win it.”
But Missouri State coach Bobby Petrino doesn’t buy into the revenge factor.
Petrino:”I’ve never really been big on revenge. I think everybody works hard. Everybody goes and tries to play. We got beat. And some of that was we beat ourselves. It’s up to us to go perform better, play better.”
The players on the other hand.
Jacardia Wright/Bears Running Back:”I feel like there’s going to be a lot of adversity out there. I see the fire in everybody’s eyes.”
Running back Jacardia Wright and defensive back Dillon Thomas were not on the team last November.
But they know how much this game means to the 53 players, including 14 starters who return.
Dillon Thomas/Bears Defensive Back:”Last year this team was on its way to doing some great things in the playoffs. And that was just a little stain. So we know what’s at stake. We know what we want to get back. And you can’t start the season losing at home. That’s never.”
Wright:”What I heard was that after the game the whole team was dancing on the field and stuff like that. All in everybody’s face like before the game. That can get people kind of fired up. I guess we have to go out there and play our best game.”
Jason Shelley has shown he can make the Bears offense hum.
And he’s said last seasons loss has provided his motivation all summer.
Petrino says the key to winning will be stopping the Skyhawks ground attack.
Petrino:”They have a good running game. A big kid, physical. And an offensive line that does a good job. That’s the start of our challenge to stop the run. They’re a great football team. It should be a good early season matchup. What can you ask better then that?”