A showdown of perennial MIAA football rivals lived up to expectations, Saturday, as two nationally ranked Division II teams locked horns at Bearcat Stadium in Maryville. The #2 ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcats hosted the #16 ranked Missouri Western Griffons in a battle of undefeated schools. Both sides were 3-0 heading into the match-up. In the end, Northwest Missouri State moved to 4-0, thanks to a 41-yard Tommy Frevert field goal with 4:16 left in the game. It broke a 21-21 tie and gave the Bearcats a 24-21 victory. A crowd of 8,939 was on hand for the contest, the fourth largest ever to see a game on the Maryville campus.
After a scoreless 1st quarter, the Bearcats struck first in the 2nd as Josh Mathews fired a 6-yard pass to Josh Gannon. Running back Xavier Oman then scored the first of his two touchdowns on the day on a 1-yard run. Oman entered the game needing 4 yards to become the Bearcats’ all-time all-games rushing leader. He picked up 144 yards, Saturday, giving him a career total of 3,676. He moves ahead of David Jansen in the career yards category.
With 1:39 to go in the 2nd quarter, Jarrett Brooks scored on a 39-yard pass from running back Jeremiah White to bring the Griffons to within a converted touchdown as the teams broke for the half.
In the 3rd quarter, Xavier Oman scored the second of his TDs, also on a 1-yard run, putting the Bearcats up 21-7. The Griffons then scored a pair of majors. Jeremiah White hit paydirt on a 5-yard run. Just over three minutes later, Matt Landess connected on a 26-yard pass to Joey Harris. Dustin Stricker, who was 3 for 3 on extra points for Missouri Western, tied the game at 21.
The game remained tied until Tommy Frevert, who had kicked 3 extra points for Northwest Missouri State, but had missed an earlier field goal attempt, capped an 11-play, 28-yard drive with a 41-yard field goal to put the Bearcats on top to stay.
Both teams get back into action on Saturday. The 4-0 Bearcats travel to Joplin to play Missouri Southern, while the Griffons host Truman State in St. Joseph.