Nov. 24, 2007
Northwest Doubles Up West Texas, 56-28
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Xavier Omon rushed for four touchdowns and the Northwest defense accounted for three more as the Bearcats got past West Texas A&M 56-28 in an NCAA Division II second round playoff contest Saturday at Bearcat Stadium.
The win is the 20th for Northwest head coach Mel Tjeerdsma in the postseason, an NCAA Division II record. The Bearcats have won 16 straight games at home and improved to 7-0 against the Lone Star Conference dating back to 2004.
The 56 points scored are the most for Northwest in a playoff game since 1999 and the most given up by the Buffs this season.
Omon's four rushing touchdowns is a Northwest postseason record. He carried 28 times for 107 yards, his ninth career 100-yard rushing performance in the playoffs.
Three West Texas A&M quarterbacks combined for 69 pass attempts, a Division II postseason record. Keith Null was 36-of-53 for 360 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Aldwin Foster-Rettig returned Null's first interception 89 yards for a score to give Northwest a 28-7 lead with eight minutes remaining in the first half.
The Bearcats also scored defensively on a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the end zone by Ike Urum-Eke to make it 49-21 with eight minutes left in the third quarter. Chris Termini intercepted Matt McIntyre and raced 66 yards for the final score of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Null was injured in the final minute of the third quarter and with his team trailing 49-21. An injury to backup Taylor Harris in the fourth gave way to McIntyre.
Omon scored on runs of 3-, 1-, 9- and 13-yards. He leaped into the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the 1 to give Northwest a 21-7 lead with 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Kendall Wright scored the game's first touchdown on a 29-yard pitch and catch from Osborn on the opening possession of the game. The Buffs were 3-and-out on their first possession and Wright took the ensuing punt 26 yards to the Buffs' 36-yard line. Omon was in the end zone five plays later for a 14-0 lead.
West Texas faked a field goal, which set up its first score. Dale Davis took the snap and carried to the 1-yard line and Wayne McKnight ran in from there two plays later.
Charly Martin caught two touchdown passes in the second quarter to keep the Buffs close. His second touchdown closed the gap to 35-21 just before the break.
West Texas missed a 34-yard field goal on its opening possession of the second half. The Bearcats capitalized by driving 80 yards on four plays regain its three-touchdown advantage, 42-21.
Mike Peterson set up the score with a 54-yard reception from Osborn. Peterson caught a short pass along the sidelines, broke a tackle and carried down to the West Texas 20. A penalty moved the ball to the 13 and Omon scored on a sweep on the next play.
Peterson caught three passes for a game-high 96 yards. Seth Hayden and Carl Johnson led the Buffs with seven receptions each for 95 and 90 yards, respectively. Keithon Flemming added nine catches for 71 yards and was Buffs' leading rusher with 14 yards. Northwest rushed for 130 yards to 30 for West Texas.
Up Next: Northwest will take on Chadron State, the region's top seed next Saturday in Chadron, Neb. Chadron scored 36 points in the fourth quarter and beat Abilene Christian 76-73 in triple overtime Saturday.
• Omon moved into third in MIAA career rushing records with 6,409 yards, surpassing Harlon Hill winner Jarrett Anderson (Truman, 1993-96, 6,313).
o Omon needs 549 yards to tie for second with Harlon Hill winner Brian Shay (Emporia State, 1995-98).
• Another touchdown will move Omon into second in MIAA career scoring records - currently stands with 542, two short of Brian Shay.
• Omon has converted 5-of-5 fourth-and-goal situations from the 1-yard line in his career.
• Joel Osborn threw 299 yards, a new career high.
o Previous high: 287 vs. Missouri Western on Sept. 15, 2007.
• Aldwin Foster-Rettig recorded his first career interception with the longest interception return for a touchdown in Northwest playoff history with an 89-yard return.
• The 56 points are the most since scoring 58 points in the 1999 championship game vs. Carson-Newman (Dec. 11, 1999).
o Tied Northwest postseason record with eight touchdowns (with 1999 championship game).
• The 28-point margin of victory is the third largest margin in Northwest playoff history.
• First time in Northwest postseason history that the Bearcats have returned two interceptions for a touchdown in a single game.
o First time an interception has been returned for a touchdown in the postseason since Nov. 22, 1997 vs. North Dakota State (first round game, Bobby Nelson returned for 36 yards).
o The two interception returns ties the MIAA record (Pittsburg State vs. Bacone (Okla.), Sept. 8, 2001).
