Sept. 9, 2006
No. 2 Bearcats Blank No. 10 Nebraska-Omaha 31-0
MARYVILLE, Mo. - (stats) The Northwest Missouri State defense held Nebraska-Omaha scoreless in four red-zone trips and forced two turnovers helping Northwest to a 31-0 win this afternoon at Bearcat Stadium. The Bearcats limited the UNO offense to 4.6 yards per play (313 total yards) in the first series shutout against UNO since 1947.
Northwest, ranked No. 2 in the coaches poll and moved to 4-3 when ranked in the series, stands at 2-0 overall. The 10th-ranked Mavericks of UNO fall to 1-1 on the year.
"I didn't have visions of a 31-0 game," said head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. "Nebraska-Omaha moved the ball, but we stopped them when we needed to and made plays when we needed to. I think the key to our success is that we have so many people that can make plays."
Northwest took a 10-0 lead after a Tommy Frevert 27-yard field goal late in the first quarter and a 6-yard pass play to sophomore Raphael Robinson in the second.
Nebraska-Omaha had its best scoring chance in the first half going 57 yards in 11 plays, but the drive stalled at the Northwest 22-yard line. The drive was lengthened thanks in part to a 18-yard pass play which followed a fumble by quarterback Greg Wunderlich. But six plays later, kicker Andrew McCawley lined up for a 30-yard field goal try and missed wide right.
Northwest held a 141-123 total offense advantage in the first 30 minutes but UNO controlled the ball for nearly 19 minutes of the half.
Taking the ball first after the intermission and holding a 10-0 edge, the Northwest offense drove 84 yards in five plays capped by a three-yard run by junior Xavier Omon. Two long pass plays led to the touchdown including a 45-yarder to Robinson as he was tackled at the UNO three-yard line. Junior E.J. Falkner received a 73-yard bomb from junior Josh Mathews to give Northwest a 24-0 cushion early in the fourth quarter.
Senior Quinten Womack picked off a Zach Miller endzone pass in the middle of the third quarter for a touchback to thwart one of UNO's four chances in the red zone and continue the shutout.
Omon ended the scoring with his second rushing touchdown of the day early in the fourth. He finished with 59 yards on 18 carries. His two rushing scores give him 36 for his career (all games) and is now seven shy of the Northwest record.
Mathews was 14-of-21 for 257 yards and two touchdowns with his favorite target Falkner going for 109 yards on five catches.
Defensively, senior Thomas Smith posted a game-high 12 tackles, two tackles-for-a-loss and one sack. Senior captain Ben Harness had eight tackles and one sack as well.
Northwest next travels to Truman State on Sept. 16 for the MIAA opener. The Hickory Stick rivalry continues with kick-off at 12 p.m.
NOTES: The victory extends the Bearcat winning streak to 13 at home against non-conference opposition (non-playoffs) ... With no turnovers this afternoon, Northwest has not turned the ball over in each of its last three games (dating back to 2005) - the opposition has four during that stretch ... Northwest moves to 2-0 to start a season for the sixth time under coach Tjeerdsma (in 13 seasons) ... The 73-yard touchdown catch was E.J. Falkner's second-longest of his career - he was on the receiving end of a 83-yarder in the 2005 playoff win at Washburn (Nov. 19) ... The 31-0 shutout was the first since Oct. 1, 2005 against Emporia State (14-0) and the largest shutout since Truman State on Nov. 1, 2003 (37-0) ... UNO kicker Andrew McCawley missed his second FG attempt of the game, from 20 yards out in the third quarter ... Northwest halted a three-game UNO winning streak in the series when both teams are ranked in the coaches' Top 10 ... In his last four starts, Josh Mathews has averaged 279 passing yards (1,114 yards) and thrown a total of nine touchdowns.
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