MIAA Football Report No. 6

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Only two teams are without a conference loss as the MIAA football schedule enters its third week, and both are hosting games this Saturday (Sept. 29).

The Central Missouri Mules (3-1, 2-0 MIAA), winners of three in a row, host 19th-ranked Pittsburg State (3-1, 1-1 MIAA) at Walton Stadium.

The last time these two squads met in Warrensburg back in 2005, UCM administered an 83-21 shelling to the Gorillas -- the most points given up by PSU in the modern era.

The Mules have the fourth-ranked rushing defense in NCAA Division II, allowing only 29.8 yards per game. Pittsburg State enters the game with the No. 6 rushing offense in the division at 263.5 yards per game.

The Gorillas will be trying to avoid having back-to-back MIAA losses for the first time since 2002.

No. 10 Northwest Missouri State (2-1, 2-0 MIAA) hosts Southwest Baptist (0-4, 0-2 MIAA) for the Battle of the Bearcats.

Northwest bounced back from a topsy-turvy non-conference portion of the schedule by posting decisive wins in its first two MIAA games.

SBU, with the top passing offense in the conference (296.5 -- 9th in Division II), has held a lead in the second half of every game this season, and had a fourth-quarter lead in three of them.

Missouri Western (3-1, 1-1 MIAA), which debuted in the AFCA Division II Top 25 this week at No. 24 following its win at PSU last week, also returns to its home field this week as the Griffons host Washburn (2-2, 1-1 MIAA) at Spratt Stadium.

Western averages 36.5 points per game, but will be facing an Ichabods squad which has allowed only 19.8 points per game so far in 2007 and has the No. 3 pass defense in the MIAA (105.2 Rating).

Fort Hays State (3-1, 1-1 MIAA) plays at Truman (2-2, 0-2 MIAA) for the first time in school history.

The Tigers will be aiming to avenge the 38-13 loss to the Bulldogs in their first-ever meeting last season in Hays, and be trying for their first 4-1 start since the 2000 season.

The prolific offense shown in the non-conference schedule has not been there for Truman's first two MIAA contests, as the Bulldogs have been held to 13 points in losses to the current league leaders Northwest and UCM.

Emporia State (3-1, 1-1 MIAA) plays on the road for the fourth time in five games as the Hornets head to Missouri Southern (3-1, 1-1 MIAA).

ESU's success to this point has been with the defense, allowing only 138.2 yards on the ground per game and sporting the No. 2 pass defense in the MIAA (104.3 Rating).

Southern's prolific offense (450.8 yards, 36.0 points per game) will give the Hornets a test. The Lions also are the only MIAA squad with a better pass defense rating than ESU (94.5).

Video web streams for all games are available through themiaa.tv, for a $5.95 charge per game.

DEFENSIVE TWO-POINTER FOR ESU: Emporia State sophomore CB Travis Lee scored the eighth defensive conversion in MIAA history during the Hornets' 26-12 loss at Fort Hays State Saturday (Sept. 12).

He scooped up the point-after kick blocked by senior LB Matt Demicoli and scored ESU's first-ever defensive conversion to make it 16-9 with 2:30 left in the second period.

Southwest Baptist's Tyron Stigers was the last to get a defensive conversion in the MIAA, doing so last season vs. Northwest.

NO PICKS FOR TRUMAN: The Truman Bulldogs have not thrown an interception in their first 156 pass attempts of the 2007 season.

Junior QB Matt Ticich has a string of 175 pass attempts without a pick dating back to last season. The last foe to do so was Southwest Baptist's Robert Barrow back on Nov. 4, 2006.

The league record for consecutive passes without being intercepted is 247 -- set by Central Missouri's Toby Korrodi over the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

There is no NCAA Division II or MIAA mark for passes thrown without an interception by a team to start the year. The NCAA-II record for lowest interception percentage in a season is 0.7 percent -- New Haven (Conn.) tossed just two picks in 296 pass attempts in the 1993 season.

OMON WATCH: Northwest Missouri State senior RB Xavier Omon enters this week fifth on the MIAA's career rushing list with 5,088 yards.

He needs 689 yards to pass Pittsburg State's Ronald Moore (1989-92 -- 5,776) for fourth place on the conference list.

Omon set the Northwest career scoring mark with his five touchdowns last week vs. Truman giving him 414 points -- now fifth-best in MIAA history.

He's 33 points from passing Truman's Jarrett Anderson (1993-96 -- 446) for fourth place.

THE 80-WIN CLUB: Two MIAA bench bosses have a chance to close in on the 80-win plateau as a head coach in the conference.

