Sept. 10, 2011
Stingy defense helps Bearcats cruise in home opener
MARYVILLE, Mo. - With all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the home opener for Northwest Missouri State the Bearcats shook their nerves as they cruised to a, 52-17 win over Sioux Falls on Saturday night at Bearcat Stadium in front of 7,640 fans.
The Bearcats improve to 2-0 on the season for the first time since the 2006 season when they would rattle off 14 straight wins before falling in the national championship game. Sioux Falls drops to 0-2 losing their second straight game to an MIAA opponent.
Northwest would get on the board early after an interception by Derrick Thomas would set up a 37-yard Todd Adolf field goal. However, USF would seemingly move the ball with ease taking the lead just momentarily on a 29-yard pitch and catch from Carrington Hanna to Jeremiah Oates.
"It was apparent they wanted to slow the game down, which they did for a little," said Adam Dorrel. "We were able to make the needed adjustments and that's a tribute to our coaches."
Making needed adjustments on offense, Blake Christopher and Jordan Simmons would connect for their first of two scores giving the Bearcats a, 10-7 lead. Christopher would scramble finding Simmons on the far sideline as he raced 47-yards to pay dirt.
A pesky USF squad would tie the game again on 35-yard Braden Wieking field goal, but a determined Bearcat team would prove to be the better team on a night honoring Mel and Carol Tjeerdsma.
Northwest would quickly march 70 yards in six plays on Simmons' second touchdown of the night a 12-yard run giving the Bearcats a 17-10 lead that they would not relinquish the rest of the night.
The Bearcats would put together six scoring drives of under two minutes in the first to build a 38-10 half time lead. A pair of first half interceptions helped set up Bearcat scores, one by Thomas and a second by Bryce Enyard, who would finish the night with two interceptions respectively.
"The first one was me just reading the quarterback's eyes, he never looked away" Enyard said. "I did nearly the same for the second one, but it came more to me and I was able to make a good play on it."
Christopher would find the end zone on a 2 play 12 yard drive after the Enyard pick pushing the Bearcat lead to 14.
The Bearcat momentum created by the defense would again provide dividends for the offense after a Chad Kilgore sack forced the Cougars to go three and out. Northwest would then display the same quick strike offense that hung 65 points on Truman State last week.
Christopher would find Jake Soy in the middle of the field for his first touchdown of the season. Soy, who finished with 131 yards on five catches, moved into sole possession atop the MIAA all-time leaders for receiving touchdowns with his 41st of his career.
Christopher would again close out his night early in the second half finishing with 308 yards and completing 17-of-26 with three touchdowns. His third touchdown toss of the night would come on the opening drive of the second half as he found Kyle Kilgore across the middle. Kilgore would break a couple of tackles before spinning into the end zone pushing the Bearcat lead to 45-10.
Northwest finished with 216 yards rushing and 308 through the air, which was 100 yards more than their opponent on Saturday night.
It was the first time since last year's Fall Classic against Pittsburg State that Northwest did not commit a turnover in the ball game.
Simmons would end with 76 yards on the ground and 55 yards receiving as he recorded three touchdowns for the second time in his career; his first came last week at Truman.
James Franklin would carry 15 times for the Bearcats for 66 yards.
Hanna finished 11-of-27 for 137 yards for USF before being pulled in the fourth quarter.
Northwest has now won 10 straight regular season games dating back to last year. It is also the sixth straight win at Bearcat Stadium.
The Bearcats will go on the road next weekend when they travel to Lincoln to take on the MIAA's newest football member. The Blue Tigers are 1-1 after falling to Washburn on Thursday night.
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