Sept. 13, 2008
Northwest Outlasts Missouri Western in MIAA Opener
MARYVILLE, Mo.-LaRon Council rushed for a career-high 144 yards and four touchdowns and Northwest stopped a late Missouri Western drive to earn a 42-35 win Saturday at Bearcat Stadium in the MIAA opener for both teams.
Northwest wide receiver Abe Qaoud hauled in touchdown passes of 26 and eight yards in the fourth quarter to help the Bearcats overcome a 35-27 deficit. It was the first two-touchdown performance for Qaoud, who caught four passes for 70 yards.
Myles Burnsides' 36-yard interception return set up the game-winning score and Chris LeFlore's pick in the end zone on the Griffons' final drive sealed the win. Northwest committed the game's first four turnovers prior to the Bearcats' two fourth-quarter interceptions.
Council scored on a 3-yard run and three 1-yard plunges. His fourth touchdown capped a 14-play, 70-yard drive on the Bearcats' first possession of the second half to give Northwest a 27-21 lead.
The Griffons' regained the lead six plays later on a 27-yard strike from quarterback Drew Newhart to Cedric Houston. The duo hooked up for an 82-yard touchdown in the first half and connected four times for 126 yards on the day.
Jarrett Morris' 44-yard interception return extended the Griffons' lead to 35-27 with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Northwest quarterback Joel Osborn overshot Kendall Wright with a pass and Morris broke a few tackles near the end zone to finish the run.
Osborn went back to Wright for a 14-yard completion on 3rd-and-6 early on the Bearcats' ensuing drive. The Bearcats faced another 3rd-and-6 when Osborn hit Qaoud at the 4-yard line. Qaoud spun free from his defender and waltzed into the end zone to make it 35-33.
The Bearcats had an extra point blocked in the first half and needed a two-point conversion to tie the game. Osborn dropped back to pass, scrambled and juked a linebacker to reach the end zone to knot the game at 35.
Missouri Western punted on its next possession and Northwest drove to the Griffons' 25 before Osborn was intercepted by Soane Etu, a lineman who snuffed out a screen and caught an errant pass.
The Griffons' went for it all on the next play, but Burnsides, a safety, made a leaping catch on an underthrown ball by Newhart. He raced back to the Griffons' 24-yard line before being shoved out of bounds.
Council carried four times to the 8-yard line and Osborn threw an out to the left pylon to Qaoud on 3rd-and-4 for the go-ahead score. Osborn finished 23-of-32 for 270 yards and two scores. He converted all six third-down passing plays in the second half.
Missouri Western started its final possession from its own 35-yard line with seven minutes left to play. The Griffons reached the Bearcats' 15 before freshman Josh Lorenson earned his first collegiate sack. Northwest had four sacks in the game, but Lorenson's forced a 3rd-and-16. An incompletion and LeFlore's interception followed to seal the win.
Houston and Wright entered the game ranked in the top 10 nationally in all-purpose yards and neither disappointed Saturday.
Houston's 202 yards stemmed mostly from his 126-yard receiving tally. Wright netted 127 yards on his first three kickoff returns. His longest return of 53 yards set up the Bearcats' first touchdown. Wright finished with 185 return yards on six kickoffs and two punts and had 60 yards receiving for an all-purpose total of 245.
Newhart rebounded from a five-turnover game last week in a loss to Minnesota-Duluth to deliver three touchdown passes and a rushing score. He finished with 254 yards passing on 16-of-29 attempts.
• The crowd of 9,346 is the second-largest in program history
• Northwest has won its last five games against the Griffons and 11 of 13 dating back to 1996
• Northwest has won 20 consecutive games against MIAA opponents dating back to 2005
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