Sept. 26, 2008
Top 10 Teams Meet in Omaha
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Division II football's third top-10 game of the season will take place Saturday in Omaha, Neb., as eighth-ranked Northwest Missouri State (3-1, 2-0 MIAA) battles fifth-ranked Nebraska-Omaha (3-0, 2-0 MIAA) at 1:30 p.m. on Caniglia Field.
The teams have met in each of the last three seasons and in eight of the last 10 years, but will compete for the first time as MIAA rivals Saturday.
The home team has won the last eight games of the series dating back to Northwest's 22-21 win in Omaha in 1996. The Bearcats and Mavericks have each won four head-to-head duals since.
All eyes will be focused on the quarterbacks Saturday as Nebraska-Omaha's Zach Miller faces Northwest gunslinger Joel Osborn.
Miller leads the Mavericks' option-run game and is the second-leading rusher in the MIAA at 118 yards per game. He averages more than 10 yards a carry and has scored six touchdowns in three games.
Osborn is the leading passer in the MIAA and ranks 13th nationally with 1,063 yards in four games. He's completing two-thirds of his passes and has eight touchdown tosses this season. Against Truman last weekend, he tied a career high with three touchdown passes and had 246 yards in the first half.
Northwest has won three in a row after losing its season opener to Abilene Christian and is coming off a 49-0 shutout of Truman. Northwest held the Bulldogs to six yards of total offense in the second half in earning its first shutout since the 2006 NCAA playoffs.
The Mavericks have had no trouble adjusting to a new league as evidence by their blowout wins against Emporia State and Missouri Southern. UNO hasn't allowed more than 21 points nor scored less than 40 in three games.
One Streak Must End: Northwest has won 21 consecutive games against MIAA opponents dating back to the 2005 Fall Classic at Arrowhead Stadium. Nebraska-Omaha has on 14 consecutive regular season games dating back to 2006.
800: Northwest and UNO have combined for more than 800 yards of total offense in two of their last three meetings and for 678 yards in the other. Northwest has thrown for no less than 261 yards in the last three meetings. UNO has run for no less than 180.
RB vs. RB: Not to be forgotten are a pair of talented running backs in Saturday's game. Northwest's LaRon Council is the nation's second-leading scorer with 11 touchdowns this season. Brian McNeill is the MIAA's third-leading rusher behind his signal caller and rushed for 143 yards against the Bearcats last season.
Top 10 Teams: Northwest will have played in two of Division II's three top 10 meetings this season. Northwest hosted Abilene Christian in a No. 3 vs. No. 8 matchup in its season opener. The only other top 10 matchup was No. 3 North Alabama beating No. 4 Carson-Newman 20-13 back on Sept. 4.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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