MIAA Football Report No. 4

For immediate release, Sept. 11, 2007
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- After three weeks of non-conference action, the MIAA squads are ready to do battle amongst each other, and the first Saturday (Sept. 15) of league play includes a U.S. Cellular Miner's Bowl match-up of undefeated squads.

The sixth-ranked Pittsburg State Gorillas (2-0, 0-0 MIAA), fresh from an idle weekend after defeating a pair of Lone Star Conference foes, heads to Joplin to face Missouri Southern (2-0, 0-0 MIAA).

It is the 40th all-time meeting between the schools and the 22nd in which the Miner's Bowl trophy has been on the line. PSU has held the trophy all but one season (1993) since its inception in 1986.

Another rivalry game involving a nationally-ranked squad has No. 11 Northwest Missouri State (0-1, 0-0 MIAA) heading south to face undefeated Missouri Western (2-0, 0-0 MIAA).

The Griffons just missed cracking the top 25 this week, while the Bearcats tumbled nine spots from No. 2 after their loss at Nebraska-Omaha last week. Northwest has won nine of the last 11 meetings, and four of the last five played in St. Joseph.

The MIAA will have one of the four featured video webcasts this week as part of the CSTV/NCAA Division II football package. The game with undefeated Truman (2-0, 0-0 MIAA) going to Central Missouri (1-1, 0-0 MIAA) will be available free of charge by going to http://www.cstv.com/ncaa/divii.

The Bulldogs snapped a five-game losing skid to the Mules during last season's meeting with a 24-21 home victory at Stokes Stadium.

The stingy defense exhibited so far by the undefeated Emporia State Hornets (2-0, 0-0 MIAA) looks to be tested when Southwest Baptist (0-2, 0-0 MIAA) comes to Welch Stadium.

In spite of their record, the Bearcats have averaged 444.5 yards of offense this season -- 314.5 through the air. Meanwhile, ESU has five interceptions this season and has allowed only 10 total points in two games.

Fort Hays State (2-0, 0-0 MIAA) takes its act on the road for the first time this season, when the Tigers head down I-70 to take on Washburn (1-1, 0-0 MIAA).

Each has a common opponent this season in Colorado Mines -- FHSU defeated the Orediggers, 34-10, last week while the Ichabods won at CSM, 27-7, on Sept. 1 before taking last weekend off.

Streaming video webcasts of all games besides the Truman/UCM pairing will be available through http://www.themiaa.tv. The charge to view a game is $5.95.

TICICH SETS MIAA PASSING MARK: Truman junior QB Mark Ticich knocked a former Bulldogs off the top of the MIAA single-game passing yardage list with his efforts in a 55-31 home win over Upper Iowa.

He threw for 493 yards -- 14 more than Jake Czeschin did in a 2004 meeting between Truman and Northwest Missouri State.

Ticich, the top rushing quarterback in the MIAA last season (61.6 ypg), added 23 yards on the ground to become the second MIAA player to record 500 yards of offense (516). Only total offense record-holder Jake Chapman of Missouri Southern (533 vs. Washburn in 2002) has accumulated more yards in a game than Ticich did vs. the Peacocks.

VELAZQUEZ GETS HIS KICKS: Central Missouri sophomore K Marcelo Velazquez nearly joined Ticich in entering the MIAA record book last Saturday (Sept. 8) in the Mules' 56-21 win over Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.).

He tallied 18 points on 4-of-4 field goals and 6-of-6 extra-point kicks. The 18 points was one short of matching the MIAA record of 19, set in 1985 by UCM's Steve Huff, who made a league-record six field goals and added a PAT for 19 points vs. Southeast Missouri State.

Velazquez's four field goals are the most by a Mules kicker since 1989 -- Phil Brandt had four vs. Lincoln (Mo.).

LEE GOES COAST-TO-COAST: Emporia State sophomore CB Travis Lee became the first MIAA player in nearly 35 years to record a 100-yard interception return during the Hornets' 17-7 win at Central Oklahoma Saturday night (Sept. 8).

With ESU up, 7-0, in the second quarter after a 40-yard INT return by senior CB Emmanuel Howard, Lee picked off a Broncho pass and went from goalline to goalline with it.

Lincoln's Bruce Johnson was the first to do so, back on Nov. 23, 1972 against Missouri-Rolla.

OMON WATCH: Northwest Missouri State senior RB Xavier Omon enters this week fifth on the MIAA's career rushing list with 4,851 yards.

He needs 149 yards to join the MIAA's 5,000-yard club. Omon now is 926 yards away from passing Pittsburg State's Ronald Moore (1989-92 -- 5,776) for fourth place on the conference list.

