A win Saturday would clinch Northwest Missouri State its 24th MIAA championship, the second-highest tally in league history (Truman State, 26). Northwest has won four straight conference titles and 11 championships in 16 seasons under head coach Mel Tjeerdsma.

Podcast with UCM’s Jim Svoboda and NWMS’ Mel Tjeerdsma

Now, Central Missouri, under first year head coach Jim Svoboda is looking to unseat the Bearcats as the top Division II football program in the state of Missouri. The Mules are 9-1 overall, 8-0 in conference play with their lone loss coming to Division I FCS school Illinois State in which both teams scored in the 50’s.

Svoboda has a long coaching resume which includes time on Northwest’s Mel Tjeerdsma’s staff back when the Bearcats won national titles in ’98 and ’99. Svoboda was an offensive coordinator for UCLA as well and in his first season with Central Missouri, the team has bought into his program.

This has the potential to be a high scoring game on Saturday in Warrensburg. Central Missouri (first) and Northwest (second) are the two highest scoring teams and leading passing teams in the MIAA.

In three starts against Northwest, Mules quarterback Eric Czerniewski is 68-for-129 (52.7 percent) for 757 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions for a rating of 106.04. Czerniewski hasn’t had a rating below 125 in any game this season.

Bearcat QB Blake Bolles has the third-best quarterback rating in Division II this season (172.30) and second-best in Division II history (171.0). Bolles has a rating of 203.51 in four road games this season where he’s averaging 320 yards passing, 17.8 yards per completion and has 11 touchdowns against two interceptions.