Northwest Missouri State will take a perfect 14-0 record to Florence, Alabama and face Lenoir-Rhyne at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 at Braly Stadium for the NCAA Division II national championship.
The trip back to Alabama was made possible after the Bearcats beat Grand Valley State 27-13 Saturday evening at Bearcat Stadium in the semifinals. The Bearcats are making their eighth appearance in the national championship game and will be seeking their fourth title.
Despite dominating the first half, two Northwest turnovers kept the game close at 10-6. On the second play from scrimmage, Northwest fumbled at its 17. Grand Valley State turned a Northwest Missouri State lateral that was recovered by Matt Mosley into into three points after 37-yard field goal GVSU a 3-0 lead at the 12:59 mark of the first quarter.
The Laker defense forced a three and out and the offense drove 48 yards yards in eight plays followed by a 28 yard field goal to up the GVSU lead to 6-0.
Northwest Missouri State followed by going 80 yards in nine plays as sophomore QB Brady Boles ran from six yards out for the TD for a 7-6 Bearcat lead.
The Bearcats had a chance to extend the lead, but fumbled at the GVSU one yard line. Northwest later kicked a 19 yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter to complete a 10-play, 78-yard drive that made it 10-6.
In the second half, Northwest Missouri State drove 84 yards in six plays for a score on its first drive to take a 17-6 lead. A field goal later in the quarter made it 20-6 Bearcats.
GVSU put together a 77-yard touchdown drive near the end of the third quarter to make it a one score game, 20-13. In the fourth, with less than five minutes to play, the Bearcats iced the game with a 43 yard touchdown pass from Trevor Adams to Rueben Thomas.
The Lakers were a major roadblock to get past. GVSU was making their eighth semifinal appearance since 2001. The Bearcats have won 12 of their 14 games by double-digits after suffering a second-round playoff defeat last year against, 38-35 in overtime to Minnesota State-Mankato.
This will be the last of 28 straight Division II championship games in Florence. Next year the Division II title game moves to Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.
Click here for ticket and travel information to the championship game.