Oct. 5, 2007
Fall Classic At Arrowhead…Take Six
The battle for MIAA supremacy takes center stage Saturday as No. 9 Northwest Missouri State (3-1, 3-0 MIAA) takes on No. 16 Pittsburg State (4-1, 2-1) in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead VI. Game time in Kansas City is 2 p.m.
Northwest is the lone unbeaten team in the MIAA standings after three weeks. Pittsburg State is one of four teams with one blemish. At least six of the 10 teams in the league will have two losses by Sunday.
Northwest and Pittsburg State have combined to win outright or share every MIAA title in 16 of the last 18 seasons dating back to 1989.
PSU knocked Central Missouri from the list of unbeatens last week with a 38-31, double-overtime win Saturday. Northwest, meanwhile, needed a quarter-and-a-half to build a 50-point lead against Southwest Baptist en route to an 86-13 victory. The Bearcats have outscored their three conference foes 183-39.
Both teams have had success running the ball this season. The Gorillas average over 260 yards a game on the ground and rank eighth in the nation in rushing. Northwest is 15th nationally with 235 yards per game and leads the nation in scoring at 51 points a contest.
The two featured backs are Caleb Farabi, a junior for Pittsburg State, and Xavier Omon, a senior for Northwest. The two rank 1-2, respectively, in the MIAA rankings for rushing. Omon is the nation's leading scorer at three touchdowns per game.
Omon sat out last year's contest at Arrowhead with a rib injury, but replacement Sheldon Cook had no trouble filling in. Cook carried 13 times for 172 yards and two scores and Northwest won 41-14. The Bearcats have won three of the previous five meetings at Arrowhead.
It was in Kansas City where Northwest last trailed in an MIAA contest. The Bearcats have won 15 straight games against league foes since the 2005 Fall Classic.
With so much attention given to the offense, it's hard to notice the Bearcat defense atop the MIAA rankings. Only one running back in the last 23 games has rushed for over 100 yards against Northwest. In addition, the Bearcats have four safeties, 12 sacks and have returned two punts for touchdowns.
Fourteen players have 10 tackles or more for Northwest. Jared Erspamer is the team leader with 24. Ten players have recorded a sack. Dallas Flynn and Ryan Jones have each blocked two kicks.
The team that's scored the first touchdown has won all five games of the Fall Classic. Northwest is outscoring its opponents 85-9 in the first quarter and 144-25 in the first half this season. The Bearcats have scored touchdowns on 25 of their 50 drives.
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Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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