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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Sept. 6, 2007

Season Starts Again At UNO

MARYVILLE, Mo.--Second-ranked Northwest Missouri State (0-0) officially begins its 2007 campaign Saturday against 11th-ranked Nebraska-Omaha (1-0) in Division II's first matchup of top-15 teams this season. Game time is 6 p.m. at Cope Stadium in Omaha.

Saturday marks the eighth meeting between the two teams since 1998. The home team has won the previous seven meetings and both teams have been ranked in all seven contests. Northwest is 4-3 against UNO in that span.

The Bearcats beat the Mavericks 31-0 last season in Maryville. It was the first time UNO had been shut out in 12 years. Xavier Omon rushed for two touchdowns and Josh Mathews passed for two touchdowns. The Mavericks went on to finish 8-3 with a second-round exit from the NCAA tournament.

It's the final time these two teams will meet as non-conference foes. UNO is serving its last season as a member of the North Central Conference. The Mavericks will join the MIAA next season.

UNO defeated Nebraska-Kearney 41-24 in its season opener Saturday in Kearney. The Mavericks rushed for 270 yards and five touchdowns in the contest. Northwest jumped out to a 21-0 lead in less than six minutes against Arkansas Tech on Aug. 23 before lightning terminated play.

Northwest is 9-4 in season openers under Head Coach Mel Tjeerdsma, who stands nine wins shy of 200 for his career. Nebraska-Omaha has won its last four home openers under Head Coach Pat Behrns.

What A Start: It won't count in the record book, but what a start for the Bearcats against Arkansas Tech. Following the pregame ceremony and dedication of "Mel Tjeerdsma Field," Northwest scored 21 unanswered points in less than six minutes.

The first play from scrimmage was a 15-yard run by Omon. The third play was a 34-yard pitch-and-catch from Mathews to Kendall Wright and the fifth play was a 3-yard touchdown run by Omon.

Arkansas Tech picked up a first down before being forced to punt. Dallas Flynn blocked the punt and Marcus Martin scooped and scampered 26 yards to make it 14-0.

The Wonder Boys fumbled away the ensuing kickoff. Four plays later, Omon is back in the end zone for a 21-0 lead. Omon carried eight times for 37 yards in less than a quarter. Mathews completed 5-of-6 passes for 53 yards.

About UNO: The Mavericks got 176 yards and two touchdowns in the opener from running back Brian McNeill, a junior transfer from North Dakota State College of Science. McNeill, along with senior Nate Wurth, is trying to replace Kyle Kasperbauer, who ran for nearly 1,300 yards for the Mavericks a year ago.

Harlon Hill regional finalist Zach Miller, a junior, returns at quarterback. Miller became the third quarterback in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards last year and also set a school record with 19 touchdowns. He went 13-of-20 for 195 yards, a touchdown and an interception against Nebraska-Kearney.

Defensively, UNO returns seven starters back from the second-best defensive unit in the NCC a year ago. Senior safety Randy Kush returns as the team's leading tackler. He also had five interceptions a year ago and needs one more to tie a program record.

The Mavericks forced Kearney into four turnovers and blocked a punt. Junior Jacob Skow led UNO with 10 tackles.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468