MIAA Football Report No. 5

For immediate release, Sept. 18, 2007

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Just three games into the season and only two squads are sporting unblemished records -- seventh-ranked Pittsburg State (3-0, 1-0 MIAA) and Emporia State (3-0, 1-0 MIAA).

The Gorillas will play the first of their three home conference games -- they are the home team this season for the Fall Classic at Arrowhead -- Saturday afternoon (Sept. 22) when Missouri Western (2-1, 0-1 MIAA) comes calling for Family Day.

Pitt State lost last season's meeting with the Griffons, 48-35, and it was likely a factor in allowing Western and not the Gorillas to make the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2006.

The Hornets will be on the road to take on Fort Hays State (2-1, 0-1 MIAA) Saturday night. Emporia State won last year's clash, 48-10 -- the first conference game with FHSU since the 1990 season.

Emporia State is seeking to go 4-0 to start a season for the first time since 2003.

The 10th-ranked Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (1-1, 1-0 MIAA) will be hosting Truman (2-1, 0-1 MIAA) for the annual battle for the Old Hickory Stick.

The Bearcats retained the green tip on the stick by handing the Bulldogs a 31-10 setback last season -- the fifth consecutive win in the series for Northwest.

Washburn (2-1, 1-0 MIAA) entertains Central Missouri (2-1, 1-0 MIAA) in the only game between teams that won their league opener last week.

The Ichabods handed the Mules their first loss of the 2006 season in their last meeting -- a 14-10 decision in Warrensburg. UCM is allowing only 18.7 rushing yards per game -- fourth-lowest average in Division II this week.

The conference's top rushing offense and leading passing offense will do battle in Bolivar, as Missouri Southern (2-1, 0-1 MIAA) takes on the host Southwest Baptist Bearcats (0-3, 0-1 MIAA).

The Lions average 314 yards on the ground per game (third in NCAA Division II), while SBU throws for 299 yards per game (10th in D-II).

The Bearcats, playing their home opener after three straight road games to start the campaign, will be facing the MIAA's top passing defense (83.4 Rating).

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

HOWARD STRIKES AGAIN: Emporia State senior CB Emmanuel Howard returned an interception for a touchdown for the second time in as many games in the Hornets' 35-28 win over Southwest Baptist last Saturday (Sept. 15).

He became the 10th player in MIAA history to record two interception return TDs in a season -- the first since Washburn's Fletcher Terrell did the deed in 2005.

NO PICKS FOR TRUMAN: The Truman Bulldogs have not thrown an interception in their first 116 pass attempts of the 2007 season.

Junior QB Matt Ticich has a string of 144 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 4,971 yards.

He needs 29 yards to join the MIAA's 5,000-yard club. Omon now is 806 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 Central Missouri's Kegan Coleman (2001-04) for eighth on the MIAA career scoring list with 384 points.

He needs 16 points to tie David Purnell for the school record at Northwest with 400 points -- 18 will allow him to pass Purnell and Pitt State's Nathan Alleman (2003-06) for sole possession of sixth 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 77 wins, Willie Fritz of UCM is one 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 10th on the all-time MIAA wins list with the Griffons' victory at Minnesota-Duluth being No. 73.

Team-by-Team Notes

Central Missouri: The Mules had won eight in a row over Washburn before dropping the last two games in the series... UCM has intercepted seven passes this season -- only seven D-II schools have more... Sophomore QB Stinson Dean entered the game in the fourth quarter last week vs. Truman in relief of sophomore starter Eric Czerniewski (who was nursing a sore thumb on his throwing hand) and guided the Mules on three TD drives, going 5-of-6 through the air for 62 yards.

Emporia State: The Hornets have wins in 12 of the last 16 meetings against Fort Hays State... This will mark the 50th consecutive season that ESU has played FHSU, making it the Hornets' longest continuously-played rivalry -- at 80 games it ranks third behind Washburn (103) and Pittsburg State (87) on the school's most-played series... Last week's 21-point rally for a win over SBU snapped a seven-game MIAA losing skid for ESU... Junior WR Sean Partridge had four plays from scrimmage longer than 20 yards -- a 21-yard rush and receptions of 38, 70 and 37 yards, the last tying the game at 28-28 with 5:19 left.

