Nov. 26, 2005
Northwest Advances to Third Semifinals With 21-10 Win at Pittsburg State
PITTSBURG, Kan. - (box score) Northwest Missouri State football advanced to the NCAA Division II Semifinals for the third time in school history with a 21-10 victory over Pittsburg State this afternoon in the Quarterfinals at Carnie Smith Stadium. Northwest never trailed in the game and snapped a three-game skid against the Gorillas.
Northwest, who moves to 10-3 overall, advances to play the Southeast Region winner North Alabama as UNA defeated Central Arkansas 41-38 in overtime this afternoon. The NCAA Semifinals take place Saturday, Dec. 3 with a 10:00 a.m. CST kick-off in Florence, Ala. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.
"We played great defense all day," said head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. "I can't tell you how proud I am of our guys and their effort today. We know how to handle adversity and I think these guys are on a mission."
Northwest held Pitt State on its opening possession before taking over on the Northwest 13-yard line. An end-around by freshman Kendall Wright for 13 yards set up the Bearcats at the PSU 1-yard line. Two snaps later, senior Daren Roberts staked Northwest to a 7-0 lead with 4:15 left in the first quarter. The first score was tenth time that Northwest has scored before the opponent this season.
PSU got on the board with a 51-yard field goal by Nathan Alleman with four minutes gone by in the second quarter. The Gorillas looked to grab the lead in the second after Northwest had to punt deep in its own territory. Pitt State started the ensuing drive at the Northwest 36-yard line but quarterback Andy Majors was intercepted by junior Darcell Clark on a third-and-25 play.
The Bearcats took advantage of the game's first turnover by driving 59 yards in nine plays. Senior Josh Lamberson found senior Andre Rector from 13 yards out with a dart into the wind to give Northwest a 14-3 edge with 5:34 left in the second. The 14-3 Northwest lead held until the third quarter.
On PSU's first possession of the second half, Majors hit Brandon Twito with a 28-yard touchdown pass. In the middle of the third, the score stood 14-10 in favor of Northwest. Pittsburg State halted a Northwest drive at the PSU 33-yard line as a fourth-down pass play from Lamberson to Roberts was two yards short of the first down.
Pitt State had momentum and looked to take the lead on the last play of the third quarter, but senior Kelly Williams picked off a Majors' pass on third-and-seven at the Northwest 10. It was a carbon copy of last week's playoff win when Williams made a pick in the end zone to squash a would-be score in the fourth quarter.
Northwest notched its third interception of the day on junior Brandon Pratt's second career interception. Two plays later, Lamberson hooked up with a streaking tight end junior Mike Peterson for 57 yards. Peterson's longest career reception put Northwest ahead 21-10 with 8:57 left in the fourth.
The Gorillas tried to answer the Northwest score, however the Northwest defense again stepped up. With Pitt State driving on a third-and-two at the Northwest 20-yard line, defensive end Ryan Waters tipped a pass attempt to himself and corralled his second interception of the season. The Northwest offense took over and ran out the clock under a minute. By that point, the Northwest lead was too much as a MIAA representative will be in the NCAA Semifinals for the second straight season. Pitt State was the national runner-up in 2004.
Rector, who finished with five catches for 40 yards, moved to a tie for fourth on the all-time touchdown receptions list with 17. Peterson posted his first 100-yard game with 106 receiving yards on six catches. Lamberson was 20-of-23 for 225 yards and two touchdown passes. Sophomore Xavier Omon totaled 152 yards on 29 carries for his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game.
For Northwest defenders, six Bearcats had five or more tackles with juniors Ben Harness and Quinten Womack each tallying six stops. Waters and sophomore Dallas Flynn came away with 1.0 sack apiece.
Northwest won the turnover battle 4-0 and limited the Pitt State offense to 290 yards including just 82 on the ground. PSU came into the game with 311.6 yards rushing per game, which ranked in the top five in the country.
Majors was 20-of-34 for 208 yards for the Gorillas but had four interceptions. Germaine Race, a Harlon Hill finalist who did not play this afternoon due to a hamstring injury, was replaced by Justin Bean. Bean ran for 52 yards on 13 carries.
Pittsburg State ends its season with a 10-4 record.
TEAM NOTES: Northwest stands 15-7 all-time in NCAA Division II playoffs including 5-4 on the road ... The three consecutive playoff wins on the road is a first in Northwest history ... Northwest is tied for third all-time for the best winning percentage in playoff history with a .667 mark coming into the game ... After averaging just over 95 yards in penalties the first six games of the season, Northwest has been whistled for just over 60 yards in the last seven contests ... Northwest stands 105-19 all-time when ranked in the AFCA national poll (since 1984) and is 3-0 when holding a No. 21 ranking ... The Northwest offense had its streak of 400 yards of total offense snapped at five games - it went for 368 this afternoon ... The Bearcats have only punted more than the opponent three times this season after punting two more times than PSU today. Northwest is 2-1 when having more punts than the opposition this season ... Northwest won toss for only second time all season - last week against Washburn, Northwest won and deferred ... The 290 total yards allowed by Northwest is the fewest since Emporia State went for 285 on Oct. 1 ... The four interceptions totaled by Northwest is the most since Central Missouri State threw four picks on Nov. 2, 2002 ... Northwest moves to 17-21 against Pitt State in the all-time series and is 7-3 when ranked in the series ... The 10 season wins is the eighth time in the last 12 campaigns - all under coach Tjeerdsma ... Northwest has outgained the opponent in 12 of 13 games through the air this season after a 225 to 208 advantage today.
Cornerback Darcell Clark picked up his second career interception in the second quarter ... Coming into the season, senior Daren Roberts had four career rushing touchdowns - with his one today, he has three this season ... Running back Xavier Omon hit for his 14th career 100-yard rushing game and has seven this season ... Omon had his streak of one or more rushing touchdowns snapped at six games ... On the Northwest single-season charts, Omon's 1,479 yards is good for second on the single-season charts, his 280 rushing attempts is good for second and his 12 rushing touchdowns is seventh ... Quarterback Josh Lamberson has thrown for at least one touchdown in all 23 straight games and at least two in his last 10 contests ... On the Northwest single-season charts, Lamberson's 3,195 passing yards is good for second, his 30 passing TDs is good for second, his 266 completions is good for third, his 397 attempts is good for third, and his 67.0 completion percentage is good for first ... Lamberson has gone 75 straight passes without an interception that dates back four games - he has 30 touchdowns on the season compared to just seven interceptions ... Wide receiver Andre Rector has caught a touchdown pass in six straight games ... On the Northwest single-season charts, Rector's 84 receptions is good for third, his 1,147 receiving yards is good for third and his 10 receiving TDs is tied for fourth ... Defensive end Ryan Waters totaled 1.0 sack today to give him 15.5 for his career, good for fourth place at Northwest ... On the season, Waters has 10.0, just 1.5 shy of the single-season mark which is held currently by defensive end Dave Tollefson ... Lamberson moved to first on the Northwest career list (all games played) in completions (517) and is just 22 yards away from Chris Greisen's all-time makr of 7,563 yards of total offense.
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