Oct. 25, 2008
Council, Burnsides 'Carry' Northwest Past Washburn
TOPEKA, Kan.-LaRon Council rushed for 164 yards, Joel Osborn passed for 281 and third-ranked Northwest Missouri State stopped a late Washburn drive to earn a 24-21 win Saturday at Yager Stadium.
It was the eighth straight win for the Bearcats, who are now one win away from capturing their third consecutive MIAA championship. Northwest (8-1, 7-0 MIAA) will get that opportunity at home next Saturday against Emporia State (4-5, 2-5).
Myles Burnsides had a team-high nine tackles to lead the Bearcats, one shy of his career high. His interception of Washburn quarterback Dane Simoneau accounted for the game's lone turnover and secured the win in the closing minutes. It was Burnsides team-leading third pick of the season and eighth of his career.
Burnsides was also involved in a little Northwest trickery in the middle of the second quarter.
With the teams still scoreless and with Northwest facing 4th-and-9 from the Ichabod 37, Burnsides took a direct snap as the up man on the punt team, got a block downfield from Ryan Jones and finished one yard shy of the end zone. Council finished the drive on the ensuing play and Northwest led 7-0.
It was the first career rush for Burnsides, a junior safety and 2008 team captain.
Northwest totaled 256 yards in the first half, but failed to post more than seven points. Tommy Frevert missed a 30-yard field goal and the Bearcats were turned away on two carries from inside the 1 at the end of the first quarter.
The two teams combined to score on six straight possessions to begin the second half. All were touchdown drives with the exception of a 32-yard field goal by Frevert, which gave Northwest a 17-7 lead with less than two minutes left in the third quarter.
Washburn (6-3, 4-3) needed two plays to cut the lead back to three. Simoneau rolled to his right and found Drameagon Powers wide open along the sidelines. Simoneau finished 16-of-33 for 179 yards and two touchdowns in his third collegiate start.
It was a beautiful fall day in Topeka, but the south wind certainly played a factor. Northwest took a timeout near the end of the first quarter to preserve its advantage. Washburn used two timeouts at the end of the third quarter in the hopes of forcing a Bearcat punt, but Northwest converted a 3rd-and-5 to keep the drive alive.
Northwest was 8-of-12 on third down in the second half after going 0-for-7 in the first.
Washburn had to burn its final timeout early in the fourth and that may have played a factor in the team's decision to attempt an onside kick.
Brandon Walker ran in from 2 yards out to make it 24-21 with 7:14 remaining. Against the wind and with no timeouts, the Ichabods kicked onside straight to Justin Welch, who recovered for the Bearcats at the Washburn 39.
Later that drive, the Bearcats thought they had gained a free play when Washburn crossed the line-of-scrimmage. After receiving the early snap, Osborn signaled for his receiver, Nick Rhodes, to go deep. He did, but after the Washburn defender tripped, Rhodes couldn't pull in the catch in the end zone.
To make matters worse, the referees failed to flag Washburn and the Bearcats faced 3rd-and-12.
Northwest ran the ball on 4th-and-17 and Washburn took over from the 27-yard line with 3:35 remaining. Three incompletions and Burnsides' interception followed.
The Bearcats finished with 511 yards of offense compared to 272 for the Ichabods. Greg Applegate and Kendall Wright hauled in touchdown passes for the Bearcats.
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