Northwest Missouri State Bearcats football
The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats football team has appeared in nine NCAA Division II national title games – winning six – since going 0–11 in Mel Tjeerdsma's first season in 1994. The Bearcats have made the playoffs in 20 seasons and have also won or shared 30 MIAA titles.
|Northwest Missouri State Bearcats football|
|Athletic director||Andy Peterson|
|Head coach||Rich Wright |
4th season, 31–8 (.795)
|Field||Mel Tjeerdsma Field|
|NCAA division||Division II|
|All-time record||590–399–33 (.593)|
|Claimed national titles||6 (1998, 1999, 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016)|
|Colors||Bearcat green and White|
|Marching band||Bearcat Marching Band|
Northwest Missouri State plays its games at Bearcat Stadium, built in 1917, and the oldest NCAA Division II stadium still in use. The field was expanded to 6,500 seats and a video screen was added in 2003 after Tjeerdsma began his run. This screen was replaced in 2014 by a 20-foot by 40-foot high-resolution screen with the scoreboard attached underneath.
Previously, Northwest Missouri played its games with Pittsburg State University at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead. The series was discontinued in 2013, games are now played on campus sites. Pittsburg has made four national title appearances since 1991. The October 17, 2002 game was witnessed by 26,695—the largest number in MIAA history.
Northwest was one of the original 1912 organizers of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. The school has not played in any other conference. The conference headquarters until 1997 was in the Maryville, Missouri home of its first commissioner Ken B. Jones. In 1997 it moved to Overland Park, Kansas and has subsequently moved to Kansas City.
National championship seasonsEdit
|1998||Mel Tjeerdsma||NCAA Division II Playoff||15–0||Won NCAA Division II Championship|
|1999||14–1||Won NCAA Division II Championship|
|2009||Won NCAA Division II Championship|
|2013||Adam Dorrel||15–0||Won NCAA Division II Championship|
|2015||Won NCAA Division II Championship|
|2016||Won NCAA Division II Championship|
Conference championship seasonsEdit
|Year||Conference||Coach||Overall Record||Conference Record|
|1925||Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association||H. Frank Lawrence||7–0–1||3–0–1|
|1996†||Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association||Mel Tjeerdsma||11–2||8–1|
|Total Conference Championships:||30|
|† Denotes co-champions|
NCAA Division II championship gamesEdit
In 1998, the Bearcats won the NCAA Division II football national championship by going 15–0. It was the first time in history a Division II school won 15 games and the first time a Northwest athletic program won a team national championship in any sport.
In 1999 Northwest defeated Carson-Newman College 58–52 in four overtimes to defend the title. The game was the longest in NCAA football playoff history in number of extra periods, surpassing six contests that were extended by three overtimes. The broadcast analyst on ESPN called it the best college football game he'd ever seen. The game solidified ESPN's interest in Division II football, prompting ESPN to cover the semi-final games.
In 2005 the Bearcats were a Cinderella team, ranked 22nd at the start of the playoffs, but they won all of their playoff games on the road until reaching the finals against Grand Valley State University. Northwest led the game until the closing minutes and still almost pulled the game out. The Cinderella nature of Northwest coming from 22nd to challenge the #1 team in the final has been evoked as a weakness of the Bowl Championship Series, where such a run would be impossible.
In the 2006 regular season the Bearcats went undefeated at 11–0. In their third playoff game, a game played against Bloomsburg University, ESPNU televised the game live from Maryville. This was the first nationally televised game from Bearcat Stadium. The game was also the first time that temporary lights (provided by ESPN) were used at Bearcat Stadium, its lights having been removed in 1977. The Bearcats went 3–0 in the playoffs, thus earning a rematch against the Grand Valley State University Lakers in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game at Florence, Alabama, on December 16, 2006. The Bearcats fell to GVSU 17–14 after turning the ball over four times during the game.
