Oct. 13, 2007
Bearcats Survive Late Scare To Remain Atop MIAA
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest stopped a two-point conversion with just over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter and recovered the ensuing onside kick to secure a 28-26 victory against Central Missouri Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.
The ninth-ranked Bearcats (5-1) remain alone atop the MIAA standings with a 5-0 record, while the Mules (4-3) drop to 3-2. Washburn, with its win against Emporia State Saturday, is the only one-loss team in the league at 4-1. It's the 10th time in the last 12 years that Northwest has won its first five conference contests.
Xavier Omon ran for more than 200 yards for the second consecutive game and for the fifth time in his career. He had an 80-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and finished with 217 yards on 25 carries to lead the Bearcats.
Josh Mathews threw a touchdown pass on each of Northwest's first two possessions and added a third score early in the fourth quarter. He completed his first 10 passes and finished 15-of-21 for 149 yards. Kendall Wright had four catches, two touchdowns and 50 yards receiving for Northwest.
Northwest led 14-0 less than 10 minutes into the contest and had a 21-10 lead heading into the break. Marce Velazquz made it 21-13 with a 24-yard field goal on the Mules opening possession of the second half. Wright made it 28-13 with an 11-yard score with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Omon fumbled on the first play of a Bearcat drive with less than nine minutes remaining and the Mules capitalized on the next play with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Eric Czerniewski to Edgar Givens. Czerniewski completed 26-of-45 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
The Bearcats fumbled again on their next possession, but Ryan Jones blocked a 26-yard field goal attempt to help Northwest keep its 28-20 lead.
A three-and-out led to a Bearcat punt and the Mules took over on their own 44-yard line with 3:27 remaining. Central Missouri converted two fourth downs and scored on a nine-yard strike from Czerniewski to Tim Richmond.
The two teams exchanged timeouts and the Mules lined up in a five-wide receiver set. Czerniewski's pass towards the middle of the field was knocked down by Jared Erspamer and Caleb Obert recovered the ensuing onside kick to preserve the win.
Central Missouri played much of the game without the service of All-American safety Kendall Ricketts, who sustained a leg injury early in the first quarter. Robertson led all defenders with 10 tackles. Sean Paddock had two sacks and seven tackles for the Bearcats.
Northwest held Glenn Milner, the MIAA's third-leading rusher heading into the contest, to 55 yards on 15 carries. The Bearcats also stopped a 4th-and-2 effort late in the third quarter and Caleb Dohrman stopped a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1 early in the fourth.
The Bearcats had three turnovers in the game and committed 12 penalties for 117 yards. Omon had a 38-yard gain down to the 2-yard line called back by a holding penalty with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and with Northwest leading 28-13.
• The start of the game was delayed one hour due to lightning.
• Northwest has scored on its first possession in five of its six games this season.
• Since 2005, it is just the fourth time Northwest has had 100 yards of penalties and the most since 144 penalty yards Oct. 1, 2005 versus Emporia State
• Josh Mathews completed his first 10 passes to open the game, passing for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
• Xavier Omon rushed for 80 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter - it's his longest rush for Omon at Bearcat Stadium and the longest in his career since a 91-yard rush at Missouri Southern on Oct. 9, 2004 (also for a touchdown in the fourth quarter). The rush put his over 100 yards rushing for the 11th straight game and recorded a rushing touchdown for his 10th straight game.
• Gerrit Hane notched his first career interception in the second quarter for a return of 27 yards.
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Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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