Omon starts the week tied with Pitt State's Darren Dawson (1989-91) for ninth on the MIAA career scoring list with 366 points. He needs 18 points to tie Central Missouri's Kegan Coleman (2001-04 -- 384) for eighth 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.

With 76 wins, Willie Fritz of UCM is two away from tying Terry Noland (1983-96) as the most victorious coach in UCM history and for eighth place on the conference list.

Missouri Western head coach Jerry Partridge passed Southeast Missouri State's Abe Stuber (1932-46) for sole possession of 10th on the all-time wins list with 73 with the Griffons' win at Minnesota-Duluth.

Team-by-Team Notes

Central Missouri: Since 1966, UCM has a 10-11-1 record against the Bulldogs when playing them in Warrensburg... The Mules held Concordia-St. Paul to minus-4 yards of rushing, lowering their season average to 3.0 yapg (4th in D-II)... Sophomore K Marcelo Velazquez is tied for fifth in D-II field goals made average (2.0 per game)... Senior P Matt Frankel has averaged 42.8 yards per punt -- ranking him eighth in D-II this week... The Mules are 10th in Division II turnover margin (+2.5 per game).

Emporia State: The Hornets have won the last five meetings vs. SBU at Welch Stadium, and are 6-2 against the Bearcats in Emporia... ESU started a season with two road wins for the first time since 1997, and the first time the Hornets have done so by holding their foes to less than 10 points since at least 1949... ESU is tied for fifth in Division II scoring defense (5.0 papg)... Sophomore CB Travis Lee's 100-yard interception return broke the ESU record of 95 yards set by Kelly Nusser in 1983 vs. Fort Hays State.

Fort Hays State: The Tigers are looking for their first win over Washburn in Topeka since 1985 (FHSU has lost its last four games at Moore Bowl, the most recent in 2003)... FHSU is ninth in Division II scoring defense (6.5 papg)... After dropping Colorado Mines passers seven times last week, the Tigers are tied for third in quarterback sacks per game in D-II (6.0)... Senior RB Jordan Hickel is second only to Jamar Brittingham of Bloomsburg (Pa.) in scoring average for D-II this week (18.0 ppg)... Junior WR Brian Haynes is fourth in D-II kickoff return average (43.3 ypr)

Missouri Southern: The Lions are looking for their first home win over PSU since 1993 -- a span of six meetings at Fred G. Hughes Stadium... Junior QB Adam Hinspeter tossed four touchdown passes among his 17 completions against Harding (Ark.) last week... Senior WR Colin Bado, held without a catch for the first time since the second game of his freshman year, caught six vs. the Bisons for 95 yards and 2 TDs... The Lions are seventh in Division II with an average of 525 yards total offense per game... Senior transfer RB Alley Broussard made his Lions debut vs. Harding, rushing for 110 yards on 10 carries with one TD.

Missouri Western: The Griffons have won 10 in a row at Spratt Memorial Stadium since a 31-21 loss to Northwest Missouri State in 2005... Freshman QB Drew Newhart was 11-of-22 for 221 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception vs. Minnesota-Duluth last week... The two TD catches by sophomore WR Cedric Houston accounted for 105 of his 118 receiving yards (he 13 yards on his other two grabs)... Senior LB Jacob Schoonover forced two fumbles vs. UMD, one which was returned for a score by Ahmad Griffin to put MWSU up, 14-0... Western's defense has forced 10 turnovers in two games.

Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats are playing with a ranking other than No. 2 since the national championship game of 2005 (No. 21)... Northwest's last loss in an MIAA opener on the road came at Missouri Western in 1993 (21-14)... With his 115 rushing yards vs. Nebraska-Omaha, senior RB Xavier Omon has cracked triple figures in rushing for the sixth straight game... Senior QB Josh Mathews, who left the UNO game late with an injury, is ranked eighth in Division II pass efficiency (182.3 Ratiing)... Before leaving the game, Mathews surpassed 250 passing yards for the seventh time in his career (254)... Senior TE Mike Peterson had a career-best 82-yard catch vs. UNO.

Pittsburg State: The Gorillas have a 14-6 record against the Southern Lions in games at Joplin.... Junior QB Mark Smith passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 106 yards and two scores the last time PSU and MSSU played... Smith tied the MIAA record for longest pass completion with a 99-yard connection to Bryan Pray in the last meeting... Pitt State lost its last MIAA road opener, a 48-35 setback at Missouri Western in 2006... The Gorillas have allowed only one sack in their first two games.