Fort Hays State: The Tigers will be aiming to snap a six-game skid overall to ESU and a five-game skid at Lewis Field Stadium... Senior RB Jordan Hickel is 41 yards shy of passing Steve Crosby (1970-73 -- 2,780) for fourth place on FHSU's career rushing list... Hickel is tied for seventh in D-II scoring average (12.0 ppg)... The Tigers have recovered seven fumbles so far this season -- only three schools have more in D-II... Junior DB Bryan Haynes is fourth in kickoff return average (37.5 ypr) and senior K Justin Barr is tied for fourth in field goals made per game (1.7).

Missouri Southern: With 944 rushing yards in three games this season, the Lions have surpassed their ground total for all of 2006 (934)... Southern is chasing its fifth win in their last six meetings with SBU -- the Lions last fell to the Bearcats in 2003, 28-6... With 37 yards on five catches vs. Pitt State last week, senior WR Colin Bado became the third Lion with 2000 career receiving yards... Junior QB Adam Hinspeter needs 120 yards to pass Josh Chapman (1999-2002 -- 5,568) for second on the school's career passing yardage list -- he set MSSU's career completions mark vs. PSU with 487 -- three better than Chapman's 484.

Missouri Western: The Griffons had a 10-game home win streak snapped with the loss to Northwest... Western has not defeated the Gorillas in Pittsburg since 1984 -- a span of 11 games... The Griffons snapped a five-game losing skid with last season's win over PSU... Junior P Jamie Hanson is 12th in Division II with his 41.9 yards per punt average... The 9,007 fans at the Northwest game set a Spratt Stadium attendance record... Junior K Dustin Strickler has made 43 consecutive point-after kicks.

Northwest Missouri State: The Bearcats are seeking their sixth consecutive win over Truman in the Old Hickory Stick series -- it would be the longest such streak for Northwest since the trophy was instituted in 1931... The win at Western was the 13th in a row on the road for the Bearcats in MIAA games... The last time Northwest trailed in an MIAA game was against Pittsburg State in the 2005 season... After his first collegiate start, junior QB Joel Osborn is 12th in Division II with a 167.1 pass efficiency rating... The Bearcats are 11th in D-II passing offense (289.0 ypg) and ninth in team pass efficiency (173.3 Rating).

Pittsburg State: The Gorillas had a five-game winning streak over Western snapped with last season's 48-35 loss to the Griffons... In the 2006 game, junior QB Mark Smith had three rushing TDs and passed for a fourth -- he accumulated 280 yards of offense vs. Western... Senior WR Pierce Curran needs 24 receiving yards for 1,000 in his PSU career... The Gorillas are ninth in Division II rushing averaged (266.7 ypg), with junior TB Caleb Farabi ranked 10th individually (154.0 ypg).

Southwest Baptist: SBU and Southern last played in Bolivar during the 2004 season -- the Bearcats dropped a 26-22 decision... Two of the Bearcats' three wins over the Lions have been at Plaster Stadium... Senior WR Nick Smart surpassed 2,000 career receiving yards with his 14-reception, 125-yard effort at ESU last week -- he has 2,005 yards on 168 catches (11.9 ypr)... Smart is second in D-II this week at 11.0 receptions per game, while senior WR LaMarcus Windham is ranked sixth (7.3 rpg)... Freshman QB Steven Gachette is fifth in total offense in Division II (330.0 ypg).

Truman: Since the Old Hickory Stick became the focal point of the series in 1931, the Bulldogs have a 42-26-4 advantage over Northwest, including a 20-14-1 record in Maryville... The Old Hickory Stick is Division II's oldest "Trophy Game"... Truman is one of eight D-II schools yet to throw an interception this season... Junior QB Matt Ticich was sacked four times in the loss at Central Missouri -- he'd only been dropped once in the two preceding games... The loss to the Mules extended Truman's string of dropping MIAA openers to seven.

