Oct. 14, 2006
Bearcats Remain Undefeated in 31-26 Victory Over Washburn
TOPEKA, Kan. - (stats) No. 2 Northwest Missouri State football went up 28-13 and held off a 13-point rally in winning this afternoon 31-26 at Washburn (4-2, 3-1 MIAA) from Yager Stadium. Northwest racked up 426 yards of total offense while holding Washburn to 217 yards and eight first downs but the Bearcats lost the turnover battle for the first time on the season (-2). The road conference victory extends the Northwest winning streak to 10 dating back to 2003.
Northwest stays undefeated at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference while WU falls to 4-3 on the season and 3-2 in circuit play.
The host Ichabods made the game close after Zach Watkins recovered a Josh Mathews fumble and ran down the left sideline for a 72-yard touchdown at the 1:53 mark of the fourth period. After the PAT conversion, WU trailed 31-26. However, WU tried an onside kick with just under two minutes left in the game but Northwest took over at the Washburn 43 after the ball was kicked out-of-bounds.
The Bearcats put up points on its first offensive series, thanks to a 14-yard pass from junior quarterback Josh Mathews to junior tight end Mike Peterson at the 8:03 mark of the first. It was seventh straight time Northwest scored before the opposition.
Following the Bearcat score, WU running back Ra'Shawn Mosley found a hole through the Bearcat defense and race 53 yards up the middle to put the Ichabods on the board. Northwest turned away an Ichabod 2-point conversion and with 4:55 remaining in the first, Northwest led 7-6.
On the second play of the second quarter, Mathews hit a streaking Kendall Wright on a post pattern for 83 yards and the ball rested on the WU 1-yard line. Junior running back Xavier Omon reached the endzone two rushes later to put the Bearcats on top 14-6.
Redshirt freshman Abe Qaoud padded the lead with a 27-yard reception, his second straight week finding the endzone, and Northwest held a 21-6 lead midway through the second quarter. Washburn added a score before the half and the Bearcat lead was at 21-13.
Northwest seemingly put the game to rest after its first possession of the third quarter. Peterson hauled in his second score of the day, this time from 22-yards out, to give Northwest a 28-13 lead and cap a 11-play, 63 yard drive. However, Hearn pounded it in from one-yard out late in the third frame before sophomore Tommy Frevert hit a field goal from 40-yards out. The score stood 31-19 in favor of Northwest at that point.
The Northwest defense, which had forced 13 turnovers coming into the day, finally notched its first one off the first career interception by Chris LeFlore in the fourth. With the ball at the Washburn 18 and after a healthy diet of Omon rushes, Mathews coughed up the ball after a hit from Bruce Ringwood. The 72-yard return on the play by Watkins put life into the hosts before the failed on-side kick.
Mathews passed for a career-high 347 yards and three touchdowns on 21-of-32 passes. He had two interceptions overall and his first one broke a string of 114 straight attempts without an interception. Omon finished with 121 yards on 35 totes as he scored once in the second quarter - his longest rush was 11 yards. Wright compiled a career-best 179 yards on nine receptions - it was the ninth-best effort in Northwest single-game history.
Using a two-pronged quarterback attack, Washburn signal-callers were just 5-of-15 for 69 yards. Mosley finished with 94 yards on 10 carries.
Junior Jared Erspamer led the team with seven total tackles while senior Ben Harness had six stops including three behind the line of scrimmage. Ringwood and Neal each held the team tackling lead with 12 each.
Northwest will engage in its annual Homecoming contest as Fort Hays (Kan.) State visits Bearcat Stadium next Saturday, Oct. 21 for kick-off at 1:30 p.m.
NOTES: Northwest stands No. 1 in the Southwest Region (Oct. 9) while Washburn is No. 12 … The 53-yard rushing score by Ra'Shawn Mosley in the first quarter was the longest opponent rushing TD of the season … Josh Mathews had 251 yards passing while Kendall Wright totaled 155 yards receiving by the half … The Bearcats entered the game first in the league in the turnover battle (+9) … Josh Mathews had his string of passes without an interception stopped on his 115th attempt - the streak went back to Truman State (Sept. 16) … The 347 yards passing by Mathews is the most since Josh Lamberson went for 378 on Homecoming last season against Central Missouri State … The 35 carries for Xavier Omon is two shy of his career-high and four away from the single-game school record set in 1974 … The Bearcat defense was without the services of three starters: cornerback Quinten Womack (foot), free safety Brandon Pratt (hand) and strong safety Chris Termini (foot) … Northwest has held six of seven opponents this year under 300 yards of offense … Northwest won its seventh straight in the series with Washburn when played in Topeka.
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Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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