Oct. 17, 2009

Courtesy of Missouri Western Athletics

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – Western rushed for 223 yards on 49 carriers as they ran past the 14th ranked University of Central Missouri Mules 36-21 on Homecoming. Thomas Hodges rushed for 117 yards on 27 carries while Michael Hill rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries giving the Griffons their seventh consecutive victory over Central Missouri. Western now leads the series 13-12-1 and sit at 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the MIAA.

The Griffons and the Mules started slow offensively, but mid-way through the first quarter they would find their grove. Western would strike first with 4:41 left in the first quarter when Drew Newhart plunged in from one yard out capping off an 11 play 74 yard drive. The Mules would respond on the very next possession when Eric Czerniewski rushed in from seven yards out to tie the score at seven with 1:55 to play in the opening quarter.

From that point the Griffons would take control scoring 19 unanswered points to close out the half. Newhart would find Hodges streaking down the sidelines from 41 yards out to put the Griffons up 14-7 with 37 seconds remaining in the first quarter. In the second quarter Newhart would find Ferrell McGhee on a 13 yard pitch and catch to cap off a six play 54 yard drive to put the Griffons up 20-7 after a blocked extra point with 4:33 left in the half.
With 1:36 left in the half Newhart would lead the Griffons 80 yards on seven plays hooking up with Kip Peters from 16 yards out with three second left on the clock to give the Griffons the 26-7 lead after a missed two point conversion. The Griffons dominated play in the first half as they had 314 yards of total offense to the Mules 130. Newhart finished the half with 213 yards on 13-of-16 and three touchdowns.

In the second half the Griffons would look to put the game out of reach early but an interception by Randy Shepherd on the Griffons 47 yard line would give the Mules a short field. The Mules would capitalize on the turnover going 47 yards on 10 plays with Anthony Stewart blasting in from one yard out on a fourth and goal.

The Griffons would answer nicely going 73 yards on 12 plays in six minutes and 38 seconds. Newhart threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game to Cedric Houston from four yard out putting Western up 33-14. Brad Beckwith would nail a 29 yard field goal with 6:20 left in the game giving the Griffons the 22 point lead.

On the next possession Deondre Williams would intercept a Czerniewski pass to seal the victory. Stewart would score a touchdown with 54 seconds left but it would be to late as the Mules fall to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in the MIAA.

The Griffons finished the contest with 469 yards of total offense while converting on 5-of-6 red-zone chances. The Mules had 268 yards of offense with 80 coming on their final possession of the game. The Griffons dominated the time of possession as they had the ball for 38:19 minutes.

Newhart finished the game with 246 yards converting on 18-of-25 with four touchdowns. Houston caught eight passes for 79 yards and a touchdown while Ben Jackson led the defensive charge with a career high nine tackles. Tom Madget and Sean Whiters finished with eight and seven tackles respectively.

Czerniewski finished with 197 yards passing on 19-of-33. He also rushed for 21 yards and one touchdown. Stewart finished the contest with 47 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. Stewart led the Mules in receiving with 94 yards on seven catches. Randy Shepherd had 20 tackles while Cody Scribner had 10.

The Griffons will continue MIAA play next week when they take on the Missouri Southern State University Lions on Saturday, October 24 in St. Joseph, Mo. Kickoff is set for 1:30 pm from Spratt Stadium.

Missouri Western State University (located in St. Joseph, Mo.) is an NCAA Division II institution and a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.