The No. 6-ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (7-1, 7-0 MIAA) can get outright possession of their 21st MIAA football championship this Saturday (Nov. 3) with a win at Emporia State (3-6, 1-6 MIAA).
The Bearcats remain the MIAA leader in scoring offense (39.2 ppg) and total offense (451.1 ypg) and second in the league in total defense (303.6 yapg), but have had an average margin of victory of 3.25 points per game over their past four games.
Northwest is second in the latest NCAA Division II Southwest Region Ranking, released Monday (Oct. 29).
ESU just missed out on snapping its five-game losing skid last week at Truman (5-4, 3-4 MIAA), doing so with a new quarterback, sophomore Eric Runge, in his first start for the Hornets.
The four teams entering the week tied for second in the conference standings have head-to-head clashes on tap.
One of those games — with No. 18 Pittsburg State (7-2, 5-2 MIAA) at Washburn (6-3, 5-2 MIAA) — is featured on streaming video free of charge as part of the CSTV/NCAA Division II football package. It’s available by going to http://www.cstv.com/ncaa/divii .
The Gorillas, ranked fifth in the region, have won three straight since dropping the Fall Classic at Arrowhead, notching two shutouts as well.
Both teams have been solid on the ground — PSU leads the conference in rushing (282.0 ypg), and the Ichabods (which fell to No. 11 in the region) have averaged 254.8 yards rushing in the past five games.
Meanwhile, Missouri Western (7-2, 5-2 MIAA) hosts Central Missouri (6-3, 5-2 MIAA). It is the regular season home finale for the Griffons, who have won their last four games.
The Mules have played well over the past two games — especially on defense with several key starters — including senior FS Kendall Ricketts — missing action due to injuries.
The Truman Bulldogs are at Missouri Southern (5-4, 3-4 MIAA) — both teams are trying to assure themselves a .500 season with a victory.
Southwest Baptist (0-9, 0-7 MIAA) heads to Fort Hays State (3-6, 1-6 MIAA) for a battle of teams aiming to snap losing skids — The Bearcats have lost 14 in a row, while the Tigers have dropped six straight.
All MIAA games besides the PSU/WU pairing are available this week are available in streaming video on www.themiaa.tv for $5.95 each.
SMART NEARING NATIONAL RECEPTION MARK: With 109 catches, Southwest Baptist senior WR Nick Smart comes into the week needing 11 receptions to set the NCAA Division II single-season receptions mark.
The NCAA Division II mark is 119, set in 1994 by West Texas A&M’s Brad Bailey.
Smart has averaged 14.75 catches in his last four games, and leads Division II with 12.11 receptions per game.
OMON AIMING TO MAKE HIS MARK: Northwest Missouri State senior RB Xavier Omon Is looking to pass a pair of career milestones as the regular season concludes.
He needs 11 rushing yards to become the fourth MIAA player to surpass 6,000 career yards. If he gets 247 yards, Omon will be the first NCAA Division II player to have four 1,500-yard seasons.
With 325 yards more, Omon will pass Jarrett Anderson of Truman (1993-96 — 6,313) for third on the league’s career rushing list.
He needs six points to join Germaine Race of Pitt State and Brian Shay of Emporia State as the only MIAA players to score 500 career points.
THE 80-WIN CLUB: Missouri Western’s Jerry Partridge needs wins in the Griffons’ last two games to make 80 this regular season.
He is tied with former UCM head coach Terry Noland (1983-96 — 78) for ninth on the MIAA’s coaching victories list after Western defeated Missouri Southern, 30-14, last week.
Willie Fritz of Central Missouri became the eighth MIAA coach with 80 wins on Oct. 20.
HINSPETER CLIMBS PASSING CHART; BRILL CLOSING IN: Missouri Southern junior QB Adam Hinspeter climbed two spots to seventh on the MIAA’s career passing yardage list last week with his 146 yards in the loss at Missouri Western.
He has 6,795 yards, and needs 36 yards to become the Lions’ career passing leader, passing Matt Cook (1989-93 — 6,795) and get to sixth on the league list.
Washburn senior QB Jordan Brill is closing in on the Top 10. He has 6,327 yards, 221 away from Central Missouri’s Scott Loveland (1981-84 — 6,547) in 10th.
Central Missouri: The Mules lost the last meeting with Missouri Western, 30-20, in Warrensburg… With his two touchdowns against Southwest Baptist last week, junior RB Glenn Milner became just the third Mule in history to surpass 100 points in a season (Lee Thompson & Kegan Coleman each did it twice)… Milner is ranked seventh in NCAA Division II scoring (12.0 ppg)… Junior DL John Wood is tied for seventh in D-II sacks (0.9 per game).