In the 2007 regular season the Bearcats went 9–1. Their only loss was to the #1 University of Nebraska at Omaha, who went 12–0 in the regular season. The Bearcats received a first round bye. In the second round, they faced #3 West Texas A&M University at Bearcat Stadium, and won with a final score of 56–28. In the quarterfinals the Bearcats traveled to Chadron, Nebraska to face #1 Chadron State College. Xavier Omon lead the Bearcats to a 26–13 victory by rushing for a personal best 309 yards (283 m). The Bearcats faced their long-time post-season rivals Grand Valley State University in the semifinals. Both Grand Valley and Northwest were #2 seeds in their respective regions, but the NCAA stated that due to Northwest's strength of schedule, Northwest would receive the home game. The game was broadcast from Bearcat Stadium on ESPN2; this was the second nationally televised game from Bearcat Stadium. The game was close through the third quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Northwest lead the close contest, 17–16. But after a Northwest interception that produced a touchdown, and a 98-yard (90 m) Xavier Omon touchdown run, the Bearcats prevailed with a final score of 34–16, ending Grand Valley's NCAA record-setting 40-game winning streak. The Bearcats lost to #8 Valdosta State University in the NCAA Division II football national championship at 12pm (Eastern) on Saturday December 15, 2007 in Florence, Alabama; the game was broadcast on ESPN2.
In 2008 the Bearcats played in their fourth consecutive national title game and lost to Minnesota-Duluth, which had a 15–0 season. Northwest has never lost a championship by more than seven points.
In 2009, the Bearcats made its fifth consecutive national title appearance. No NCAA team in any division has ever done that. The Bearcats, which were ranked #2 going into the playoffs, received a first round bye. In the second round they avenged their only loss of the season by defeating Abilene Christian. In the closest game of the playoffs they defeated Central Washington University (ranked #1 at the time) in the quarterfinals by rallying in the second half and then blocking a Central Washington extra point in the closing seconds. In the semifinals it defeated California University of Pennsylvania to qualify for its third meeting in the finals with Grand Valley.
Northwest won its fourth title in 2013 defeating the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears 43–28. It was the first Bearcat national championship game not coached by Mel Tjeerdsma, who retired after losing in the semi finals in 2010. He was succeeded by Scott Bostwick who had been with Tjeerdsma during his entire tenure at Northwest including Tjeerdsma's initial 0–11 team in 1994. Bostwick passed died 6 months later, before coaching a game as a head coach. Adam Dorrel, the offensive coordinator, became the head coach. Tjeerdsma came out of retirement in 2013 to become Northwest's athletic director. The Bearcats were undefeated 11–0 in the regular season and won the 4 playoff games. The game was the last title game at Braly Stadium in Alabama. The MIAA, sparked by the success of Northwest and Pittsburg, successfully bid to host the championship games starting in 2014 at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas about 100 miles south of the Northwest campus.
Northwest took on the Shepherd Rams at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on December 19. The game was the Bearcats' ninth appearance in the national title game and first at its new site in Kansas City. Northwest took home their fifth national title since 1998, second under head coach Adam Dorrel, defeating Shepherd 34–7.
Northwest played the University of North Alabama for the 2016 Division II Championship in a snowstorm. This was the Bearcats' 10th appearance in the national title game and its second trip to the title game in Kansas City. Northwest Missouri State picked up its sixth title when the Bearcats defeated North Alabama, 29-3.
