October 11, 2003
Northwest Holds Off No. 10 ESU, 16-13
EMPORIA, Kan. - Northwest Missouri State University picked up a huge victory over No. 10-ranked Emporia State University Saturday afternoon at Welch Stadium. The Bearcats took a 16-13 win in windy conditions against the Hornets, who were also ranked No. 2 in the Midwest Region of NCAA Division II.
Emporia State opened the game with a 12-play, 80-yard drive into the wind. The Hornets took a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard pass from Tad Hatfield to Rashem Sharpe and a Justin Gray point after. Northwest managed just one field goal on two trips inside the ESU 20-yard line in the first quarter. Cory Paetznick (Fr., Des Moines, Iowa), playing in his first collegiate game, hit a 25-yarder with 1:57 remaining in the first.
Neither team managed a score in the second quarter. Emporia State led 7-3 at halftime. Northwest blocked a punt in the third quarter, taking over at the Hornet 13-yard line. Once again, the Bearcats had to settle for a Paetznick 25-yard field goal. The kick pulled Northwest within one, 7-6.
The 'Cats took their first lead of the game with 2:39 remaining in the third quarter. Northwest drove 57 yards in eight plays and Paetznick converted from 21 yards out. The field goal, his third of the game, tied a Northwest school record for most field goals in a contest. Northwest led 9-7 after the three-pointer.
The Bearcats pushed their advantage to 16-7 with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter. Jamaica Rector scored Northwest's first touchdown of the day on a seven-yard reverse. Paetznick's PAT was good, giving Northwest a nine-point lead. Emporia State got good field position with the Bearcats kicking into the wind, taking over at their own 39-yard line.
Four plays later Hatfield found J.J. Richard, who was all alone in the Bearcat secondary, for a 51-yard touchdown. But Andy Creger (Sr., Des Moines, Iowa) blocked the extra point, keeping Northwest's lead at three points, 16-13. Northwest took the ball into ESU territory on its next possession, but a 10-yard punt gave the Hornets the ball at their own 31. Two plays later, Hatfield was intercepted by Tyler Martin (Fr., Bendena, Kan.).
The Bearcats picked up one first down. But couldn't run out the clock. A 28-yard punt into the wind and a 17-yard return put ESU at their own 48-yard line with 48 seconds remaining in the game. A 19-yard pass from Hatfield to Andre Day gave ESU a first down at the Northwest 33.
Three straight incompletions left the Hornets with a 50-yard field-goal attempt to tie the game with 17 seconds remaining. Gray's kick had the benefit of the stiff breeze, but was wide left.
Northwest gained 288 yards to Emporia State's 270. The Bearcats were led by Josh Lamberson (So., Wilber, Neb.), who was 16-of-26 for 196 yards passing. He also rushed for 32 yards. Shon Wells (Jr., Rolla, Mo.) ran for 75 yards against his former team. Rector hauled in eight passes for 115 yards. Defensively, Creger recorded 11 tackles, intercepted a pass, broke up two others and had the blocked PAT.
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