September 6, 2003
Bearcats Fall 20-0 at South Dakota State
BROOKINGS, S.D. -The No. 4 Northwest Missouri State University football team suffered its first shutout since 1996 Saturday. The Bearcats dropped a 20-0 decision to South Dakota State in their season-opener.
The Jackrabbits scored twice in a span of 17 seconds late in the first quarter. SDSU drove 85 yards in six plays to open the scoring. Brad Nelson tossed a 32-yard touchdown to Josh Davis to make it 7-0. The drive was set up by a T.J. Mandl (Jr., Kansas City, Mo.) fumble at the SDSU 15-yard line.
Another Bearcat turnover led to the Jackrabbits' next score. On the ensuing possession, Mitch Herring (So., Maryville, Mo.) fumbled and it was recovered by South Dakota State at the Northwest 45-yard line. One play later, Nelson hooked up with Solomon Johnson for a 45-yard scoring strike. The PAT made it 14-0.
The Bearcats tried to answer. They reached the SDSU three-yard line, but the drive stalled and Jamie Martin (Soph., Harlan, Iowa) missed a 21-yard field goal attempt.
The Jackrabbits' third score of the first half was also set up by a Northwest turnover. Mandl threw an interception at the SDSU 45-yard line. Seven plays later, Keith Witt hit a field goal with one second left in the first half to give the Jacks a 17-0 lead at the intermission.
The Bearcats threatened again late in the third quarter, reaching the SDSU 1-yard line. But SDSU withstood two fourth-and-goal opportunities for Northwest and kept the shutout intact. Northwest wouldn't crack the Jackrabbit 40-yard line again.
Witt added another field goal late in the fourth for the final margin.
Mandl passed for 225 yards in the losing effort. Northwest totaled 327 yards of offense, while SDSU racked up 423. Nelson passed for 306 yards in and two touchdowns for the Jackrabbits.
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