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Morning Sun
  • Bearcats turn tide, beat PSU 31-21

  • Northwest Missouri finished strong with 31 unanswered points in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead XI, turning a 14-0 deficit early in the second half into a shocking 31-21 win Saturday night over top-ranked Pittsburg State.

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  • Northwest Missouri finished strong with 31 unanswered points in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead XI, turning a 14-0 deficit early in the second half into a shocking 31-21 win Saturday night over top-ranked Pittsburg State.
    Over a 5-minute, 33-second stretch of the fourth quarter alone, Northwest Missouri scored 21 points.
    “It’s a huge win for us,” Northwest Missouri junior quarterback Trevor Adams said. “We’ve got to move on to the next week and there’s a lot of football left to be played. We’re ready to go.”
    “It’s a great win for our program,” Northwest Missouri junior running back James Franklin said.
    “First things off, there’s a lot of things going through my mind right now and the first thing I keep coming back to is my senior class,” Northwest Missouri head coach Adam Dorrel said.
    Northwest seniors include receiver Tyler Shaw, running back Jordan Simmons, receiver John Hinchey, cornerback Gordi Metezier, defensive back Nate DeJong, defensive back Clarke Snodgrass, linebacker Matt Massey, linebacker Preston Bostwick, kicker Todd Adolf, offensive lineman Robert Stough, defensive tackle Ryan Meyer, linebacker Collin DeBuysere, offensive lineman John Petroff, offensive lineman Rod Williams, defensive tackle Willie Dyson and defensive end Matt Meinert.
    The story of the Fall Classic on the field in the first half was the performance of the Pitt State defense against the high-powered Northwest Missouri offense, which entered Saturday averaging 45.8 points and 463.5 yards of total offense per game.
    Northwest Missouri generated 97 yards, four first downs and Adams, reigning conference Offensive Player of the Week, threw a pair of first-half interceptions, both to sophomore cornerback De’Vante Bausby. Northwest punted four times and did not gain a first down on its first three possessions.
    This strong defensive start and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Abenoja to John Brown helped Pitt State lead 7-0 at halftime.
    The Brown TD culminated a 13-play, 84-yard scoring drive over 4:57 of the second quarter, highlighted by a 30-yard catch and run by Gavin Lutman on a third-and-8 at the PSU 40. Pitt State coaches mentioned Lutman having big-game potential and he certainly showed that on his 30-yard reception.
    Pitt State and Northwest Missouri certainly showed the signs of great halftime adjustments on their opening drives after halftime.
    The Gorillas marched 87 yards in seven plays with five consecutive first-down plays — Briceton Wilson 12-yard run, Jason Spradling 11-yard run, Andrew Castaneda 13-yard catch, Wilson 18-yard run and Spradling 15-yard run. Luke Rampy would cap off this drive with a 14-yard TD reception and PSU led 14-0.
    The Bearcats responded with 75 yards in six plays and 2:14, highlighted by a Franklin 25-yard first-down run and a Simmons 19-yard TD reception (his 10th TD of the season). The Bearcats moved the chains three times on this first drive of the second half after only four first downs in the first half.
    Page 2 of 3 - “I think it was huge,” Dorrel said of the scoring drive. “Confidence is a fragile thing.”
    Northwest Missouri continued its offensive momentum on its second drive (14 plays, 66 yards, 5:13) but the Gorillas held the Bearcats to a Todd Adolf 31-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the third.
    Meanwhile, the Gorillas punted away two straight possessions and finally seemed to reverse momentum late in the third with a defensive stop, a Brown 26-yard punt return to set up the Gorillas at their own 45, and a 11-yard first-down reception by Chance Riley on the final play of the quarter.
    Abenoja hit Wilson for a 18-yard completion on the first play of the fourth and it looked as if Pitt State could march down for another score. However, Northwest Missouri applied pressure on Abenoja, sacking him for a 3-yard loss and forcing an incomplete pass, and stuffed Mandel Dixon short of a first down on a fourth-and-1.  Pitt State responded defensively by forcing a Northwest Missouri three-and-out.
    “That was a tough decision,” Pitt State head coach Tim Beck said of the decision to go for it on fourth down inside Northwest territory. “It was a big part of the game there. At that point, I felt like we needed a touchdown more than a field goal.”
    “I thought it was a good call,” Dorrel said. “That’s exactly what I would have done. He’s a gutsy football coach.”
    The Gorillas could not take advantage on their next drive after the punt and Abenoja gift-wrapped an interception over the middle to Northwest Missouri corner Travis Manning.
    Facing a fourth-and-4 at the PSU 29 with 10:25 on the clock, Northwest Missouri rolled the dice and Adams hit John Hinchey on a 29-yard pass, catch and run to give Northwest Missouri its first lead of the day, 17-14, as the Bearcats continued to make all the big plays with the game on the line.
    “I would say it was his best game,” Dorrel said of Hinchey. “He’s a good kid.”
    Northwest Missouri wrapped up its 31 unanswered with two Franklin TD runs.
    Pitt State stopped the bleeding too late with a 12-yard TD pass to Brown.
    Brown passed Gene Wayenberg, Jr. for second place on the PSU career receiving yards list — Brown needed 69 yards and he caught eight passes for 84 yards and two TDs Saturday night.
    Northwest Missouri (6-1, 5-1 MIAA) won its fifth straight game this season, ended a two-game losing streak to Pitt State, ended Pitt State’s 10-game winning streak and evened the all-time Pitt State-Northwest series 23-23.
    Pitt State (5-1 overall) dropped its first conference game after five straight wins this season and returns to Carnie Smith Stadium next weekend for a Homecoming clash with Missouri Western (6-1, 5-1).
    Page 3 of 3 - The game was delayed twice by lightning, starting 51 minutes later than a scheduled 4 p.m. kickoff and being stopped at the 10:36 mark of the first quarter.

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