For the fifth straight year, the Northwest Missouri State Bearcats are playing for a national title. This afternoon they will take on the Grand Valley State Lakers in the NCAA Divsion II National title game in Florence, Alabama.Not only will this be the fifth straight appearance for the Bearcats in this game, this will be the seventh time in the last 12 years, that they will be playing for the national title. Northwest Missouri State won the championship in 1998 and 1999.
These two teams know each other very well, as they will play for the third time in the last five championship games. The last time the Bearcats beat the Lakers was in a 2007 national semifinal game.
With their appearance today, the Bearcats have set an NCAA Division II record for most appearances in a championship game. This puts Northwest Missouri State in some very elite company, as only one other program in all of college football, has ever appeared five times in a national title game.
Northwest Missouri State will be led today by three very potent offensive weapons. Quarterback Blake Bolles needs just 130 yards passing to break the single season conference record. Receiver Jake Soy leads the nation with more than 14 hundred yards and his 26 touchdown catches are the third most in NCAA Division II history. Running back LaRon Council has rushed for more than 16 hundred yards this season, including 216 in last weeks semifinal game.
The Bearcats are in this game after winning big in the first round of the playoffs against Abilene Christian. Northwest then had a close win in the second round of the playoffs, followed by a blowout win in the semifinals last week against California Univeristy of Pennsylvania.
The Lakers come into this game with playoff wins over Hillsdale, Minnesota-Duluth, and Carson-Newman.
Today’s game will kick off at noon at Braly Municipal Stadium in Florence, Alabama.