Post season resultsEdit
At the conclusion of the 2018 season Northwest is 52–18 in post-season play. It has been in the playoffs every year since 2004 and is 41–12 in that string and been in the national title game eight times (winning four).
|Year||NW Rank||Venue||Opp Rank||Opponent||Score||W/L||Round||Notes|
|1989||18||Away||-–||Pittsburg State||7–28||L||1st Round|
|1997||3||Maryville||16||North Dakota State||39–28||W||1st Round|
|1999||4||Maryville||9||North Dakota State||20–13||W||1st Round|
|1999||4||Maryville||-–||Indiana University (Pa.)||20–12||W||Semifinal|
|2000||1||Maryville||5||North Dakota State||17–13||L||1st Round|
|2002||4||Maryville||11||Minnesota–Duluth||45–41||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2004||4||Maryville||6||Texas A&M–Kingsville||34–14||W||1st Round|
|2005||21||Away||29||Angelo State||45–14||W||1st Round|
|2005||21||Braly Stadium||1||Grand Valley State||17–21||L||Final|
|2006||2||Maryville||18||Midwestern State||27–0||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2006||2||Braly Stadium||1||Grand Valley State||14–17||L||Final|
|2007||5||Maryville||4||West Texas A&M||56–28||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2007||5||Maryville||1||Grand Valley State||34–16||W||Semifinal|
|2007||5||Braly Stadium||8||Valdsota State||20–25||L||Final|
|2008||3||Maryville||10||Pittsburg State||38–35||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2009||2||Maryville||16||Abilene Christian||35–10||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2009||2||Braly Stadium||3||Grand Valley State||30–23||W||Final|
|2010||3||Maryville||-||Missouri Western||28–24||W||1st Round||Northwest trailed by 17 at half—it largest deficit that it had come back from.|
|2010||3||Away||4||Texas A&M–Kingsville||35–31||W||2nd Round||Texas had defeated Northwest on opening day. Northwest won with 17 seconds remaining on Blake Bolles to Josh Baker pass.|
|2010||3||Maryville||7||Central Missouri||37–20||W||Quarterfinal||Northwest had won earlier game in Warrensburg on a field goal as time expired that was attended by 13,096—the biggest crowd at MIAA venue in history.|
|2010||3||Away||4||Texas A&M–Kingsville||35–31||W||2nd Round||Texas had defeated Northwest on opening day. Northwest won with 17 seconds remaining on Blake Bolles to Josh Baker pass.|
|2010||3||Away||1||Minnesota–Duluth||13–17||L||Semifinal||Played during snowstorm that collapsed the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome roof. Temperatures were in the single digits and the wind blew at 30 mph. Northwest led most of the game until 4:12 left in the fourth quarter.|
|2011||7||Away||17||Missouri Western||35–29||W||1st Round||Northwest lost earlier game in St. Joseph 31–28. Northwest rallied in second half with 21 unanswered points. Northwest had been down 16–0 in the first four minutes of the game.|
|2011||7||Away||1||Midwestern State||38–31||W||2nd Round (1 OT)||Midwest was ranked #1 going into the game and was one of only 3 undefeated D2 teams. Midwest led 28–10 in the second quarter – the biggest Northwest deficit since it began its dominance in 2004. The game was played in 30 mph winds. Midwest marched to the Bearcat 9 with 10 seconds remaining. Greg Saladino shanked a potential game-winning field goal throwing it into overtime. Bearcat quarterback Trevor Adams hit Kyle Kilgore on a 13-yard wheel route for the overtime's only score by either team.|
|2011||7||Away||6||Pittsburg State||16–41||L||Quarterfinal||Pittsburg had defeated the Bearcats earlier in the season in a game that broke Northwest's record 49 straight MIAA victory record (a game in which the Bearcats had led 21–0) and this was a rematch of MIAA teams. The game was played in a driving rain. Northwest led 10–0 at the end of the first quarter and it was tied at half. Pittsburg scored 31 points in second half.|
|2012||10||Maryville||9||Harding University||35–0||W||1st Round|
