Oct. 8, 2005
Football on Losing End of 31-28 Game vs. Washburn
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Connor Sabel kicked a game-winning 23-yard field goal with :04 seconds remaining to lift No. 25 Washburn over No. 5 Northwest Missouri State 31-28 this afternoon from Bearcat Stadium. The Bearcat home loss was its first since Sept. 20, 2003, a span of 13 games.
Northwest, who lost for the first time in nine meetings when ranked against Washburn, falls to 5-2 overall and 4-1 in the conference. Washburn holds down the No. 2 spot in the region and takes over sole possession of first place in the conference moving to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in MIAA action.
"Our guys played hard," said head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. "Washburn is a good football team and you can't take anything away from them. They earned this win today. But, it is tough to win with our special teams giving up two blocked punts and losing two others on interceptions."
After Northwest tied the score at 28-28 on a 11-yard run by sophomore Xavier Omon late in the fourth quarter, the Ichabods drove 74 yards in 1:27 to set up Sabel's heroics. Three pass plays of 18-plus yards on the drive set up the game-winner including a key 18-yard pass on second-and-16 from the Northwest 24-yard line. Wide receiver Cason Lehman stretched out for the reception from Jordan Brill in the middle of the Bearcat defense which placed the ball on the six-yard line.
After the Bearcats took a 3-0 lead on a 19-yard field goal by freshman Tommy Frevert, Washburn was aided by a special teams blunder. Terrell Fletcher blocked a Gabe Lickteig punt and WU took advantage as Trent Hearn scored on a seven-yard run in the first quarter. The Ichabods tacked on another Hearn touchdown with five minutes left in the second to go up 14-3.
Frevert notched his second field goal and his seventh of the year to bring Northwest within eight at 14-6 going into halftime. The deficit at the half was a first for Northwest at home since the 2003 season against Central Missouri (Sept. 20).
Northwest went to the air to score two touchdowns and take a 21-14 lead going into the fourth quarter. Senior Josh Lamberson found sophomore E.J. Falkner from 18 yards out before freshman Kendall Wright streaked down the right sideline for a 48-yarder.
Hearn became the first opponent rusher to hit for three scores as he gave his team a 28-21 lead halfway through the fourth quarter. That TD plunge was set up by Fletcher's second blocked punt of the game as WU started that drive at the Northwest 37-yard line.
The offensive unit for both clubs went three-and-out after Hearn's third touchdown before Northwest took over from the 50 yard-line. WU punter Curtis Massey could only get off a 17-yarder to give the Bearcats great field position. Omon found the end zone for the 24th career time (rushing), which put him into a tie for 10th all-time in school annals.
However, the Washburn passing offense, ranked second in the MIAA coming into the game at 246.2 yards, had plenty of time to hush the Bearcat faithful. The Ichabods beat Northwest at home for the first time since Oct. 20, 1990 - a string of nine home games.
Lamberson, who finished 21-of-28 for two touchdowns, moved to third at Northwest in career total offense (5,842) and fourth in career passing yards (5,155) and completions (397). Omon hit for 108 rushing yards on 20 attempts (5.4 avg.). His efforts moved him to seventh in career rushing yards (2,118) and vaulted him in a tie for eighth with 373 rushing attempts. Falkner posted 52 receiving yards on a career-tying four catches. Freshman Rapheal Robinson caught a career-high four balls
Senior Kelly Williams tallied a career and game-high 10 total tackles while senior Heath Finch came away with a personal-best nine tackles. Junior Brandon Pratt had seven tackles, one tackle-for-a-loss and one fumble recovery.
WU quarterback Trent Hearn was 21-of-31 for 261 yards and one passing score. Hearn rambled for 107 yards on 33 carries (3.2 avg.).
The offensive play was nearly identical with Northwest holding a slim 340-339 yards edge. WU became the first MIAA opponent against Northwest to surpass 300 total yards.
Northwest will take Oct. 15 off for the bye week and continue on Oct. 22 with a home contest against Central Missouri State. The Homecoming game kicks-off at 1:30 p.m.
NOTES: The Northwest loss snapped a 10-game win streak in the series with Washburn but the Bearcats still lead overall 19-6 ... The 12-game home win streak was second longest in school history ... Senior wide receiver Andre Rector went down with a shoulder injury on the first play in the second quarter ... Northwest celebrated Foundation and Centennial Society Day ... Northwest scored first for the sixth time this season but lost for the first time ... The 100-yard rushing game was Xavier Omon's ninth of his career but first since Week 2 - he went down with an ankle injury the next game ... The two field goals by Tommy Frevert was a career-high and first time a NW kicker has tallied two field goals in the same game since Luis Berlanga had two versus Texas A&M-Kingsville on Nov. 20, 2004 ... The 31 points allowed at home is the most since Central Missouri defeated Northwest 52-24 on Sept. 20, 2003 ... Northwest falls to 11-2 when ranked No. 5 in the AFCA poll and 2-1 when fifth versus Washburn - both losses at No. 5 all-time have come this season ... The field goal by WU's Connor Sabel was the first allowed by a Northwest opponent this year ... The Northwest defense had 10 takeaways - this afternoon, the Bearcat defense could only notch one fumble.
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