Bebee on snapping Missouri State’s playoff drought, playing for Petrino

Former Webb City Cardinal Landon Bebee has helped Missouri State snap a 31-year playoff drought.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Going from Webb City to Missouri State was a big change for Landon Bebee – after going 53-5 with the Cardinals and finishing his high school career with an undefeated state championship in 2017.

“We weren’t winning games at all. My freshman year we won four, and then my sophomore year we only won one game,” Bebee says of his early years at Missouri State, “Coming out of high school, we were winning every game we played. Coming here was like a complete culture change for me.”

Now, Bebee is back on the big stage with Missouri State making the postseason for the first time since 1990.

“Having that mindset of win or go home is something that I got used to growing up,” the sophomore offensive lineman says, “I’m excited to play in this game. It’s something that I’ve been dreaming about since I came to college, having the opportunity to play in a playoff game.”

Things at Missouri State turned around quickly when Bobby Petrino stepped in as head coach in January 2020.

“The first thing he said was ‘We’re going to take the rearview mirror and we’re going to tear it off. We’re not going to look behind us any more. We’re just going to focus on what’s ahead of us from now on,'” Bebee says of the team’s first meeting with Petrino, “We needed that. We were kind of in the mindset of losing. Since he came, he’s just changed the culture into a winning culture.”

Petrino led the Bears to a 5-1 league record and a Missouri Valley Conference title this spring in his first full year leading the program.

“To get respect, you’ve got to earn it,” Bebee adds, “I feel like we’ve done a good job of just going out there and trying to earn the respect of the other teams in our conference.”

Bebee and the Bears are taking an underdog mentality into their postseason opener.

Having waited three years to get that playoff feeling again – the former Cardinal is ready to take advantage of the opportunity.

“Now that it’s here, I’m just ready to give it all I’ve got and lay it all on the line.”

Bebee is one of three former local high school players on the Missouri State roster, joining punter Grant Burkett (Webb City HS) and OL Daniel Allen (Miami HS).

Missouri State will face North Dakota on Saturday at 3 PM in the first round of the FCS playoffs.