Sept. 30, 2006
No. 2 Northwest Improves to 5-0 with 24-7 Victory Over Missouri Southern
JOPLIN, Mo. - (stats) #2 Northwest Missouri State football scored on its second play from scrimmage and never looked back in the 24-7 victory tonight over Missouri Southern State at Fred G. Hughes Stadium. Northwest, who has now won 12 straight in the series, sprinted out to a 24-0 lead in the second quarter.
Northwest improves to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the conference and stands as the only unbeaten team in the league. MSSU drops to 3-2 on the year and 1-2 in the MIAA.
Sophomore Raphael Robinson opened up the scoring spree on a 57-yard touchdown catch from junior Josh Mathews at the 13:53 mark of the first quarter. The scoring continued as junior Jon Goss was on the receiving end of a 6-yard pass before Tommy Frevert's 22-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter handed Northwest a 17-0 lead. Frevert's score was set up by a fumble on the part of Colin Bado at the MSSU 11-yard line on a kickoff return.
After a MSSU three-and-out on its ensuing possession, sophomore Kendall Wright, who entered the game 35th in the country in all-purpose yardage, hit paydirt with a 68-yard punt return. It was the first punt return for a score since Jamaica Rector did so against Truman State on Nov. 1, 2003. Northwest went into the half with a 24-7 lead as MSSU erased the shutout on a 38-yard pitch and catch from Adam Hinspeter to Noah Harding.
Neither team's offense looked sharp in the second half. Missouri Southern lost two fumbles, netted 118 yards of offense, and turned the ball over on downs twice. Meanwhile, Northwest totaled just 59 yards after halftime and had one fumble.
Overall, MSSU posted just 21 net rushing yards and turned the ball over five times. Northwest has now held four of five opponents this season under 300 yards after the Lions had 232.
Mathews passed for 164 yards on 11-of-22 attempts and two touchdowns. Junior Xavier Omon finished with 70 rushing yards on 23 carries. Robinson caught a career-best five balls for 90 yards. Ronnell Newman was the top Lion rusher going for 33 yards on 12 carries. Hinspeter was 26-of-42 for 211 yards and one score.
Defensively, junior Jared Erspamer tallied a career-high 11 tackles and one fumble return for 26 yards. In his first career start, senior Tommy Miller matched a personal-high with eight tackles. MSSU's Jordan Chapman tied with Ben Augustin as each defender had nine total stops.
Northwest returns home for a 1 p.m. tilt against Emporia State next Saturday at Bearcat Stadium. ESU dropped a 59-57, 4 overtime decision this afternoon to #13 Pittsburg State.
NOTES: Northwest has won the last six road meetings in the series and is 14-4 all-time … With the road conference win, the Bearcats have now won nine straight MIAA road games dating back to 2003 … In his last six starts, Josh Mathews has thrown a total of 13 touchdowns against five interceptions … Under coach Tjeerdsma, Northwest has stood 5-0 on five occasions … Senior linebacker Ben Harness did not dress due to an injured knee … MSSU entered the game with a league-best +5 turnover margin - tonight it was -3 … After jumping out to a 24-0 lead, Northwest has not trailed this season … The Missouri Southern offense did not cross midfield until the second quarter and its 23rd offensive snap.
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