Nov. 28, 2009

By Matt Rybaltowski
Special to

Northwest Missouri State quarterback Blake Bolles tied former Bearcats quarterback Chris Griesen’s single-season school record of 38 touchdowns with two scores on Saturday against Central Washington. Bolles tied the record with a 19-yard pass to Jordan Simmons in the third quarter.  

Bolles spread the ball to eight receivers and ran the Bearcats’ no-huddle offense effectively. He finished 31-of-40 for 295 yards. “I think that (the no-huddle offense) does that to pretty much every team that we play,” Bolles said. “We really emphasized tempo in practice all week long and we just have a great group of guys on the offensive side of the ball. We’re well-conditioned and we run that stuff because it wears the defenses down. I think the receivers, tight ends and running backs did a great job of lining up on time. I thought we had them off balance in the second half.”

RECORD BREAKING: Central Washington senior linebacker Buddy Wood set a career record with 19 tackles in the loss. “Everyone here should stand for Buddy Wood,” Central Washington coach Blaine Bennett when the linebacker entered the post-game press conference. Wood finished his career with 385 tackles to set a Central Washington school record. Blake Walker previously owned the school record with 370 tackles. “They ran to my side a lot and they didn’t get too many yards,” Wood said.   

GOOD RUNS: Only two teams eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark against Central Washington before Saturday’s game and four others had negative rushing yards. Northwest Missouri State running back LaRon Council finished with 27 carries for 105 yards. Bolles said Council's running ability helped the passing game in the second half. “Without him running the football the way he does, our playing action is going to open our pass game the way it has been,” Bolles said.

KICK BLOCK: Northwest Missouri State senior defensive tackle Tyler Roach blocked the fourth kick of his career with his game-winning block on an extra point by Central Washington kicker Garrett Rolsma. Roach said the team barely works on blocking extra points in practice. “It’s not scheme, it’s effort,” Bearcats coach Mel Tjeerdsma said.   
OVER 1,000: Central Washington senior wide receiver Johnny Spevak had three catches for 30 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the third time in his career. It was just the sixth time in school history a Wildcats receiver has caught for 1,000 yards in a season. Spevak finished his career with the most total touchdowns in school history with 54 and second in NCAA Division II history in receptions. He is also a four-year starter on the school’s basketball team.

SCHOOL RECORD: Spevak and Rolsma entered the contest in a dead heat for the school’s career scoring record. Rolsma kicked two extra points to finish with 330 points, while Spevak went without a touchdown to finish with 326. Rolsma retook the scoring lead with his nine-point outing against Tarleton State in last week’s second-round game. Rolsma entered Saturday’s game with 98 points on the year (the highest in school history) while Spevak had 12 touchdowns and 72 points for his senior season.

RECEPTION RECORD: Northwest Missouri State receiver Jake Soy finished with 11 catches for 136 yards. Soy also caught his 23rd touchdown of the season. The sophomore receiver currently owns an MIAA-record for single-season touchdown receptions. He entered the game with the sixth-most receiving touchdowns in NCAA Division II history.  Soy also became just the fifth receiver in MIAA history to have more than 1,300 yards receiving on a season.

ROAD WARRIORS: With the win, Northwest Missouri State improved to 7-4 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs and 9-2 in true road games under coach Mel Tjeerdsma. The Bearcats also improved to 3-5 all-time against No. 1 teams. Northwest Missouri State beat then-No. 1 Grand Valley State 36-14 in a 2007 NCAA Division II semifinal.  “Obviously we are thrilled to win,” Tjeerdsma said. “It was a very tough atmosphere and a tough situation.”