Sept. 28, 2013
Bearcats Control Game in Win Over LopersBy David Boyce | Box Score | Fan Photos | Photo Gallery
MARYVILLE, Mo. - A key trait for any successful football coach is getting his players to believe every opponent is capable of beating them if they do not bring their ‘A’ game.
Northwest Missouri State coach Adam Dorrel dismissed the fact that Nebraska-Kearney entered the game winless the first three weeks of the season.
The Lopers, Dorrel said Tuesday, are a dangerous team. They have a physical offensive line. His words were convincing.
Northwest came out on a soggy Saturday afternoon at Bearcat Stadium and completely dominated from start to finish for an impressive 53-7 victory in front of 7,375 fans.
“I said it all week that was the offensive line on film would be one of the best we have seen this year,” Dorrel said. “I thought our defensive line played really well today.”
It was so one-sided that parents who showed up to the game for Family Weekend at Northwest had plenty of time to chat with their sons and daughters in the second half.
The final statistics clearly show how much the Bearcats were in control. They had 28 first downs compared to six for Nebraska-Kearney. In addition, Northwest had 510 total yards and limited the Lopers to 124.
“I thought we were extremely ready,” said junior defensive end Matt Longacre. “We watched them on film and saw how aggressive they are. It is the best O-line we have faced all year, not trying to bring down anyone else.
“We really focused on stopping them. We wanted take the ball out of (quarterback) Bronson Marsh’s hands and let the other players on that team beat us.”
The rout began immediately. Northwest forced a three and out in the Lopers’ game opening drive. The Bearcats received the punt at its 42. They needed eight plays to go 58 yards, scoring on a five-yard run by Billy Creason.
“I thought we had a good mix of run and pass,” Dorrel said. “When we can do that offensively, that is when we are at our best.”
The only mishap was the Bearcats missing the extra point.
At 6-0 with 10:25 left in the first quarter, Northwest was still in position to lose if it found its ‘F’ game.
The Bearcats, though, made sure to continue playing championship-brand football. They once again stopped Nebraska-Kearney in three plays.
Northwest took over at the Lopers’ 46 and needed only 31 seconds to score again on a 25-yard r\pass reception by Robert Burton from Trevor Adams. A successful extra point gave the Bearcats a 13-0 lead with 7:50 remaining in the first quarter.
Northwest physical defensive line once again had its way with Nebraska-Kearney’s line, stopping the Lopers in three plays.
The Bearcats continued to follow the pattern of taking the football and driving for another touchdown.
Northwest moved to the Lopers’ 17. Another touchdown looked imminent. And that’s when the Lopers made their one play in the game. Inside linebacker Tyke Kozeal intercepted a deflected pass and raced 74 yards into the end zone, making it 13-7 with just under 5 minutes left in the first quarter.
The mistake didn’t bother the Bearcats one bit. They went 54 yards in nine plays and scored on a 14-yard touchdown reception by Clint Utter from Brady Bolles. The score came just before the first quarter ended.
“That was huge,” Adams said. “Getting off to a good start was huge. That goes back to our preparation this week.”
It was more of the same in the second quarter. The one difference was the Lopers received no more gifts.
Even though Nebraska-Kearney couldn’t afford it, the Lopers gave a nice gift to the Bearcats. Actually, Northwest earned it. Defensive end Collin Bevins made a big hit on a handoff, forcing a fumble.
Longacre was there to scoop up the ball and run 17 yards for a touchdown, increasing Northwest’s lead to 33-7.
“It is a great feeling to pick up the ball and try to score and out race everybody,” Longacre said. “He (Bevins) shot through that gap and made a huge play and I was lucky enough to be there and pick it up.”
The Bearcats went into halftime up 40-7 and showed no signs of allowing Nebraska-Kearney to get back into the game.
Adams had an impressive first half, completing 14 of 20 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
“I have to give credit to the offensive line, one, because they want me to,” said Adams, which produced a few laughs in the postgame press conference. “And two, they really do a good job. I am hardly getting hit out there. Those guys upfront work hard and set me up to do well.”
Adams and Bolles made it very difficult for the Lopers to lock onto one receiver. Utter, Burton, Bryce Young and Reuben Thomas all caught three passes in the first half.
“The quarterbacks are really throwing some good balls out there and the receiving corps is always trying to get open and help them out,” Utter said.
The Bearcats eased up some in the second half, but defensively, they were stout throughout. Nebraska-Kearney never came close to scoring an offensive touchdown.
“It’s one of those things you are extremely proud to be a part of,” said Longacre on not allowing an offensive score. “Everybody played their butt off. There wasn’t one person taking plays off.
“The starters get taken out and you got the twos and threes out there and they are making plays. It is awesome to see those guys who don’t get to play much and they go out there and play their butts off. I love seeing that.”
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