No. 7 Northwest Missouri State defeated No. 13 Pittsburg State in a commanding 38-17 win at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday afternoon. The victory keeps the Bearcats undefeated on the season and gives the Gorillas their first loss in a tightly-contested MIAA.
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It was a tale of two halves. Pittsburg State came out and got the scoring started on a 79-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Brandon Mlekus to receiver Lorenzo West. Northwest Missouri State scored the next four touchdowns, three of which were caught by Marqus Andrews.
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The second half was a defensive stalemate. Neither team could find the end zone as two of the most explosive offenses in DII football found themselves in a game of turnovers and punts. Braden Wright scored the lone touchdown of the second half on a 48-yard touchdown run — part of a career-high 172-yard day — to ice it with less than two minutes remaining.
You can relive the game below, with the updates we brought as the game unfolded.
Northwest Missouri State vs. Pittsburg State: Game recap
Northwest Missouri State 38, Pittsburg State 17 | Final stats
Northwest Missouri State:
- Braden Wright, QB: 108 yards passing, 172 yards rushing, 2 TD
- Marqus Andrews, TE: 61 yards, 3 TD
- Mike Hohensee, QB: 54 yards passing, 2 TD
- Lorenzo West, WR: 163 yards, 1 TD
- Bryce Murphy, WR: 59 yards, 1 TD
- Brandon Mlekus, QB: 78 yards passing, 39 yards rushing, 1 TD
Northwest Missouri State 38, Pittsburg State 17| Final
Trey Washington picks off Sexton and ices this one from Arrowhead. Bearcats stay perfect and move to 6-0. Final stats to come.
Northwest Missouri State 38, Pittsburg State 17| 1:23 4Q
Bearcats answer. Braden Wright — amid a career-high rushing day of 172 yards — runs 48 yards up the middle to paydirt to put this one out of reach. Wright has had his way all day, the big offensive line making it seem easy for him going right up the gut.
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 17| 2:47 4Q
We assumed the onside kick was coming, it came and Pittsburg State has the ball at the Northwest 45!
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 17| 2:47 4Q
Mak Sexton scrambles a bit and makes something happen on third down, finding Lorenzo West for about nine yards. Sexton reels off three-straight completions after that — with West now up to 163 yards — to get into the red zone. The Gorillas stall there but come away with three. Have to assume an onside kick is coming.
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 14| 8:26 4Q
Still no score in from Arrowhead in the second half, just about halfway through the final quarter. Bearcats are driving on the Gorillas side of the field.
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 14| End 3Q
A few turnovers, a few punts, not many yards. Whatever defensive adjustments both teams made at the half, worked. We have 15 minutes left at Arrowhead. The Gorillas will need a fourth quarter to remember to pull this one off.
Here are your third quarter stats:
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 14| 2:53 3Q
A quite quarter offensively thus far. Two big turnovers by the Bearcats — the fumble by Phillips and a Blake Bayer interception — are the highlights as Northwest can't convert turnovers to points either time. Pittsburg State with the ball deep in its own territory with time ticking away in the third.
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 14| 10:41 3Q
Spencer Phillips gets to Gorillas quarterback Matt Harman for a ten-yard sack and the ball pops out into Phillips' hands. Bearcats can't take advantage, failing on a fourth and five. Pittsburg State gets the ball back, nothing doing just yet about five minutes into the third.
Northwest Missouri State 31, Pittsburg State 14| Halftime
Parker Sampson drilled a 41-yard field goal with 31 seconds left, and that's how the first half came to an end. Pittsburg State will get the ball to start things off in the second.
A lot of good for Northwest in this first half. The Bearcats offense had to deal with the top-scoring and total defense in the MIAA in Pittsburg State and have put up 31 points 330 yards. Conversely, the Northwest defense was third-worst against the pass, allowing 275.2 yards per game through the air entering today. They've held the Gorillas quarterbacks to a 5-for-12 day with 153 yards passing. Lorenzo West has 129 of those yards on two big passes.
Northwest Missouri State 28, Pittsburg State 14| 4:42 Q2
Freshman quarterback Mak Sexton has a nice back-shoulder pass to Bryce Murphy to end the Bearcats run of 28-unanswered points. Earlier on the drive, quarterback Matt Harman found Lorenzo West for a 50-yard pass. West has 137 yards receiving with over 34 minutes remaining in this game. All three quarterbacks were in on that drive, each one showing their own style in the offense.
