Oct. 2, 2010
Record crowd watches NW shut out Western
By David Boyce
MARYVILLE, Mo.-The scariest aspect for future Northwest Missouri State's opponents is the fact that the Bearcats made some silly penalties and still destroyed the No. 8 ranked team in NCAA Division II.
The Bearcats also lost its starting running back Billy Creason on the first play of the game after he ran 21 yards. He suffered a leg injury that will keep him out 4 to 6 six weeks.
Northwest still trounced its nearby rival Missouri Western 42-0 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd of 10,805 at Bearcat Stadium.
It's the first time Northwest has ever held Missouri Western scoreless in 30 meetings and the first time the Griffons have been shut out since 1997.
"Offensively, if we can eliminate some penalties we can be a pretty good offensive team, too. Five hundred and 19 yards is nothing to feel bad about. We just got a lot of things to improve on.
"It's a great win against a big rival, but we can't enjoy it too long."
Northwest fans will certainly savor it for a while.
The win lifted No. 7 Northwest to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in the MIAA. The Bearcats have now won 40 straight conference games, one shy of equaling the MIAA record held by Northwest.
Missouri Western dropped to 4-1 and 2-1. And the Griffons appeared to be a couple notches below Northwest .
The Bearcats went into halftime in front 14-0 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from
Blake Bolles to Jake Soy in the first quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run by Kelvin Austin in the second quarter.
But Northwest was far from perfect in the opening 30 minutes. They committed a couple of uncharacteristic personal fouls and had a couple of false starts that hurt a few drives.
Bolles also threw an interception deep in Missouri Western territory when Northwest led only 7-0.
The Northwest defense and later Jordan Simmons bailed Bolles out. The Bearcats were stellar on defense all afternoon. They forced a punt and Simmons returned it 78 yards to the 1, setting up Austin's touchdown.
Emotions should have been mixed for the Bearcats at halftime. The good part was the two-touchdown lead. The bad part was the mistakes.
"We were frustrated," Soy said. "But we really came together. We overcame those struggles and that's what I really feel is encouraging."
The Bearcats started the third quarter error prone and it didn't matter. A mishandling of the kickoff coupled with a block in the back penalty put the ball on the 5 for Northwest.
On the 13-play, 95-yard scoring drive, Northwest was still called for two false starts. But Bolles was on. He completed five of six passes on the drive that ended with a 1-yard run by Simmons.
"We came through on some big third and longs and that was encouraging to get that confidence on offense," Soy said. "It is dangerous when you get that kind of confidence."
"We said play with energy," Tjeerdsma said. "We were dead. It didn't seem like we were up 14-0. We came out and played with energy. We had a couple of penalties in that first drive but we overcame them and that got us over the hump."
Northwest's defense actually took its game to another level. First, the Bearcats stopped Missouri Western in four plays on a critical drive for the Griffons.
A little later, junior linebacker Chad Kilgore picked off a pass and gave the ball to the Bearcats at Missouri Western's 44. Four plays later, Northwest scored on a 33-yard strike from Bolles to Soy.
Northwest still had more impressive work to do on defense. Senior cornerback Ryan Jones picked off a pass and returned it 36 yards for his first-career touchdown off an interception.
"I've been thinking about it all day," Jones said. "It felt great to finally actually do it."
The score gave the Bearcats an incredible 35-0 lead with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
Nobody could have predicted Northwest winning so easily against a Missouri Western team that came in as the top scoring squad in NCAA Division II, averaging 48.6 points.
"One thing we said all week is we had to stop the run," senior linebacker Willie Horn said. "They have two great running backs. Our defensive line played awesome and that let us run around and make plays."
One of the defensive linemen with a big game was senior nose guard Shayne Shade. He was happy with the Bearcats' effort.
"It feels good," he said. "We just shut them down, goose egged them, but we still have stuff to work on."
The Griffons simply had no answers for the swarming Bearcats. Missouri Western finished with only 167 yards of total offense.
"We tried to change it up," defensive coordinator Scott Bostwick said. "We tried to go with some three man, some four man, we were man and we were zone. Our kids did a really good job of executing the game plan.
"It all goes back to the kids and execution. We were ready to play."
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