The Bears are back in the top 25. (photo/MSU Athletics)

The Bears are back in the top 25. (photo/MSU Athletics)

With its best start since 2007, the Missouri State University football team is starting to turn heads on a national level as the 3-1 Bears have cracked the FCS Coaches Top 25 Poll this week at No. 24.

It marks the first time since the team was No. 21 in the 1997 ESPN/USA Today preseason poll that MSU has been ranked in the top 25. The Bears also closed out the 1996 season ranked No. 23 in The Sports Network final poll.

“I’m pleased and happy for our players,” said head coach Terry Allen. “It puts them in a good position headed into league play. We have a very strong league, and you play a good team every week. We’re happy to be mentioned and hope we can build on it.”

Missouri State received 65 votes in the poll voted on by 26 national FCS coaches. A total of seven Missouri Valley Football Conference schools are ranked in the poll this week, including No. 12 Youngstown State, MSU’s next opponent for the game at Robert W. Plaster Stadium on Oct. 4. North Dakota State (1), South Dakota State (9), Northern Iowa (10), Southern Illinois (16) and Illinois State (22) are also ranked.

In the other widely-accepted FCS poll – The Sports Network Top 25 Poll – MSU is just outside the top 25 this week, receiving 116 votes which translates as the 31st-highest point total in the poll. YSU is No. 18 in The Sports Network rankings.

Missouri State is coming off a thrilling 33-31 road win at Central Arkansas on Saturday, a game decided on a 53-yard field goal by junior Marcelo Bonani as time expired. The victory was the second non-conference road win for the Bears this campaign, matching the club’s most since 1996.

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