MARYVILLE, Missouri – The Northwest Missouri State University football team celebrated a happy Homecoming with a 27-13 triumph over the University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers at Bearcat Stadium Saturday.
Northwest improved to 6-1 overall and took over sole possession of first place in the MIAA standings, while Nebraska-Kearney fell to 4-3 overall.
Northwest jumped out all over Nebraska-Kearney with 21 points in the first quarter. Marqus Andrews caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Braden Wright less than three minutes into the game. Northwest upped the lead to 14-0 on a 1-yard run by Wright on a 4th-and-goal with 6:36 left in the quarter.
The Bearcats put the finishing touches on a 21-0 lead when they reached into their bag of tricks. Wide receiver LaTroy Harper took a backwards pass from Wright and threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Brody McMahon with 2:01 left in the first quarter. Northwest racked up 252 yards of total offense in the opening 15 minutes. Northwest had eight first downs in the first quarter while limiting UNK to one first down and 18 total yards.
Nebraska-Kearney snapped one of the more interesting streaks in college football in the second quarter when the Lopers scored a rushing touchdown against the Northwest defense. It marked the first time in 19 games that Northwest had allowed a rushing score when UNK quarterback Alex McGinnis scored on a 3-yard keeper around the left side. The extra point hit the upright to cut the Northwest lead to 21-6 with 4:31 left in the half. Northwest had not given up a rushing touchdown since Dec. 10, 2016, when Ferris State scored in an NCAA Div. II playoff semifinal.
UNK pulled to within one score at 21-13 when McGinnis scored on a 5-yard rushing touchdown on a 4th-and-goal with 10:36 left in in the game.
UNK attempted an onside on the ensuing kickoff, but the Bearcats recovered and turned the short field into a scoring opportunity. The Bearcat drive stalled inside the 5-yard line after a 24-yard scramble by Wright. Placekicker Parker Sampson booted a 21-yard field goal to up the lead to 24-13 with 7:15 left in the game.
A Trent Nally interception ended UNK’s next possession and resulted in another score for the Bearcats. Sampson drilled a 39-yard field goal to complete the scoring and give Northwest a 27-13 advantage.
Nally nabbed his second interception with 2:35 left in the game, this time it came inside the Bearcat 20-yard line and effectively sealed the triumph for the Bearcats.
Northwest’s Jack Richards was recognized following the game as the Don Black Award winner. Richards posted a team-high 12 tackles. The Don Black Award is given to the MVP of the Homecoming game.
Northwest will be in action next Saturday at Lindenwood. Kick is set for 1 p.m. in St. Charles, Missouri.
NOTES: Marqus Andrews caught his second career touchdown pass in the first quarter on a 26-yard strike from Braden Wright – his previous touchdown reception came against Northeastern State on Oct. 15, 2016 … Wright has rushed for a team-best seven rushing touchdowns this season … UNK had 15 first downs, while Northwest has 12 first downs … Josh Caldwell led Northwest in rushing with 61 yards on 15 carries … Wright passed for 177 yards on 13-of-26 passing … Cody Massey tallied four receptions for 68 yards, while Shawn Bane Jr. had four receptions for 56 yards, including a 50-yard catch … Brody McMahon had one catch for 67 yards and a touchdown … Ben Althoff recorded Northwest’s only sack of the game.
— Northwest Athletics —