Southwest Baptist: The Bearcats held a 14-7 third-quarter lead on Division I FCS (formerly I-AA) Southeast Missouri State before the RedHawks rallied for the win... SBU out-gained Southeast, 356-348, but four turnovers helped derail an upset bid... Freshman QB Steven Gachette is fourth in Division II total offense (354.0 ypg) and eighth in average passing yards (314.5 ypg)... As a team, SBU is ninth in D-II passing offense (314.5 ypg)... Senior WR Nick Smart is tied for second in D-II receptions (9.5 per game) after being one of three SBU pass catchers with five grabs last week.

Truman: Junior QB Matt Ticich had seven completions vs. Upper Iowa which went for at least 25 yards, the longest being a 50-yard hook-up with sophomore WR Vaness Emokpae -- he had two of the other six and finished with seven grabs for 170 yards and a TD... The 653 yards of offense by Truman vs. UIU was just 13 shy of tying the school record of 676, set in 1982 vs. Minnesota State-Mankato... Senior RB Jake Cunningham rushed for 203 yards and two TDs (one a 67-yard gallop) in last season's meeting with UCM... The Bulldogs went 3-of-5 on fourth-down conversions last season vs. the Mules.

Washburn: The Ichabods are 8-10 in MIAA season openers since joining the league, having won their last three... The last meeting with FHSU in Topeka was when the newly-opened Yager Stadium debuted and WU claimed an unusual 28-4 win... Senior QB Jordan Brill needs 347 yards to move into fourth place on WU's career passing list -- he has 5,090 yards with the Ichabods... In last season's meeting with the Tigers, the Ichabod defense limited FHSU to 1-of-17 on third-down conversions... Former WU DL Trey Lewis recorded one tackle in his NFL debut with the Atlanta Falcons in a 24-3 loss at Minnesota Sunday (Sept. 9).

MIAA Football Players of the Week

For the week of play ending Sept. 9

Matt Ticich, QB
Truman State University

Ticich (pronounced TEE-sich), a 6-foot-0, 199-pound junior from Temecula, Calif., set the MIAA's single-game passing yardage mark in the Bulldogs' 55-31 win over Upper Iowa Saturday night (Sept. 8).

He was 29-of-43 for 493 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions through the air. That was better than former Bulldog Jake Czeschin's 479 yards against Northwest Missouri State in 2004.

Ticich also added 23 rushing yards to become the second player in MIAA history with 500 yards of offense in a game (516). He connected with 11 different receivers.

Ticich is a graduate of Chaparral High School, and transferred to Truman from Mount San Jacinto (Calif.) College after his freshman season.

Others Nominated: Adam Hinspeter, QB, MSSU; Cedric Houston, WR, MWSU; Josh Mathews, QB, NWMSU; Ryne Salyer, QB, FHSU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Mark Smith, QB, PSU; 9/3 -- Caleb Farabi, TB, PSU.

Emmanuel Howard, CB
Emporia State University

Howard, a 6-foot-1, 203-pound senior from Indianapolis, Ind., had two interceptions, one returned for a score, in the Hornets' 17-7 win at Central Oklahoma Saturday night (Sept. 8).

He made a leaping grab in the end zone for his first pick on the Bronchos' opening drive of the game. Later in the first quarter, Howard teamed with Daniel Webb on a tackle for loss which forced a punt with UCO in ESU territory.

His second interception came on the third play after Hornets QB Ben Purkeypile had lost the ball on a fumble, and he took it 40 yards for the game's first TD.

He made a touchdown-saving stop just before Travis Lee's 100-yard interception return later in the second stanza.

Howard, who had four tackles for the game, is a graduate of Den Davis High School and transferred to ESU from William Penn (Iowa) College after his freshman season.

Others Nominated: Chris LeFlore, CB, NWMSU; Rudy Mascaro, LB, MSSU; Jacob Schoonover, LB, MWSU; Zach Scruggs, LB, FHSU; Kyle Supianoski, LB, TSU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Garret Feig, DB, TSU; 9/3 -- Zach Watkins, ILB, WU.

Marcelo Velazquez, K
University of Central Missouri

Velazquez, a 6-foot-1, 225-pound sophomore from Blue Springs, Mo., was one point from equalling the MIAA single-game kick scoring record in the Mules' 56-21 win over Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) Saturday (Sept. 8).

He was 4-of-4 on field goals, including two from 33 yards, and was 6-of-6 on point-after kicks. Velazquez scored 11 of UCM's 23 first-half points on three field goals and two PATs.

He is a graduate of Blue Springs High School, and transferred to UCM from Truman State University following his freshman season.

Others Nominated: Justin Barr, K, FHSU; Dallas Flynn, DE, NWMSU; Brian Malette, K, MSSU; Mickey Masucci, K/P, TSU; Dustin Strickler, K, MWSU; Johnny Torres, K/P, ESU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Bryan Haynes, KR, FHSU; 9/3 -- Jared Witter, K/P, PSU.

-- MIAA --

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