Oct. 30, 2008
Bearcats Look To Clinch Crown Against Hornets
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Third-ranked Northwest Missouri State (8-1, 7-0 MIAA) gets its first chance at capturing its third consecutive MIAA title Saturday when the Bearcats host Emporia State (4-5, 2-5) at Bearcat Stadium. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
Northwest has won 13 straight games against Emporia State dating back to 1995 and leads the all-time series 22-2. The Bearcats' 13 seniors will be playing their final regular season contest in front of the home crowd. Their record at Bearcat Stadium the last three-plus seasons - 22-2.
A championship trophy isn't the only thing on the line Saturday. Northwest needs to win its final two games to ensure a first-round bye in the NCAA playoffs, which would give the senior class at least one more chance to defend its home turf.
The Bearcats have won 26 consecutive games in MIAA play and are two wins away from running the table for the third year in a row. One-loss Pittsburg State is looking to snag at least a share of the conference crown should Northwest stumble.
Emporia State was the only home team in the MIAA to win last weekend. The Hornets ended a four-game skid by topping Truman 35-24 behind a three-touchdown effort from quarterback Andre Sloan-El. It was the Hornets first win in the month of October since 2005.
Sloan-El accounted for all but 18 of the Hornets' 263 yards against Truman. He rushed for a season-high 97 yards and a score. He passed for 148 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sloan-El is one of 11 quarterbacks nationwide with 350 yards rushing and 1,250 yards passing this season. He leads the Hornets in both categories.
Emporia State is 4-1 at home this season, but 0-4 on the road. In fact the Hornets have lost 13 consecutive road games in MIAA play since 2006.
Back to the 'Cats
Northwest continued its streak of winning anywhere and everywhere around the MIAA last weekend with a 24-21 win at Washburn in Topeka. The Bearcats have won 12 consecutive league games at home and 19 straight on the road.
LaRon Council carried a career-high 34 times for 162 yards and scored his 21st touchdown of the season in the win against Washburn. Council has rushed for 1,047 yards on the year, making him the seventh player in Northwest history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau during the regular season.
Council is creeping up on some of the scoring records posted by Xavier Omon last season. He needs five touchdowns in the next two games to tie Omon's regular-season record for scoring. He needs six rushing touchdowns in the next two weeks to tie Omon in that category.
Quarterback Joel Osborn passed for 281 yards against the Ichabods and has passed for 2,150 yards on the year. He's the eighth quarterback since 1965 to reach 2,000 yards.
Ten Northwest players have caught touchdowns this season. Three teams in the MIAA haven't thrown 10 touchdown passes all season (TSU, UNO, FHSU).
Northwest leads the league in both scoring defense and total defense, allowing teams 12 points and 264 yards in league play. The Bearcats have allowed 86 points in seven MIAA games. The Hornets have surrendered 181.
Aldwin Foster-Rettig (51), Adam Vondrak (42) and Myles Burnsides (42) are the leading tacklers for the Bearcats. Katrel Larkins (60) and Tyler Mikkelson (45) are the only Hornets with more than 40 stops.
Northwest has 23 sacks and nine interceptions on the year. Burnsides' three picks in league play are the second-most in the MIAA. Josh Lorenson's four sacks are the second-most in league play.
Angelo Webb leads the Hornets with 3.5 sacks. Six different Emporia State players have logged an interception, but no player has two.
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