Chase Vogler’s 34-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-2 with 4:12 remaining in the fourth quarter was the difference in top-ranked Minnesota Duluth’s 17-13 win against Northwest Missouri State Saturday at Malosky Stadium. The Bulldogs advance to play Delta State for the national championship next Saturday in Florence, Ala.
The Bulldogs (14-0) trailed 13-3 early in the second half before rallying for the win. Vogler was injured and sat out on a touchdown drive that closed the gap to 13-10. Duluth forced a Northwest punt and went 80 yards for the game-winning score.
Northwest (12-2) scored both of its touchdowns on fourth-down conversions. Jordan Simmons caught a 14-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter that gave the Bearcats a 6-3 halftime lead. Simmons capped the opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown run that made it 13-3.
Minnesota Duluth safety Cody Eich entered Saturday’s contest with one interception all season, but picked off two Blake Bolles passes in the first half. Bolles’ third interception of the game followed Duluth’s go-ahead score. The Bearcats earned one final possession, but were stopped on fourth down near midfield with 1:18 remaining.
The two teams battled the elements as well as each other. The wind chill was zero at kickoff and got colder as the game continued. Gusts of 25-30 miles per hour also played havoc on the kicking game. Todd Adolf hit the right upright on the extra point attempt following Northwest’s first touchdown.
Simmons carried 13 times for 39 yards and caught four passes for 25. Bolles completed 19-of-29 passes for 141 yards. Duluth ran 56 times for 226 yards and two scores. Vogler led the way with 101 yards rushing. The Bulldogs completed four passes in the game for 28 yards.