Nov. 28, 2009
Roach Blocks Central Washington Kick with :06 Remaining
ELLENSBURG, Wash.-Northwest Missouri State senior defensive tackle Tyler Roach blocked what would have been a game-tying extra point with six seconds left to beat top-ranked Central Washington 21-20 Saturday in an NCAA quarterfinal game at Tomlinson Stadium.
The win sends the second-ranked Bearcats (12-1) into the semifinals for the fifth year in a row. California (Pa.), which beat West Liberty 57-35 Saturday, will be their opponent at a date and location to be determined.
The missed extra point attempt by Garrett Rolsma followed a nine-play, 70-yard touchdown drive capped by a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cole Morgan to Mike Waller. Rolsma hooked up with Morgan twice for 36 yards on a drive that began with 1:11 remaining.
Northwest scored touchdowns on two 70-plus yard drives to begin the second half, turning a 14-7 deficit into a 21-14 lead. Jake Soy hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bolles to finish the first drive. Jordan Simmons caught a 19-yard pass from Bolles to cap the second.
Central Washington faced a 4th-and-1 from the Bearcat 5 early in the fourth quarter, but linebacker Adam Vondrak knocked down Morgan's pass to end the drive. Northwest took nearly seven minutes off the clock before Bolles was intercepted by Jerome Williams at the Wildcat 21. It was the only turnover of the game by the Bearcats.
Northwest picked off two Morgan passes, the first by linebacker Chad Kilgore was returned 25 yards, accounted for the Bearcats' first score and tied the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.
Central Washington responded on the ensuing drive and regained the lead on a 12-yard run by Randall Eldridge. Eldridge scored twice for Central Washington and had 69 yards on 19 carries.
LaRon Council carried 28 times for 105 yards for Northwest - his sixth 100-yard effort of the season. He did it against the nation's top run defense. The Wildcats were allowing 55 yards per game entering play Saturday.
Bolles completed 31-of-40 passes for 295 yards. He found Jake Soy a season-high 11 times for 136 yards. Soy has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in four straight games and eight times this season. He caught his 23rd touchdown of the season, which leads the nation and ties him for the fifth-most in Division II history.
Bearcat safety Myles Burnsides tied his career high with 12 tackles. He also got his 16th career interception - tied for the third-most in program history.
Northwest has now beaten five 12-0 teams since 2006 and won 15 straight playoff games leading up to the national championship. The Bearcats improved to 3-5 all-time against top-ranked teams.
Northwest Records tied or broken Saturday:
• Blake Bolles tied the MIAA's single-season record for touchdown passes with 38. Bearcat quarterback Chris Greisen threw that many in 1998.
• Jake Soy broke Northwest's single-season receiving record. Soy has 79 catches 1,393 yards, breaking Steve Hanley's record of 1,343 yards in 1984. Soy is 102 yards shy of the MIAA record set by Pittsburg State's Ronnie West in 1991.
Northwest Head Coach Mel Tjeerdsma Post-Game Quotes
Obviously we're thrilled to win in a tough atmosphere and tough situation against a tough football team. These guys just said coach, these are the best guys we've played all year. I guess you'd expect them to be since they're undefeated and number one.
It was a great game. I really want to compliment all these guys and our team, the way we came out after halftime. It wasn't anything any coach said, it's some things that some of our players said that really inspired these guys to get out and get after it the second half.
We felt like we weren't playing aggressive football, we were playing more not to lose than playing to win and I thought our first two drives in the second half said a lot about that.
On the play of his defense…
Our defense after the first two series did an outstanding job, gave us great field position, you know we got a defensive touchdown and that's always huge. When you play a great defense like Central Washington you have to have some help with special teams or defense scoring and we got it today.
On blocking the extra point…
Tyler's (Roach) blocked four this season. That was a picture of the other three. That wasn't an accident. These guys are good at it. It's not scheme, it's effort. That's all it is. It was a great effort on their part.
On where this game ranks among other he's won in the playoffs…
Right now it's the best. It's been an unbelievable run and we've had some great games. What made this so special is that some of our kids really stepped up at halftime and it wasn't necessarily our seniors, but some juniors stepped and said we're going to get this thing done and we're a team and we're a family and we care about each other and that's about it. I'm just proud at the way they responded.
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