Nov. 28, 2008
Rematch in Abilene For a Regional Title
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State looks to avenge its lone loss of the season Saturday as the third-ranked Bearcats (11-1) take on second-ranked and unbeaten Abilene Christian (11-0) in one of four NCAA regional championships. Kickoff from Shotwell Stadium in Abilene, Texas, is noon.
The top two seeds in Super Region Four met in the season opener in Maryville near the end of August. Northwest jumped out to a 21-7 lead, but 30 unanswered points helped Abilene Christian to a 44-27 win.
Since then, the two teams are a combined 21-0 and have outscored their opponents 972-342 for an average win of 46-16. Northwest reached its regional final by besting Pittsburg State 38-35 last weekend in Maryville. Meanwhile, Abilene Christian and West Texas A&M set DII records for combined points and yards in a 93-68 Wildcat victory.
The Bearcats won't have home-field advantage in this one, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Northwest is 20-1 on the road the last four seasons including a 5-0 mark in the postseason.
Experience certainly favors the Bearcats, who are playing in their 10th regional final in the last 13 seasons and their fifth straight overall. The Wildcats are playing in their first regional final since moving to NCAA DII in the 1980s.
Saturday's game pits the nation's top two scorers in running backs Bernard Scott and LaRon Council, who've combined for 62 touchdowns. Scott rushed for 292 yards on 19 carries and totaled seven touchdowns in ACU's win last weekend. He has 32 scores this season. Council, who has 30 scores, ran for 95 yards and scored three first-half touchdowns in the Bearcats' win against Pittsburg State. Each scored twice in the season opener.
Northwest and Abilene Christian lead the MIAA and LSC, respectively, in points scored, points allowed and yards gained on offense. The Bearcats are 7-1 against the Lone Star Conference dating back to 1994 and are 5-0 against the LSC all-time in postseason play.
Northwest senior quarterback Joel Osborn passed for a career-high 325 yards and two touchdowns against ACU. He needs 238 yards Saturday to become the 11th quarterback in MIAA history to pass for 3,000 yards in a single season.
Osborn, the MIAA Offensive MVP, threw a game-winning 15-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright with 55 seconds left to beat Pittsburg State last weekend. Osborn's played five games and thrown 137 passes without an interception. He has eight touchdown passes in that span.
Junior safety Myles Burnsides, the MIAA Defensive MVP, had a career-high 12 tackles against Pittsburg State. He's picked off a pass in three of his last four games and leads the league with five picks this season.
The winner of Saturday's game will play the winner of Delta State and North Alabama in the national semifinals next weekend. The site for that game will be determined Sunday.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582
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