Nov. 29, 2007
Northwest Takes On Chadron For Regional Championship
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State (10-1) takes on its second 12-0 team in the NCAA playoffs at 11:30 a.m. (MST) Saturday in Chadron, Neb. The fifth-ranked Bearcats take on the second-ranked Chadron State Eagles in a rematch of last year's Southwest Region Championship, which Northwest won 28-21 at Bearcat Stadium.
Chadron State won its second straight Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championship and is the top seed in the Southwest Region. The Eagles are coming off a 76-73 triple overtime win against Abilene Christian last week in the highest scoring game in NCAA playoff history. Chadron trailed 49-20 heading into the fourth quarter, but scored 36 points in the final 15 minutes to force overtime.
Northwest, meanwhile, advanced by doubling up Lone Star champ West Texas A&M, 56-28, in Maryville. Xavier Omon scored four touchdowns and the Bearcat defense accounted for three more in the victory.
The Bearcats took on the nation's top pass defense in West Texas last week, this week they'll try to stop the NCAA's all-time leading rusher in Danny Woodhead. Both Northwest and Chadron are averaging close to 150 yards rushing per game. Both defenses have allowed close to 90 yards rushing this season.
Woodhead missed the final three games of the regular season with an injury, but returned and carried 39 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns against Abilene Christian. He also caught five passes for 49 yards and a score.
Woodhead rushed 16 times for a career-low 16 yards in Chadron's loss to Northwest last season. Omon gained 158 yards and accounted for two scores against the Eagles. The Bearcats led 21-7 at the half and 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter of that contest.
Omon and Woodhead are each first-team all-region selections who have combined for 14,280 yards rushing and 199 touchdowns in four seasons. Woodhead's next score will make him the NCAA's all-time scoring leader, surpassing former Pittsburg State star Germaine Race. Omon's next score will move him into fourth place on the all-time scoring list and up to second on the MIAA's all-time chart.
Not to be overlooked Saturday are the quarterbacks for each team. Junior Joe McClain is 27-2 as a starter for Chadron and is coming off a 443-yard, six-touchdown performance against Abilene Christian. He also rushed for two scores and gained 84 yards. Junior Joel Osborn passed for a career-high 299 yards against West Texas A&M and hooked up with Kendall Wright for the game's first score.
Northwest and Chadron each had four defensive players earn first-team all-conference honors. Both led their respective leagues in scoring defense and finished in the top three in terms of total yards allowed.
The Eagles rank second in the nation with an average of four sacks per game. The Bearcats have allowed 10 sacks in 11 games this season and none in their last two. Northwest has started the same offensive line all season and the unit ranks fifth in the nation in pass protection.
The winner of Saturday's game will take on the winner of Central Washington and Grand Valley State next weekend. Central Washington upset the Northwest Region's top seed in Nebraska-Omaha last week. Grand Valley State in the two seed of that region and has beat the Bearcats in each of the last two national championship games.
Northwest would host Central Washington if the two teams advance. The host site for Northwest and Grand Valley wouldn't be determined until late Saturday night.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468