Nov 24, 2019 4:46 AM

Bearcats defeat Harding in playoff opener 7-6

Posted Nov 24, 2019 4:46 AM

MARYVILLE, Missouri - The Northwest Missouri State University football team advanced to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Division II playoffs with a 7-6 victory over the Harding Bisons at Bearcat Stadium.


Northwest (11-1 overall) moves to 30-3 all-time at home in the playoffs. It also marks the 23rd straight playoff victory at home for the Bearcats.


In a game with a minimal amount of scoring, the Bisons were able to score with a 1:14 left in the game on a six-yard keeper by quarterback Tristan Tucker. Harding head coach Paul Simmons went for the two-point conversion, but the Bearcat defense came up with yet another stop.


Coming into the matchup both defenses were rated as fierce competition as Harding ranked No. 22 in rush defense in the country and No. 13 in pass defense in the country. From Northwest's side, its rush defense ranked No. 10 and for a run-based team like Harding that causes problems.


The problems started in the first half as both teams were held in check. Harding at the end of the first half had a total of 39 rushing yards and no passing yards, and per play was averaging 1.6 yards per play. Northwest was struggling on its front as it managed 42 rushing yards and 134 passing yards for 2.8 yards per play.


Harding's lack of yards in the first half was built by the pressure of the Northwest defense, as the Bisons had their fair share of miscues. From missing reads to fumbling the ball three times, Harding couldn't muster anything which kept its offense in check with only three first-half first downs.


The only score in the first half came on the opening drive as the Bearcats went 75 yards in nine plays. Braden Wright found Kyle Raunig in the end zone with 11:57 in the first quarter. For Raunig it was his fourth catch on the year and his second touchdown.


The high-powered defenses continued to stall all momentum from both sides as the second half turned into a punting battle as the focus was on field position.


Harding managed 151 yards total in the game, as it had 119 yards in the second half. Fifty-six of those yards came on the final drive that ended in a touchdown. Northwest, on the other side, managed just 29 yards in the second half (9 rushing, 20 passing).


One of the biggest plays of the half came when Harding went for it on fourth and three from the 49-yard line. Harding's quarterback Robert Wilcke fumbled the snap and was hit immediately by Spencer Phillips and Andy Hessler.


Though that was one of the biggest plays, the most critical play of the game came in the closing moments of the game.


After a 21-yard rush, the Bison were given a quality field position at the Bearcat 32 with 4:40 left in the game. Harding gained another set of downs and had 2:30 on the clock to score from the 14-yard line. The clock continued to click down, as Bisons were able to score with 1:14 left in the game to make the score 7-6 in favor of Northwest, but Harding went for the victory. They ran a toss to the right side and was met by a crowd of Northwest defenders to keep the Bearcats on top, 7-6.


Harding tried to recover the onside kick but was unable to grab it. This allowed the Bearcats to kneel out the clock and escape with a 7-6 victory over the Bisons.

 

Northwest will be at home next Saturday against Lindenwood in the second round of the playoffs. The start time will be determined Monday. Lindenwood defeated Ouachita Baptist, 41-38. Online ticket sales will begin Sunday at 5 p.m. for Saturday's contest vs. Lindenwood. In-person ticket sales will begin Monday at 8 a.m. at the Administration Building on the Northwest campus. In-person ticket sales will close at the end of business on Tuesday with the Northwest campus being closed for Thanksgiving. On Saturday, Nov. 30, ticket sales and gates will open 90 minutes prior to kick. Stadium gates will also open 90 minutes prior to the game vs. Lindenwood. 


Notes: Northwest added to its Division II playoff win record with its 49th all-time playoff victory … Northwest is 49-17 in the playoffs … Harding falls to 5-6 all-time in the playoffs with three of the losses coming at Northwest … Northwest’s Brody Buck recorded a sack of Harding for only the fifth sack this season allowed by the Bisons … Harding was limited to nine first downs … Northwest was held to a season-low 51 rushing yards … the game featured zero turnovers … Braden Wright passed for 154 yards on 16-of-28 passing with a touchdown … Alec Tatum tallied a team-high five receptions for 63 yards … Brody Buck notched a career-high 13 tackles … Jackson Barnes totaled 12 tackles … Zach Howard posted a team-high two tackles-for-loss … Harding won the time of possession battle, 34:41 to 25:19.


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Nov 24, 2019 4:46 AM
Kansas State hangs on to win at Texas Tech 30-27

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Joshua Youngblood returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Skylar Thompson passed for 246 yards and two touchdowns as Kansas State beat Texas Tech 30-27 on Saturday night.


Youngblood fielded the kickoff one yard deep in the end zone midway through the third quarter, ran up the right side and covered the final 40 yards running just inches inside the right sideline, eluding multiple defenders.


Blake Lynch kicked two 32-yard field goals and a 43-yarder for Kansas State (7-4, 4-4 Big 12), which snapped a two-game losing streak.


Thompson's touchdown passes were 14 yards to Phillip Brooks in the third quarter and 48 yards to Chabastin Taylor midway in the fourth quarter.


SaRodorick Thompson had a 5-yard touchdown run and Jett Duffey passed for 334 yards and two touchdowns for Texas Tech (4-7, 2-6) which fell short of bowl eligibility. Duffey's touchdown passes were 21 yards to Erik Ezukanma and 58 yards to R.J. Turner. Trey Wolff kicked field goals of 44 and 27 yards for the Red Raiders.


Youngblood, a freshman who went into play leading the conference averaging 29.5 yards per kickoff return, had a 98-yarder for a touchdown against Texas on Nov. 9. Kansas State has returned three kickoffs for touchdowns this season.


THE TAKEAWAY


Kansas State: The Wildcats rebounded nicely following last week's home loss against West Virginia after which some players said they took the Mountaineers lightly.


Texas Tech: The Red Raiders aren't going to a bowl for the second straight season. That hasn't happened since the 1990-92 seasons in the Southwest Conference under Spike Dykes.


UP NEXT


Kansas State: Will host Iowa State next Saturday.


Texas Tech: Will finish its season Friday at Texas, where it has won on its last two trips.


--- Associated Press ---