• Northwest allowed 30 yards of rushing from West Texas A&M, tied for the second-lowest in playoff history
o Second-straight playoff game played at Bearcat Stadium that the defense has allowed 30 or fewer rushing yards (23 vs. Bloomsburg on Dec. 10, 2006).
• Northwest improves to 12-3 in home playoff games and is 20-9 in 12 playoff appearances.
o The Bearcats improve to 7-0 against Lone Star Conference teams since 2004.
• Northwest has won 16 straight games at Bearcat Stadium, the second-longest streak in program history.
• The Northwest offensive line has not allowed a sack in two straight games.
• Northwest recorded a season-high eight pass breakups.
o Most since Sept. 24, 2005 vs. Missouri Southern (11 pass breakups).
• The Bearcats returned three interceptions for 184 yards, the most in a single game since 2001 (available records on site).
o The 184 yards surpass the 2007 regular season and the totals in 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001.
West Texas A&M Head Coach Don Carthel Post-game Quotes
"Well you all got a good thing going up here in Missouri, I've know it for a long time and admired what coach Tjeerdsma has always done. There's a lot of tradition here, the fans are really good, a really good environment to play in for us and to come in here it's a good learning situation for us. To come in a place like this in the playoffs and hopefully we learn something from it. We got beat by a very good football team today, had a lot of mistakes in the turnover department, had a lot of penalties, but our kids played hard and I'm proud of them. They fought till the end, weren't going to give up. These guys are fighters and I'm really honored to be their football coach."
On the lack of a running game leading to pressure on the passing game…
" It's always important to run and throw and Northwest was very physical. Their program, their offseason program their overall strength and their maturity of the kids were really good. They are well coached and they were well prepared for our running game. They did a good job stopping that today."
On Northwest's ground game…
" It was hugely critical. We felt that if we could stop their running we would have a pretty good shot at winning the game. We did a pretty good job making them throw the ball, but we didn't do a very good job on third down. Our third down defense has been leading the league all year. We've had pretty good success with it, with our pass rush making the plays, but today Northwest made the plays."
On the next step for his team…
"Well what we've talked about since day one was get our big freshman classes to grow up. We red-shirted all but two this year and all but one last year, so we're getting there. They (the Bearcats) are way ahead of us in terms of that 4-5 year program, which is the way you build a program. Coach Tjeerdsma knows how to build a program, we know how to build it, it's going to take us time and we've made good progress in two-and-a-half years. So we'll continue with what we are doing in terms of building a championship football team for West Texas A&M University. We will be back, we will see Northwest again, hopefully at our place next time, but they have a great team and I would like to think this could be a great rivalry.
Northwest Missouri State Head Coach Mel Tjeerdsma Post-game Quotes
"Well I think you witnessed one of the longest games in the history of college football without overtimes it was just about four hours. It's an endurance test that's hard when you're not used to it, it's tough on your defense it's tough on everybody it's just a long game. I was really proud of our defensive efforts I thought especially in the second half. We really started getting some stops in the first half, it was just a matter of whoever had the ball was going to score.
"The big difference to me with the defense was that we got some turnovers and off of those turnovers we got three scores. That's a tremendous effort by them. Offensively at times we executed as well as we have all year. We weren't going to run the football against them when you have 11 men on the line-of-scrimmage. It's hard to run the football and its frustrating at times because that's what we like to do, but I think we did a good job of adjusting to that."
On West Texas A&M's offense…
"We've seen some teams try to throw it around, but not like that. They execute really well. They have a great quarterback and they protect him well. Actually I thought maybe we could get some more pressure, but the bottom line is that our defensive line made the difference today. They played a great game and the fact we were able to rotate people in and out of there, constant pressure. When you have a quarterback like that and then the number of receivers they have - he didn't throw a perfect ball all the time, they made some tough catches and that's tough to defend. It's a tough football game and I was thrilled when tt finally got so zero."
On starting Joel at quarterback…
"Joel deserves to be where he's at right now, but Josh really only had three days of practice and up until that time we hadn't really seen him. He was out there but he wasn't able to practice. You got a game plan and we made our decision to go with it. I talked to him (Matthews) about it on Thursday and told him he made it a lot harder than I thought it was going to be because he had a great week of practice. It's hard for him to stand there, a guy whose played as well as he has for two playoff series for us in '04 and '06, but he'll be ready to go and I don't know what we'll do next week but we'll have a whole week to get ready for it and practice. I'm thrilled that he's back and I'm glad he didn't have to play today it gives him another week."
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