Senior quarterback Blake Christopher’s 21-yard completion to Jake Soy on third and 11 in Northwest Missouri State’s first drive of the game set the tone early. The Bearcats then capitalized on four turnovers in the second quarter to retain “The Ol’ Hickory Stick” against the Truman State University (Mo.) Bulldogs 65-3 at Stokes Stadium on Thursday night.

The Bearcats brought a new head coach, a new starting quarterback and nine new starters on defense. In addition, the numerous red hats worn by Northwest fans to pay tribute to Scott Bostwick was a reminder of his tragic heart attack that took his life and prevented him from leading the Bearcats. “I had to gain my composure a little bit right before we talked to the team,” Dorrel said. “I kept thinking about Scott. I know one of his first things when he took over was September 1st beat Truman State. It was very important to him. It was important to our kids. I was proud of our kids. I felt like they got off to a good start. We made some good plays early and it kind of snowballed on Truman.”

The Central Missouri passing attack picked up where it left off last season and rolled to a 42-24 season-opening win over Missouri Southern in front of 9,147 fans at Walton Stadium/Kennedy Field on Thursday night. Tommy Corwin tied the school and MIAA record with six touchdown passes on the night as the Mules racked up 452 yards in total offense.

Missouri Western struggled in its 2011 season opener falling 34-7 against Pittsburg State University. The Griffons fell at home in a season opener for the first time since August 26, 2004 when they fell 27-10 against 18th ranked Winona State. Pittsburg State dominated early outgaining the Griffons 229 to 84 in total yardage. The Gorillas put up 14 points in the first and second quarter taking a 28-0 lead at the half.