Washburn: The Ichabods are seeking their third victory in a row over the Mules -- their longest win streak over UCM since winning four straight from 1961-64... A win over UCM will make WU 2-0 in MIAA play for the fourth straight season... Senior RB Ra'Shawn Mosley is 1 yard shy of 2,500 career rushing yards... Senior QB Jordan Brill needs 51 yards to pass Mike Atkins (1977-80 -- 5,437) for third on WU's career passing list... Brill would have had his fifth career 300-yard passing game vs. FHSU, had he not caught a batted ball for a 4-yard loss... Sophomore LB Zach Watkins is ranked fourth in D-II in total tackles (14.0 ttpg), and third in solo stops (7.7 per game).

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MIAA Football Players of the Week

For the week of play ending Sept. 15

OFFENSE:
Alley Broussard, RB, Missouri Southern State University &
Caleb Farabi, TB, Pittsburg State University

Broussard, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound senior from Lafayette, La., rushed for 172 yards and four touchdowns in Southern's 31-28 loss to No. 6 Pittsburg State Saturday night (Sept. 15).

He had 24 carries as he accounted for all of MSSU's touchdowns on scoring runs of 67, 1, 2 and 2 yards. The last two came in the fourth quarter as the Lions' tried to rally for the win.

The 172 yards is his second-highest single-game rushing total, behind a 250-yard effort against Mississippi in 2004 as a sophomore at Louisiana State University.

Broussard is a graduate of Acadiana High School, and transferred to MSSU from LSU following his junior season.

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Farabi, a 5-7, 178-pound junior from Pittsburg, Kan., had 179 rushing yards and two scores in the PSU win at Missouri Southern.

The 179 yards on 26 carries is a career-high (his third in three games), and Farabi added 43 yards on four catches to end up with 222 all-purpose yards -- also a career-best.

His scoring runs of 12 yards in the third quarter and 40 yards in the fourth gave the Gorillas 17-point leads on each occasion.

Farabi is a graduate of St. Mary's-Colgan High School.

Others Nominated: Jake Lebahn, WR, WU; Andrew Mead, WR, MWSU; Glenn Milner, RB, UCM; Joel Osborn, QB, NWMSU; Sean Partridge, WR, ESU.

Previous Winners: 8/27 -- Mark Smith, QB, PSU; 9/3 -- Caleb Farabi, TB, PSU; 9/10 -- Matt Ticich, QB, TSU.

DEFENSE:
Emmanuel Howard, CB
Emporia State University

Howard, a 6-foot-1, 203-pound senior from Indianapolis, Ind., had two interceptions for the second time in as many games -- including his second for a touchdown in that span -- as the Hornets claimed a 35-28 win over Southwest Baptist Saturday (Sept. 15).

His 41-yard return for a TD in the second quarter gave ESU a 14-7 lead.
The other pick came with 2:41 to go in the game, on the Bearcats' first play from scrimmage after the Hornets took the lead for good. ESU held SBU to 99 second-half yards.

He had six tackles (four solo), and teamed with senior FS Jake Richter on a tackle for loss.

Howard, the 10th player in MIAA history with two TD returns on picks in a season, is a graduate of Den Davis High School and transferred to ESU from William Penn (Iowa) College after his freshman season.

Others Nominated: Jared Erspamer, LB, NWMSU; Seth Hane, LB, MWSU; Lavarus Rue, CB, SBU; Adrian Singletary, LB, UCM; Zach Watkins, LB, WU

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

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Caleb Obert, KR/WR
Northwest Missouri State University

Obert, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound senior from Bethany, Mo., logged a 37-yard kickoff return for a touchdown as the No. 11 Bearcats defeated Missouri Western, 44-20.

He scooped up an onside kick by the Griffons and scored with 2:20 left in the game on what may be the shortest kickoff return TD in MIAA history, and the first for Northwest since the 2002 season.

Obert is a graduate of South Harrison High School.

Others Nominated: Jamie Hanson, P, MWSU; Jake Richter, KR/S, ESU.

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

-- MIAA --


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