Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Emporia State Falls to Defending National Champion Northwest Missouri State

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Emporia State Falls to Defending National Champion Northwest Missouri State

Article excerpt

EMPORIA -- NCAA Division II defending national champion Northwest Missouri opened defense of its title with a 41-14 victory over Emporia State on Thursday at Welch Stadium.

With the win the Bearcats now have won 23 straight games against the Hornets -- a streak started in 1995.

Emporia State, which entered the game ranked No. 24 in Division II, scored first as quarterback Braxton Marstall, an Emporia native, connected with Justin Brown on a 3-yard touchdown pass. The touchdown capped a 12-play, 88-yard drive with Marstall adding first- down runs of 19 and 14 yards.

The score by ESU marked the first time Northwest Missouri trailed in a contest spanning back seven games -- 416 minutes to be exact. The Hornets' lead would be short-lived as the Bearcat offense got in a groove, scoring on three straight possessions.

Bearcat quarterback Kyle Zimmerman followed an 18-yard field goal with an 11-yard rushing touchdown and a 5-yard strike through the air to Phil Jackson as Northwest Missouri built a 20-7 halftime lead.

While the Bearcats' offense got unhitched, the Hornets' offense was stuck in reverse. On three straight possessions the Hornets were limited to negative yards and were forced to punt four straight times. Emporia State finished the first half with just 42 total yards of offense and averaged three yards per carry.

After gaining 88 yards on their first drive, the Hornets gained just 95 yards the rest of the game, totaling 183 yards of offense.

Northwest's Zimmerman finished the game with 310 yards passing and connected with 11 different receivers. Jordan Grove led the Bearcats with five catches for 92 yards, and Northwest Missouri racked up 491 total yards of offense.

Northwest Missouri sacked Marstall three times in the game and was led in tackles by Jacob Vollstedt. The senior linebacker finished with eight tackles, one for loss. …

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