Oct. 22, 2011
Big second-half lift ‘Cats to 52-28 Homecoming win
MARYVILLE, Mo. – What had the look of a heavyweight bout quickly turned into a Northwest Missouri State rout as the Bearcats coasted to a 52-28 Homecoming victory in front of 10,073 fans at Bearcat Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Northwest outscored the Ichabods 35-14 in the second half as they improved to 7-1 on the year and 5-1 in MIAA play. The win snapped an 11-game winning streak for Washburn who fell to 7-1 and 5-1 in league play.
Blake Christopher returned after missing the last two games to throw for over 400 yards and became the 11th quarterback to win the Don Black Homecoming MVP Award completing 29-of-37 passes. He also led the Bearcats in rushing with 79-yards on 12 carries.
“Their defensive line is their strong point so we needed our offensive line to really set the tempo and they did that,” said Christopher who became the 18th senior to win the award.
Northwest jumped out to a quick start as Christopher tossed back-to-back touchdown passes to Tyler Shaw and Jake Soy to give the Bearcats an early 14-0 lead.
“We took advantage of their safety coming downhill and when you have playmakers like we do, Tyler made a good play to come get the ball and score. Then Jake, on his out route he took for a score really boosted my confidence the rest of the day,” Christopher said.
Christopher and Soy would hook up again for their second touchdown as Christopher threaded the middle of the Ichabod defense at the goal-line. Soy caught eight passes for 144 yards and the two scores.
Washburn would quickly rally scoring on a 17-yard Justin Cooper scamper and after forcing a Northwest three-and-out tie the game when Dane Simoneau found DeJuan Beard for a 40-yard touchdown.
After a quarterback draw from Christopher, the Ichabods would again tie the game again after a seven play 90-yard drive was capped by Simoneau’s second touchdown pass to Beard. Simoneau and Beard would hook-up and third time late in the third quarter.
However, the Bearcats would steal the momentum marching back down the field like a well-oiled machine setting up a 22-yard Todd Adolf field goal as time expired in the half. Northwest drove 75-yards in nine plays in just over a minute to push their lead to 31-21, a lead they would not relinquish.
“We were going to be aggressive today,” head coach Adam Dorrel said. “They are very good on offense and I was so proud of our defense. We talked about getting knocked down and getting back up and keep playing and doing your job. I felt great all day and this was a big win for us. We got better as a football team today.”
The Bearcat defense would swarm the Ichabod quarterback for three sacks and one interception as Northwest controlled the second half. Northwest was led by seniors, Josh Lorenson and Aaron Terry as the front four limited the Ichabod running game to only 70 yards.
Northwest dominated the time of possession by nearly 15 minutes controlling the clock as James Franklin rushed 17 times for 59 yards and three scores to help put the game out of reach. Franklin scored three times all coming in the second half.
The Bearcats travel to Missouri Southern to begin a two-game road swing as kickoff in Joplin is slated for 2 p.m. Northwest now sits tied with Washburn for second in the MIAA as both teams figure to be ranked in the first NCAA Region Rankings that will be released early next week.
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