Willie Fritz of Central Missori tied Terry Noland (1983-96) as the most victorious coach in school history and for eighth place on the conference list by getting win No. 78 last week at Washburn.

Missouri Western's Jerry Partridge raised his victory total to 74 with last week's victory at Pitt State.

Only seven coaches have collected 80 wins in the MIAA.

Team-by-Team Notes

Central Missouri: The Mules snapped a string of 18 games without a win at home over the Gorillas with the victory in 2005 -- UCM had been 0-16-2 dating back to 1924 vs. PSU in Warrensburg... The game with the Gorillas is "Military Appreciation Day," as all military personnel (active or retired) and family members, with a military I.D. presented at the ticket window will receive free entry... With four vs. WU last week, UCM has 10 interceptions in 2007 -- tops in Division II... Head coach Willie Fritz will be aiming to set the school victories mark with a win over his alma mater (PSU '83).

Emporia State: The last three meetings between the Hornets and MSSU Lions have been decided by a total of five points and four of the last six have been decided by less than a field goal or in overtime -- ESU lost last season's meeting by a 34-33 count... The Hornets have won three in a row at Fred G. Hughes Stadium, and have not lost in regulation at MSSU since 1993... After grabbing seven interceptions in their first three games, the Hornets defense came up empty vs. Fort Hays State... Senior DB Emmanuel Howard is tied for second in Division II with an average of one interception per game.

Fort Hays State: The Tigers were limited to 210 yards of offense in their first meeting with the Truman Bulldogs, a 40-15 loss in the 2006 season finale... Senior RB Jordan Hickel had 94 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown and two-point conversion in the game... Senior QB Shane Jackson rushed for a career-high 124 yards on 15 carries vs. ESU last week... Senior DL Jason Hill, third in Division II with 1.5 sacks per game, has recorded a sack in every game in 2007... FHSU has not allowed a second-half touchdown this season, and only six points total on a pair of field goals.

Missouri Southern: After rushing for more than 240 yards in each of their first three games, the Lions were limited to 101 vs. SBU last week... Southern is now eighth in D-II rushing offense (261.3 ypg)... Senior RB Alley Broussard had 67 rushing yards on 14 carries while playing just over a quarter at SBU... The Lions snapped a four-game losing skid to the ESU Hornets with last season's road win... Senior WR Colin Bado had only two catches for 50 yards in last year's ESU game, but scored on a 14-yard run... Junior QB Adam Hinspeter passed Josh Chapman (1999-2002 -- 5,568) for second on the school's career passing yardage list -- he has 5,694.

Missouri Western: The last meeting with Washburn in St. Joseph was a 28-21 overtime win for the Griffons in 2005... Western has won the last eight meetings with the Ichabods at Spratt Stadium, dating back to 1991... The Griffons secured back-to-back wins over Pitt State for the first time since doing so in the 1983 and '84 seasons... Freshmen RBs La'Darrian Page (16 carries, 2 TDs) and Thomas Hodges (18 carries, 1 TD) each had 155 rushing yards against the Gorillas... Junior WR Cedric Houston had 217 all-purpose yards (66 rec., 55 PR, 96 KOR) vs. PSU while scoring two receiving TDs.

Northwest Missouri State: The green Bearcats have not lost to the purple Bearcats since a 21-14 setback in Mel Tjeerdsma's first season at Northwest in 1994 -- a span of 12 games... Northwest is 7-2 against SBU in Maryville, the last setback coming in 1991, 23-21... Senior QB Josh Mathews surpassed 5,000 career passing yards in the win over Truman (5,050), and needs 155 more to pass Brian Quinn (1980-84 -- 5,204) for sixth on the school's career list... Northwest is 11th in both total offense (474.0 ypg) and passing offense (286.3 ypg) in Division II this week... Senior RB Xavier Omon is second in D-II scoring (18.0 ppg).

Pittsburg State: The Gorillas are 18-2-2 all-time against Central Missouri in Warrensburg... The AFCA released its 100th Division II Coaches Poll this week and PSU is the only school to be ranked in each one since its inception in 2000... Junior TB Caleb Farabi passed 1000 career rushing yards after getting 175 and two TDs vs. Western -- he's at 1,172... Farabi's season rushing average of 159.3 ypg is sixth in D-II this week... The loss to Western was just the seventh at home in the regular season for PSU since 1985 (121-7-1)... Junior QB Mark Smith needs 229 yards to reach 2000 passing for his career.