Pitt State answers with a 6 yard TD pass from Mak Sexton to Bryce Murphy. 28-14 NW with under 5 to play in the half. pic.twitter.com/7tBsbtYFm3— Bethany J. Bowman (@bjbowman13) October 12, 2019
Northwest Missouri State 28, Pittsburg State 7| 6:21 Q2
The Bearcats set up for a field goal on fourth down and call an audible. Hohensee finds his buddy Andrews once again for a 35-yard touchdown pass. That's THREE touchdowns for Andrews on the day.
Marqus Andrews show 😳 he has three scores in the first half including this one, where Bearcats were facing 4th and 7th and Andrews hurdles the defender for the touchdown. NW leads 28-7. pic.twitter.com/oc95XmAzA7— Bethany J. Bowman (@bjbowman13) October 12, 2019
Northwest Missouri State 21, Pittsburg State 7| 12:37 Q2
BREAKING: Imoni Donadelle is fast. The Bearcats wide receiver takes it 59-yards on a double reverse, all alone on the sideline after a nice block from quarterback Braden Wright. The Bearcats are gelling on defense now, forcing four Gorilla punts, and have manufactured three quick scoring drives.
Northwest Missouri State 14, Pittsburg State 7| End Q1
The Bearcats were working on a drive and tried to get creative on a flea-flicker but that tough Gorillas pass defense makes them pay with the first interception of the day. The quarter comes to an end and Pittsburg State will open the second with a 3rd and 6.
Northwest Missouri State 14, Pittsburg State 7| 5:08 Q1
Mike Hohensee, the other QB, finds Marqus Andrews again, this time from 20 yards out on a pretty throw to the corner of the end zone. Really impressed with how running back Justin Rankin is performing out of the backfield. His third catch of the day was a big 17-yarder that helped set up the touchdown. The Bearcats are rolling, with back-to-back scoring drives less than two minutes.
Pittsburg State 7, Northwest Missouri State 7 | 8:33 Q1
Less than two minutes later, Braden Wright leads the Bearcats down the field and ties it up. Wright finally looked comfortable on the drive and showed how dangerous he is with his legs and arm. He went 3-for-3 with a six-yard touchdown shovel pass to Marqus Andrews set up by a 48-yard scamper down the sideline by Wright. All square at Arrowhead.
Pittsburg State 7, Northwest Missouri State 0 | 10:14 Q1
The Gorillas are on the board with a long bomb. Brandon Mlekus finds Lorenzo West who outsprints the Northwest Missouri State secondary to pay dirt. The two-play drive ended in the 78-yard touchdown pass. Northwest has gone three-and-out on its first two drives and will be looking to get it going here.
Pittsburg State 0, Northwest Missouri State 0 | Kickoff
It’s 57 degrees and sunny right now at Arrowhead Stadium, home to the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Winds may be a bit feisty, blowing at 14 mph for the time being.
Bearcats are in their home green jerseys and white pants, while the Gorillas are donning the road white jerseys and red pants.
Northwest will receive the ball. Here are a few players on offense from each team you should watch:
Gorillas: Mak Sexton and Brandon Mlekus, QB; Tyler Adkins, RB; Lorenzo West, WR
Bearcats: Braden Wright, QB; Justin Rankin, RB; Imoni Donadelle, WR/KR
Pregame: IT'S GAMEDAY!
- WHAT: Top 15 DII football showdown
- WHO: Bearcats and Gorillas
- WHERE: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
- WHEN: 1 p.m.
- WATCH: MIAA Network ($)
Northwest Missouri State vs. Pittsburg State: Arrowhead Stadium history
The Bearcats and Gorillas are no strangers to Arrowhead Stadium. Northwest Missouri State entered Saturday with an 11-3 career record at the home of the Chiefs, and now 13 of those games have been against Pittsburg State. The Bearcats have a distinct advantage, going 10-3 since the first 2002 meeting.
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Here's a look at the final score from every Northwest Missouri State vs. Pittsburg State matchup at Arrowhead.
|Oct. 17, 2002||Northwest Missouri State||29-7|
|Nov. 15, 2003||Northwest Missouri State||20-19|
|Nov. 6, 2004||Pittsburg State||21-17|
|Oct. 29, 2005||Pittsburg State||56-35|
|Nov. 4, 2006||Northwest Missouri State||41-14|
|Oct. 6, 2007||Northwest Missouri State||37-34 (OT)|
|Oct. 4, 2008||Northwest Missouri State||25-10|
|Sept. 12, 2009||Northwest Missouri State||30-10|
|Nov. 13, 2010||Northwest Missouri State||22-16|
|Oct. 1, 2011||Pittsburg State||38-35|
|Oct. 13, 2012||Northwest Missouri State||31-21|
|Oct. 12, 2019||Northwest Missouri State||38-17|