NMSU
Longacre

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Northwest Missouri State overcame three turnovers on its first three possessions and scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to knock off Missouri Western 35-29 in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs on Saturday.

The Bearcats improved to 10-2 on the year as they ended the Griffons’ season at 9-3. Western fell in the first round to Northwest for the second consecutive season. The Bearcats will advance to take on No. 1 seed Midwestern State on Nov. 26.

Northwest limited Missouri Western to minus-17 yards of total offense in the fourth quarter as the Bearcat defense sacked the Griffons quarterback four times and recorded 11 tackles for loss.

The biggest tackle for loss came on Matt Longacre’s fumble recovery at the Griffon 8-yard line. After securing the ball and running into the end zone, Longacre gave Northwest its first lead of the day with 8:01 left in the game. Chad Kilgore was virtually untouched on a weak side blitz jarring the ball loose from the Griffon signal caller as Longacre completed the Bearcat comeback.

James Franklin also scored twice in the second half including the first drive of the third quarter. Franklin broke free down the Northwest sideline leaving behind a couple of Western defenders before finding the end zone 35 yards later.

Trevor Adams also came through with a big second half rebounding from two first half interceptions. Adams regained his confidence finishing 19-of-33 for 182 yards and one touchdown. Adams also had a season high 78 yards rushing helping the Bearcats to the win.