Oct. 3, 2008
MIAA Titans Clash in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead VII
MARYVILLE, Mo.-In 2004, and for the first time in Division II football, the two top-ranked teams met in the regular season finale. That game, known as the Fall Classic at Arrowhead III, saw top-ranked Pittsburg State claim an MIAA title and the region's top seed following a 21-17 win against second-ranked Northwest Missouri State.
The home field advantage paid off as the Gorillas eliminated the Bearcats in the NCAA quarterfinals on their way to a spot in the national championship.
Fast forward to this Saturday where No. 6 Pittsburg State (5-0, 3-0 MIAA) takes on No. 7 Northwest (4-1, 3-0) at 5 p.m. in the seventh installment of the Fall Classic. The two are the only remaining unbeaten teams in conference play. And while the winner certainly won't be handed a conference title as was the case in 2004, it will be the first placed in the driver's seat with five weeks remaining in the regular season.
Both teams couldn't be in a better frame of mind entering the home of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bearcats are coming off a nation-rattling 42-0 road rout of then-No. 5 Nebraska-Omaha, their second shutout away from Maryville in as many weeks. Northwest has outscored its opponents 106-0 in its last nine quarters of play.
The Gorillas have been equally impressive offensively in their two weeks heading into Saturday's game.
PSU got 226 yards rushing from tailback Caleb Farabi and racked up 351 yards on the ground in a 46-40 win against Missouri Western. Mark Smith passed for 300 of the Gorillas' 392 yards through the air in topping previously unbeaten Central Missouri 49-28 last weekend.
Not surprisingly, the Bearcats and Gorillas rank 1-2 in total offense in the MIAA. Northwest ranks in the top 10 nationally in both scoring (4th, 44.6 ppg.) and total offense (9th, 473.8 ypg.).
Northwest head coach Mel Tjeerdsma is 10-6 in his career against Pittsburg State and has won four of the previous six clashes at Arrowhead. The Bearcats won last year's meeting 37-34 on a 1-yard leap by Xavier Omon on fourth down in overtime.
Northwest hasn't lost to an MIAA team since the 2005 Fall Classic at Arrowhead. Not including two wins in the postseason, the Bearcats have won 22 consecutive MIAA contests.
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics
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