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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Nov. 10, 2007

Omon, Tjeerdsma Make History on Senior Day

MARYVILLE, Mo.-Fifth-ranked Northwest Missouri State scored 35 points in the second quarter and beat Missouri Southern 49-14 Saturday at Bearcat Stadium in the regular season finale for both teams.

Northwest improved to 9-1 and finished 9-0 in league play for the second straight season. The Bearcats are expected to be named to the NCAA playoffs for the ninth time in the last 11 years Sunday.

It was career win No. 200 for Northwest coach Mel Tjeerdsma, who becomes the 13th active coach in all divisions of the NCAA to reach the mark. He joins Ohio State coach Jim Tressel and Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer as coaches who earned their 200th win this season.

Xavier Omon made history by becoming the first player in NCAA history to rush for 1,500 yards in four seasons. Omon carried 16 times for 83 yards and scored two touchdowns. It was the first time he has failed to reach 100 yards in 15 games. His final carry came with more than six minutes remaining in the third quarter and with Northwest leading 42-7.

Omon's first touchdown was a 1-yard leap near the beginning of the second quarter that tied the game at 7-7. The score was the 25th for Omon this season - a school record. His 26th touchdown was a 1-yard run that gave Northwest a 28-7 lead later in the quarter.

Northwest had two defensive scores in the second quarter. The first followed a fumbled snap from the Missouri Southern punter. Brian Shannon picked up the loose ball and went 16 yards for a touchdown and the Bearcats' first lead of the game, 14-7.

The second was a 72-yard fumble recovery by Ryan Jones just before the half. Colin Bado caught a short pass across the middle and was drilled by Northwest linebacker Troy Matthews before Jones scooped and scored. The play gave Northwest a 35-7 lead at the break.

Bado had 10 receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown in the first half for the Lions, but was held to one catch in the final 30 minutes. Chris LeFlore, the man assigned to Bado, had a career-high 12 tackles and also forced a fumble.

Joel Osborn made his third start of the season at quarterback for the Bearcats and was 15-of-18 for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He split two defenders and found Mike Peterson on a 26-yard touchdown pass for the Bearcats' third score of the game. He hit fullback Brant Gregg with a 3-yard playaction pass for the game's only score of the third quarter.

Northwest won the turnover battle for the first time in seven games and didn't commit a turnover for the first time this season. The Bearcat defense forced three turnovers and limited the Lions to 29 yards rushing. Missouri Southern was averaging 204 yards per game heading into the contest.

Northwest Missouri State head coach Mel Tjeerdsma Post-Game Comments:

On the win and the start to the game:

"I'm thrilled with the fact that we played so well today, especially after the start. You have to give Missouri Southern a lot of credit. They had a great opening drive, but I thought one of the turning points in the ball game there was holding them on fourth down. It was huge and for our offense to come out and move the ball a little bit and get field position back and then all of a sudden we drive and score and then we get the punt and score so I just thought from that point on we were in control of the football game."

On how well the team played offensively:

"Offensively, Joel Osborn with a pretty good half, pretty good game. Fifteen out of 18, that's pretty good. No turnovers, that makes such a big difference when you don't turn the ball over. I thought Joel played within himself. He didn't try to make plays that he couldn't make. He scrambled a few times. Xavier had a great game. Under 100 yards rushing I saw, but we don't care about that. He's healthy and we'll live for hopefully two weeks down the road."

On a big win before the playoffs:

"It's good to have, it wouldn't have been gloom and doom if we didn't. We just wanted to win. If it would have been 7-6, we would have taken that too. Obviously, it really gives everybody a real good feeling right now. We haven't had a good feeling for awhile. We had a good feeling after the Wshburn game - that was a good football team. Even at Emporia, I really felt good other than the turnovers we really played well. I think we're starting to click right now and I think this team has a lot of possibilities if we do."

On win No. 200:

"I'm just glad we got it over. I don't like all those other things. A football game is a football game. It bothered me a little bit thinking about that this week. What happens if you don't win? Then you got to go through it another week and I didn't want to do that so I'm really thrilled that we got it - it's past and it will be awhile before we get to 300."

On Xavier being the first player with four 1,500-yard seasons

"That's incredible. It says so much about him and his durability. Here's a guy that's played in a lot of games and only missed three - one with a sprained ankle and two with a broken rib. Even today, that was a highlight on that (play) he made. Somebody was unblocked and he spins out of it. We didn't use him much today and that's alright. He has a lot more ahead of him and that's the important thing.

"It is a tremendous accomplishment and I'm really thrilled for him. He's really worked hard and it's very deserving."

Individual Notes

• Xavier Omon becomes the first athlete in NCAA history to rush for 1,500 yards in four seasons
• He needs 12 rushing yards to move into third in MIAA career rushing records. He currently has 6,302.
• Omon set the Northwest single-season touchdown mark with his 25th and 26th touchdowns today.
• Brian Shannon scores his first career touchdown off a fumble recovery at 11:56 in the second quarter.
• Mike Peterson caught his 16th career receiving touchdown, marking the second straight game with a touchdown pass.
• Brant Gregg's touchdown reception with six minutes left in the third quarter is his first career receiving touchdown - it's his six career touchdown.
• Joel Osborn completed nine of his first 10 passes, throwing for 142 yards and a touchdown in that span.
• The 33-yard completion from Blake Bolles to Sydney Brisbane is a career-long for both players.
• Bolles threw a career-high 48 passing yards and notched his first career rushing touchdown.
• Chris LeFlore led all players with a career-high 12 tackles, including eight solo tackles.
• Mel Tjeerdsma won his 200th career game and becomes the 13th active coach in the NCAA with 200 or more career victories.

Team Notes

• Northwest goes undefeated in MIAA play for the second straight season and 12th time in school history.
• Northwest has won 21 straight MIAA games since 2005.
o 15 straight home games since 2005 (2nd longest streak in school history).
• First time Northwest has not committed a turnover this season
o First time since Nov. 4, 2006 vs. Pittsburg State
• Fourth time this season the offensive line has not allowed a sack
• The Bearcats held Missouri Southern to 29 rushing yards.
o It's the third time this season Northwest has held the opponent to less than 50 rushing yards and fifth time the opponent has recorded less than 100 rushing yards

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