Dec. 10, 2006
Bearcats Make it to 2nd Straight National Championship After 33-3 Semifinal Win Over No. 6 Bloomsburg
MARYVILLE -- (stats) No. 2 Northwest Missouri State is headed back to Florence, Ala., and the Division II National Championship for the second straight season after a 33-3 Semifinal victory over visiting No. 6 Bloomsburg (Pa.) tonight at Bearcat Stadium. In front of a crowd of 7,055 in the first home night game since 1977, Northwest held the Bloomsburg offense to 191 total yards - the 11th time it limited an opponent under 300 yards of offense this year.
Northwest, who lost 21-17 to Grand Valley State in the 2005 Championship, will take on No. 1 Grand Valley next Saturday at 11 a.m. CST on ESPN2. Tickets are on sale at the Student Services Center through Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 12 p.m. The ticket number is 660.562.1212. Any ticket requests after Wednesday at 12 p.m. should go through the Shoals National Championship Committee at 256.764.4661.
Northwest, the No. 1 seed from the Southwest Region, moves to 14-0 for just the second time in school history. Bloomsburg, the No. 2 seed from the Northeast Region, ends its season at 12-2.
"We are thrilled to go back to Alabama," said head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. "This team has been on a mission. We have talked about it (returning to the National Championship) since we got back last year.
"I can't say enough about how our defense played and holding down their offense to under 200 yards. Offensively, we moved the ball real well."
The Bearcats scored 20 straight points in the second half to expand a 13-3 halftime lead.
The game started with some Bloomsburg trickery. On the opening kick-off, Bloomsburg recovered an on-side kick and began its drive at its own 47-yard line. But a 14-yard sack by senior Ben Harness forced a BU punt on third-and-nine. The Northwest sack was a theme in the game as six sacks were recorded by a Northwest defense that has now tallied 39 this season.
After the Bloomsburg three-and-out, the Bearcat offense took its opening drive 63 yards on six plays capped by a 1-yard plunge by junior Xavier Omon. Sophomore Tommy Frevert pushed the Northwest lead to 10-0 in the first quarter on a 31-yard field goal.
Bloomsburg's Jon Koenig put his team on the board nailing a 42-yard field goal early in the second quarter before Frevert booted three more 3-pointers. Frevert tied an NCAA Playoff record with his four made field goals with the last occurrence coming in 2002.
Another 1-yard score by Omon followed by a 12-yard pass to sophomore Raphael Robinson late in the fourth ended the scoring. While the Northwest offense expanded its lead in the second half, the Northwest defense allowed BU to post just 61 total yards on 24 plays in the second half.
The Northwest defense was led by four tacklers with five stops apiece - junior Jared Erspamer, senior Kyle Kaiser, senior Thomas Smith and junior Dallas Flynn. Northwest did not allow a 100-yard rusher for the 18th straight time - BU's Jamar Brittingham went for 56 yards on 15 carries (3.7 ypc).
Junior quarterback Josh Mathews finished 23-of-32 for 252 yards and one passing score. Omon posted 149 yards on 29 carries to finish with his fourth straight 100-yard game on the ground. Junior E.J. Falkner led a crop of receivers with 91 yards on a career-best eight catches. BU's Dan Latorre was 8-of-19 passing for 115 yards. His favorite target was Brahin Bilal, who recorded five catches for 104 yards.
NOTES: Northwest improves to 3-0 all-time against teams from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference … Coach Tjeerdsma now stands with 19 NCAA postseason wins - moving past Pittsburg State's Chuck Broyles for the all-time Division II record … The six sacks recorded by Northwest ties a season-high done against Pittsburg State (Nov. 4) … The Northwest defense did not pick up an interception, which marked the first time this season (in 14 games) … Northwest picked up its 10th straight home win - tied for the fourth longest in history … The current 14-game winning streak is good for fourth all-time at Northwest … The Bearcats move to 19-8 all-time in playoff history including 11-3 at home … With a -1 turnover margin today, Northwest lost the turnover battle for just the fourth time this season - Northwest is still +14 on the year.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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