Oct. 12, 2007
First Place In The MIAA On The Line Saturday
Central Missouri (4-2, 3-1 MIAA) and ninth-ranked Northwest Missouri State (4-1, 4-0) will compete for first place in the MIAA standings at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bearcat Stadium. Both teams are at the midway point of the conference slate. Washburn (4-2, 3-1) is the only other team with less than two losses in league play.
The Bearcats have faced one team more often than the Mules in their history. Northwest and Central Missouri will meet for the 85th time Saturday. Northwest has faced Truman 87 times.
The Bearcats lead the all-time series 49-34-2, including a 10-3 mark under the watch of head coach Mel Tjeerdsma. Northwest has won the last three meetings, including a 31-14 win in Warrensburg a year ago.
Northwest and Central Missouri rank 1-2, respectively, in total defense in the MIAA. Both feature tailbacks that are averaging more than 100 yards per game. Both have scored overtime victories against Pittsburg State this season.
Northwest's Xavier Omon turned in arguably the best performance of his four-year career last Saturday on one of Division II's biggest stages. His career-best 274-yard effort at Arrowhead Stadium made him the ninth-leading rusher in the nation at nearly 150 yards per game. He's scored 13 touchdowns in his last three games and continues to lead the nation in scoring.
Glenn Milner went for 218 yards and four touchdowns for the Mules in a double overtime win against Pittsburg State two weeks ago. He's rushed for more than 100 yards in four straight games and is the sixth-leading scorer in the nation.
The men in charge of stopping the running game are senior linebackers Jared Erspamer and Matt Robertson for Northwest and senior safety Kendall Ricketts and junior linebacker Adrian Singletary for UCM.
Ricketts is a two-time All-American who recorded 19 stops and an interception against the Bearcats last season (Northwest's two leading tacklers had five). Erspamer and Robertson had 16 and 13 tackles, respectively, last week against Pittsburg State. Singletary was a second-team all-MIAA selection in 2006.
Winning Streaks: Northwest has won 16 straight games against MIAA opponents and 12 straight games at Bearcat Stadium dating back to 2005.
Scoring Early: Northwest has scored more points in the first quarter in five games this season than Central Missouri has scored in the first half in six games (92-89). The Gorillas were the first team to hold the Bearcats to less than 21 points in the first half.
Regional Rankings: Northwest is ranked third in the Southwest Region rankings released earlier this week. Central Missouri is ranked 11th. The Bearcats are the only team ranked in the top six.
Wanting Moore: Omon needs three touchdowns to surpass former Pittsburg State star Ronald Moore for third place on the MIAA all-time scoring list. Omon has scored 464 points in his four seasons.
Protect the Quarterback: Northwest's starting offensive line of Reid Kirby, Tom Pestock, Matt Nelson, Jeremy Davis and Kyle Dunn have allowed just four sacks in five games this season. The Bearcats' 0.8 sacks allowed per game average ranks third in the nation.
Battle in the Trenches: Central Missouri is 45-5 since 2001 when outgaining its opponents on the ground. Northwest is 93-6 since 1994 when out gaining its opponents on the ground.
Turnovers: The Mules have forced 20 turnovers this season including 14 interceptions. Only two teams in the nation have forced more turnovers than Central Missouri.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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