Aug. 25, 2005
Northwest Wins Season Opener at Minnesota State 24-21 in Overtime
MANKATO, Minn. - Freshman kicker Tommy Frevert booted a 39-yard field goal in overtime to lift the No. 5 Northwest Missouri State (1-0, 0-0 MIAA) football team over Minnesota State University, Mankato (0-1, 0-0 MIAA) 24-21 tonight in non-conference action at Blakeslee Stadium.
The Bearcats struck first thanks to some excellent special teams play. On a Jamie VanDenElzen punt, 'Cat newcomer Zach Chambers blocked the attempt at the MSU five-yard line. Northwest sophomore E.J. Falkner recovered the fumble in the end zone and gave the guests a 7-0 lead at the 8:17 mark of the first.
Both teams got good defense for the majority of the second quarter until Falkner snared a 36-yard pass from senior quarterback Josh Lamberson with 1:29 left. The hook-and-go play gave the Bearcats a 14-0 edge.
The Mavericks thrilled the 5,162 patrons, the largest Blakeslee crowd since October of 1994, just before halftime on a 36-yard touchdown toss from VanDenElzen to Tyrell Smith. Both teams entered the locker room with Northwest leading 14-7.
VanDenElzen connected for two more touchdown passes to give the hosts a 21-14 edge at the beginning of the fourth quarter. However, Lamberson extended his streak to nine games of two-plus touchdown passes with a 15-yarder to Rector with 10:48 left in the fourth to knot the score at 21-21.
The Mavericks held the ball and drove to the Northwest 45-yard line before time expired to send the game into overtime. After a 16-minute delay due to light problems at the beginning of the overtime session, the Bearcats went three-and-out after the ball was placed on the MSU 25-yard line. Frevert atoned for his 23-yard miss in the first quarter with his gamewinner.
MSU kicker Jason Tompkins narrowly missed wide right from 39-yards out and Northwest won its season-opener for the third time in the last four tries.
Rector led all receivers with nine catches for 107 yards. Freshman running back Xavier Omon hit for 96 yards on 27 rushes.. Lamberson went 26-of-40 for 270 yards and two touchdowns passes.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Jared Erspamer totaled nine tackles including three for-a-loss. Senior defensive All-America lineman Steve Williams posted eight tackles while senior safety Kelly Williams had one interception.
Northwest travels to No. 8 Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday, Sept. 3 for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff.
NOTES: Northwest still trails in the overall series 8-7 but extended its series win streak to six … The Bearcats improve to 48-38-3 overall in season openers including a 15-21-1 posting on the road … The contest tonight marked the earliest starting date for Northwest … Quarterback Josh Lamberson stands ninth on the school's career passing attempts list with 427 … Running back Xavier Omon takes over the ninth spot for career rushing yards (1,677 yards) … Wide receiver Andre Rector now sits fifth for career receiving yards (1,859 yards) … Minnesota State crossed over into Northwest territory for the first time with 9:29 left in the second quarter …Sophomore E.J. Falkner was the last Bearcat to return a blocked punt in the playoff loss versus Pittsburg State on Nov. 27, 2004 … Falkner left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury … The last overtime game for Northwest before tonight was a 30-27 loss at Missouri Western on Oct. 25, 2003 … Coach Mel Tjeerdsma improves to 8-4 in all-time season openers at Northwest.
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