Emporia State: The Hornets’ last win in the series with Northwest Missouri State came in 1994 — 41-26 in Maryville… ESU’s only home win over the Bearcats came in 1965, 28-27… The Hornets rushed for a season-high 305 yards, and had two backs (Justin Wieser and Seville Ko) each surpass 100 yards vs. Truman… ESU defensive coordinator Ken Gordon was an All-MIAA linebacker at Northwest in 1996.
Fort Hays State: The Tigers have struggled to score in league play, averaging just 9.4 points per game and reaching double-figure scoring against two league foes… FHSU has suffered two shutouts in its last three games… The Tigers have logged 22 quarterback sacks — 10 by senior DL Jason Hill (ranked fourth in D-II at 1.1 per game) — but only one in the last two games… Only two D-II schools have lost fewer fumbles (4) than FHSU.
Missouri Southern: The Lions won the last meeting with Truman in Joplin, 41-17, in 2005 — the first game played following the sudden death of head coach John Ware… Junior QB Adam Hinspeter moved into third place on the school’s career total offense list in the loss to Missouri Western — his 6,751 yards passed Brad Cornelson (1995-98 — 6,671) and leaves him 250 from passing Matt Cook (1989-93 — 7,000) for second… Senior WR Colin Bado is ranked fifth in receptions (7.4 per game) in Division II.
Missouri Western: The Griffons have won the last four meetings with the Mules… Freshman QB Drew Newhart won his last meeting against UCM QB Eric Czerniewski — by a score of 64-18 in the 2005 Missouri Class 2 championship game… Junior DL Soane Etu is tied for seventh in D-II sacks (0.9 per game) with UCM’s John Wood… Only two schools have logged more interceptions than Western (18) in NCAA Division II… Western and UCM are tied for eighth in Division II turnovers gained (27).
Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats have won the last 12 meetings against the Hornets by an average margin of 25.4 points… Northwest has won its last 10 games on the road… Senior RB Xavier Omon scored four touchdowns in his last meeting against ESU… Northwest has wins in its last 19 games against MIAA foes… Omon leads Division II in scoring (16.5 ppg) and is ranked third in rushing (156.6 ypg)… The Bearcats are sixth in sacks allowed per game (0.88 per game)… Northwest has out-scored its opponents in the first quarter, 120-23.
Pittsburg State: Pitt State has won 26 of the last 27 meeting with WU, including last season’s 29-14 decision… The Gorillas posted their second shutout of the season against FHSU, the first time since 2003 PSU has done so and the eighth two-shutout season since Chuck Broyles became head coach in 1990… Thanks to runs of 41 and 54 yards, junior QB Mark Smith posted a career-high 142 yards on the ground against the Tigers… PSU has allowed just seven fourth-down conversions in 23 tries in 2007… Junior RB Caleb Farabi need 134 yards to crack PSU’s career rushing yards — he has 1,811 for his career.
Southwest Baptist: SBU’s last victory came against Fort Hays State in the first meeting between the school last season in Bolivar, 39-21… The Bearcats racked up 435 yards in the first meeting with the Tigers… SBU is ranked third in Division II passing offense (320.7 ypg)… SBU and FHSU have recovered 17 fumbles this season, tied for most in the MIAA (12th in Division II)… While senior WR Nick Smart leads D-II in receptions (12.11 per game), senior WR LaMarcus Windham is eighth (7.0 per game)… Freshman QB Steven Gachette is sixth in D-II total offense (304.6 ypg).
Truman: Junior QB Matt Ticich passed for 323 yards against ESU, eclipsing Don Cummings (1967-70 — 5,281) for seventh on the school’s career passing list — he now has 5,340 as a Bulldog… Before last Saturday, Truman’s last overtime game was on Homecoming 1999 — a 31-24 Bulldogs victory… Truman has won seven of the last nine games against Southern, and three of the last four in Joplin.
Washburn: The Ichabods won the last meeting with Pitt State in Topeka, 35-34 in overtime, in 2005… Senior RB Ra’Shawn Mosley became Washburn’s career rushing leader in the loss to Northwest, rushing for 101 yards on 18 carries to bring his career total to 3,186… Senior QB Jordan Brill needs 199 yards to become the Ichabods’ career passing yardage leader — Tyler Schuerman (2000-04) is the leader with 6,525… Brill also needs two passing TDs to break Schuerman’s school career mark of 53… The last time Washburn faced PSU on Nov. 3, the Ichabods lost, 21-14.