November 20, 2004
Northwest Wins 2nd Round Playoff Contest, 34-14 at Home Over Texas A&M KingsvilleMARYVILLE, Mo. -- Led by the steady arm of redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Mathews and the legs of redshirt freshman running back Xavier Omon, the No. 4 Northwest Missouri State football squad defeated No. 6 Texas A&M Kingsville, 34-14 this afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Northwest will now face Pittsburg State next Saturday, Nov. 27, in Pittsburg, Kan., for the quarterfinal round of the playoffs. Pitt State defeated Colorado School of Mines, 70-35 this afternoon at home.
Northwest, who moves to 11-1 overall, won the only other prior meeting with Texas A&M Kingsville in a 49-34 decision in the 1998 NCAA Playoffs. TAMKU ends its season with a 9-2 mark.
Mathews got the offense going early as he was a perfect eight -of-eight initially. His eighth pass fell in the hands of Aaron Froehlich for the first score of the day at the 9:11 mark of the first quarter. Northwest never trailed from there. The St. Louis, Mo., native ended his day with a career-high 286 yards on 18-of-33 passing with three TD's.
Omon, who wrapped up the game's scoring with a 23-yard jaunt at the 3:59 mark, was limited to 64 yards on 22 carries but the yardage total was a milestone. He now holds the Northwest single-season rushing total with 1,490 yards as he passed Jesse Haynes' (1996) mark of 1,453.
The Northwest defense dodged a couple bullets in the first half. Kingsville placekicker Richard Hammond missed field goals of 42 and 37 yards, which would have given the guests a 6-0 lead. Both of those missed opportunities came on drives which hit for 10 and 12 plays.
Northwest led just 7-0 at the half, its smallest lead in the locker room at home this year. But, the 'Cats came out fired up in the second half.
After a three-and-out by TAMKU's offense to open up the third stanza, Northwest senior placekicker Luis Berlanga hit a career-high 51-yard field goal to give Northwest a 10-0 lead with 10:34 showing. That FG was a Northwest playoff record for distance.
But, Texas A&M Kingville would not go away from there. Curtis Tyler hit Mathews in the backfield at the Northwest 44-yard line with Mathews fumbling. Mathews scooped up the fumble and ran in to paydirt to get the Javelinas on the board at the 5:56 mark of the third period. At that point, Northwest clung to a 10-7 lead.
Senior wide receiver Jamaica Rector, who moved to No. 3 on the NCAA Division lifetime receiving list (4,415 yards) and fourth on the receptions chart (280), was on the receiving end of a nine-yard toss from Mathews. That score gave Northwest a little breathing room at 17-7 with 4:52 to go in the third period.
Berlanga finished his day with a four-for-four effort on PAT's and two field goals as he added a 22-yarder with :47 left in the third to give Northwest a 20-7 edge. He has not missed on PAT attempts this year (71-of-71) and his season FG mark stands at 15 now, which ties the school record of made FG's in a season.
Redshirt freshman E.J. Falkner found the end zone via a 46-yard reception at the 14:21 mark of the fourth quarter. With Northwest leading 27-7, the Javelinas responded just five plays later after a 71-yard pass play from quarterback Daniel Taylor to Maurice Washington made the count 27-14 with 12:50 left. But, Omon's score put the finishing touches on the playoff win and gave the 'Cats one more shot at Pittsburg State next weekend. Pitt State defeated Northwest, 21-17 in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead II on Nov. 6.
Defensively, Northwest senior linebacker Troy Tysdahl and junior safety Pat Whitt tied for the team tackle lead with 9.0 apiece - Tysdahl posted 4.0 tackles-for-a-loss (TFL). Sophomore defensive tackle Kyle Kaiser ended with 7 total tackles while junior defensive end Dave Tollefson finished with six tackles, two TFL's and 2.0 sacks. As a team, Northwest had five sacks and held Kingsville to 57 net rushing yards.
The Javelinas received a 153 yard-seven catch effort from Washington. QB Daniel Taylor went 18-of-37 for 297 yards and one TD but threw two picks. Deandre Fillmore recorded 10 total tackles, one TFL and one sack.
Rector continued to make a mark for himself on various receiving charts. His TD catch gave him 37 in his career (all games) which tied the MIAA record set by Northwest former wide-out Tony Miles. He recorded 11 catches on 202 yards - his receptions ties the school record for most in a season with 78 - he had 78 in 2002. Rector also now holds the Northwest benchmark for career punt return yards as he holds 473 passing the 463 done by Jason Melnick.
The Bearcats will face the Gorillas next Saturday with the game time to be determined on Monday.
NOTES: Northwest moves to 12-6 all-time in playoff games and 8-3 when played at home...The Bearcats won the turnover battle 3-1...Head coach Mel Tjeerdsma is No. 5 on the active post season playoff wins list with 12...Josh Mathews' old career high for passing was 252 yards against Truman State (Oct. 23)...The 202 receiving yards by Jamaica Rector is 18 shy of the school single-game playoff mark of 220 done by Steve Hansley vs. Nebraska-Omaha, Nov. 26, 1984 - that total also is his third-best personal output in a four-year career...Xavier Omon now has 225 rushing attempts on the season, which is a good for a school record...Omon notched his 17th rushing TD on the year, which ties him for second on the single season list at Northwest...The first incomplete pass by Josh Mathews came under five minutes in the second quarter...The 'Cats have won 10 straight games overall at home...Luis Berlanga's 114 season points extends his school record of most points by a kicker at Northwest.
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