Southwest Baptist: The 55-9 setback last season to Northwest was the largest margin of defeat for SBU in 2006... Senior WR Nick Smart leads Division II in receptions per game (10.5 per game) while senior WR LaMarcus Windham is ninth (6.8 rpg)... Freshman QB Steven Gachette is fifth in total offense average (326.5 ypg)... The Bearcats logged seven quarterback sacks vs. Southern last week, six coming in the first half --SBU is ranked fifth in sacks per game (4.25) in D-II... Smart had six catches for 102 yards in last year's meeting with Northwest.

Truman: The kickoff time for the Bulldogs' first game with the FHSU Tigers has been moved to 6:30 p.m., different than previously released schedules... Junior QB Matt Ticich passed for 197 yards and ran for 75 more in last season's meeting with Fort Hays State, tossing four TD passes among his 11 completions... Sophomore WR Vanness Emokpae, Truman's leader in receiving yardage (47.5 ypg), punted vs. Northwest last week and averaged 36.8 yards on five kicks... The Bulldogs are one of four D-II teams yet to throw an interception in '07.

Washburn: The Ichabods are searching for their third win in the last four meetings with the Griffons, after dropping five in a row from 1999-2003... Senior RB Ra'Shawn Mosley is 234 yards from passing Dino DeLisa (1983-85 -- 2,794) for second on Washburn's career rushing list... Senior QB Jordan Brill needs 62 yards to pass Joe Schartz (1993-96 -- 5,527) for second on the Ichabods' career passing yardage list... Sophomore LB Zach Watkins ranks second in Division II total tackles per game (15.5 ttpg) and is third in solo stops (7.8 stpg).

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MIAA Football Players of the Week

For the week of play ending Sept. 23

OFFENSE:
Xavier Omon, RB
Northwest Missouri State University

Omon, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound senior from Beatrice, Neb., scored a school-record-tying five rushing touchdowns, surpassed 5,000 career rushing yards and 400 career points scored in the No. 10 Bearcats' 53-6 win over Truman Saturday (Sept. 22).

He had 117 yards on 20 rushing attempts, as he became the fifth player in MIAA history to surpass 5,000 career ground yards (5,088) and eighth player to score at least 400 points (414).

He scored twice in each of the first two quarters as Northwest built a 39-6 halftime lead. Omon scored on the first drive of the third quarter, the only action he'd see in the second half.

Omon, who has rushed for 100 yards in each of his last eight games, is a graduate of Beatrice High School.

Others Nominated: Shane Jackson, QB, FHSU; Glenn Milner, RB, UCM; La'Darrian Page, RB, MWSU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Mark Smith, QB, PSU; 9/3 -- Caleb Farabi, TB, PSU; 9/10 -- Matt Ticich, QB, TSU; 9/17 -- Alley Broussard, RB, MSSU & Caleb Farabi, TB, PSU.

DEFENSE:
Jared Brawner, LB
Missouri Southern State University

Brawner, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound sophomore from Kirksville, Mo.., had eight tackles and was part of two turnovers which led to scores in Southern's 17-16, come-from-behind win at Southwest Baptist last Saturday night (Sept. 22).

He had four solo stops, and was credited with 1.5 tackles for loss. Brawner recovered a fumble on special teams which led to a first-quarter field goal, while his 46-yard interception return in the third quarter with the Lions trailing by 13 set up Southern at the SBU 45 for its first touchdown drive of the game .

Brawner is a graduate of Kirksville High School.

Others Nominated: Joey Cotten, LB, FHSU; Soane Etu, DE, MWSU; Kendall Ricketts, FS, UCM; Matt Robertson, LB, NWMSU; Zach Watkins, LB, WU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Garret Feig, DB, TSU; 9/3 -- Zach Watkins, ILB, WU; 9/10 -- Emmanuel Howard, CB, ESU; 9/17 -- Emmanuel Howard, CB, ESU.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Kendall Wright, KR/WR
Northwest Missouri State University

Wright, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound junior from Sulphur Springs, Texas, scored the No. 10 Bearcats' first touchdown on a punt return to begin a 53-6 victory over Truman in the Old Hickory Stick Game Saturday (Sept. 22).

The scoring play accounted for 47 of his 84 punt return yards on the day, and was the second punt return TD of his collegiate career.

Wright, who also had a team-high four catches for 55 yards vs. the Bulldogs, is a graduate of Sulphur Springs High School.

Others Nominated: Justin Barr, K, FHSU; Jamie Hanson, P, MWSU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Bryan Haynes, KR, FHSU; 9/3 -- Jared Witter, K/P, PSU; 9/10 -- Marcelo Velazquez, K, UCM; 9/17 -- Caleb Obert, KR/WR, NWMSU.


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