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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Nov. 9, 2007

Tjeerdsma, Omon, Apache Helicopter Highlight Senior Day

Fifth-ranked Northwest Missouri State (8-1, 8-0 MIAA) hosts Missouri Southern (6-4, 4-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday on Senior Day at Bearcat Stadium. The Bearcats are gunning for a second straight undefeated season in conference play and a first-round bye in the NCAA playoffs.

It has all the makings of a historic day at Bearcat Stadium. In addition to honoring 19 seniors, head coach Mel Tjeerdsma has a chance to earn career win No. 200. Running back Xavier Omon needs 17 yards to become the first player in NCAA history with four 1,500-yard seasons.

Missouri Southern head coach Bart Tatum makes his first trip to Maryville in two seasons. Tatum served as an assistant coach for the Bearcats from 1994-2005. He's 11-10 as head coach of the Lions.

Northwest has won 12 straight games against Missouri Southern dating back to 1995 and have won by an average of 26.8 points. The Bearcats earned a 24-7 win in Joplin, Mo., last season.

In his second season, Tatum has secured the Lions their first winning season since 1996. Missouri Southern has one of the top defenses in the league, including the league's top pass defense. Quarterbacks have combined for a 91.5 rating against MSSU - the 10th lowest rating in the nation.

Missouri Southern's four losses this season include: a three-point loss vs. Pittsburg State, a six-point loss at Washburn, a one-point loss to Central Missouri and a 16-point loss at Missouri Western.

Its wins include a 17-16 victory against Southwest Baptist and a 6-0 decision vs. Fort Hays State. The Lions put up a season-high 55 points in a 31-point win against Truman last weekend.

Northwest's strength continues to be its ground game. The Bearcats have rushed for 195 yards or more in every game except the opener. No team has held Omon to less than 115 yards and a score.

The Lions average 204 yards rushing per game, third in the MIAA behind Pittsburg State and Northwest. Their two-back attack includes Alley Broussard (853 yds, 12 TD) and Renard Johnson (716 yds, 3 TD). Broussard attended LSU last season.

Joel Osborn will likely be the starter for the Bearcats Saturday. Osborn passed for 230 yards in a 24-7 win against Emporia State last weekend, but was intercepted four times. He'll be pitted against junior Adam Hinspeter, who became the Lions all-time leading passer a week ago. Hinspeter has thrown for 1,956 yards and 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions this season.

Hinspeter has two main weapons in Colin Bado (790 yds, 5 TD) and Isaac Norman (581 yds, 6 TD). No other Lion has more than 125 yards receiving this season. Broussard and Johnson have combined for 13 catches out of the backfield in 10 games.

Missouri Southern has intercepted 21 passes this season, the second-highest total in the nation. Nine different players have picked off a pass for MSSU. Jordan Patton leads the team with five picks.

The Bearcats have forced 13 turnovers all season (seven interceptions, six fumbles). That total ranks 136 out of 144 teams.

The leading tacklers on the field Saturday include senior linebackers Jared Erspamer (77) and Matt Robertson (66) for Northwest and sophomore linebacker Jared Brawner (90) and senior lineman B.J. Russow (53) for Missouri Southern.

A Salute to Veterans: Northwest will offer a tribute to veterans of the United States armed services Saturday - the day before Veterans Day. A U.S. Army Apache helicopter will be on display on the practice field near the Bearcat Zone tailgating area in College Park and will fly over Bearcat Stadium during the halftime ceremonies.

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