|2012||10||Away||2||Minnesota State Mankato||35–38 (2OT)||L||2nd Round||Northwest was down 0–21 but scored 28 points in the second half to force two overtimes in which Northwest ultimately lost after Mankato turned an intercepted pass into a field goal.|
|2013||2||Maryville||5||Minnesota–Duluth||45–21||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2013||2||Maryville||12||St. Cloud State||59–21||W||Quarterfinal|||
|2013||2||Maryville||22||Grand Valley State||27–13||W||Semifinal||Game was attended by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon who gave a pep talk to team at the beginning.|
|2013||2||Braly Stadium||13||Lenoir–Rhyne||43–28||W||Final||Lenoir set a record for most offensive rushing yards in any NCAA division in one season however it was held in check by Northwest which jumped to a 17–0 lead in the first quarter. The game was the last Division II championship at Braly Stadium. Northwest's home conference MIAA won a bid the week before the game to host future championships 100 miles from Maryville in Kansas City at Sporting Park .|
|2014||6||Away||2||Minnesota–Duluth||21–25||L||1st Round||Northwest led 21–6 going into the 4th quarter.|
|2015||1||Maryville||11||Humboldt State||54–7||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2015||1||Kansas City, Kansas||7||Shepherd||34–7||W||Final|
|2016||1||Maryville||Emporia State||44-13||W||2nd Round (1st Round bye)|
|2016||1||Maryville||Harding||35-0||W||Quarterfinal||NW held Harding to just 119 total yard all coming on the ground.|
|2016||1||Maryville||Ferris State||35-20||W||Semifinal||Ferris State took a 13-7 lead in the 2nd quarter|
|2016||1||Kansas City, Kansas||North Alabama||29-3||W||Final||Over 4 inches of snow fell during the game and temperatures were at -5 with wind chill|
|2017||13||Away||9||Ashland University||18-21||L||1st Round||Bearcats had their 39 game winning streak broken earlier in season with 2 MIAA losses and lost its #1 ranking which it held for the first half of the season|
|2018||18||Away||7||Grand Valley State||42-17||W||1st Round|
|2018||18||Away||2||Ferris State||21-27||L||2nd Round|
|1908||Paul A. White||3||2||1|
|1984||Vernon Thomsen||10||2||X||1st Round|
|1988||Harold "Bud" Elliott||2||9|
|1989||Harold "Bud" Elliott||9||3||1st Round|
|1990||Harold "Bud" Elliott||2||8||1|
|1991||Harold "Bud" Elliott||5||6|
|1992||Harold "Bud" Elliott||6||5|
|1993||Harold "Bud" Elliott||3||8|
|2000||Mel Tjeerdsma||11||1||X||1st Round|
|2005||Mel Tjeerdsma||11||4||Finals-Runner Up|
|2006||Mel Tjeerdsma||14||1||X||Finals-Runner Up|
|2007||Mel Tjeerdsma||12||2||X||Finals-Runner Up|
|2008||Mel Tjeerdsma||13||2||X||Finals-Runner Up|
|2011||Adam Dorrel||11||3||Quarterfinal (3rd round) loss to Pittsburg which had unseated it as MIAA champ.|
|2012||Adam Dorrel||11||3||Second Round loss to Minnesota State Mankato|
|2014||Adam Dorrel||10||2||0||X||1st Round|
|2017||Rich Wright||9||3||0||1st Round|
|2018||Rich Wright||10||3||0||X||2nd Round|
On June 5, 2011 Bearcats head coach Scott Bostwick died of an apparent heart attack in Maryville. The 49-year-old Bostwick had been named head coach of the Bearcats in December 2010 following the retirement of longtime coach Mel Tjeerdsma. Bostwick had been on the Northwest coaching staff since 1994, and most recently had served as defensive coordinator under Tjeerdsma. In 2007, Bostwick had been voted the American Football Coaches Association Division II Assistant Coach of the Year.
Notable players and coachesEdit
- Josh Baker – National Football League tight end who is currently a free agent.
- Baron Corbin (Thomas "Tom" Pestock) – Former offensive lineman for Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals. Now a professional wrestler signed with WWE.
- Brandon Dixon – defensive back who currently plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
- Brian Dixon – defensive back who currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals.
- Tommy Frevert – American football placekicker
- Chris Greisen – former quarterback in the NFL.
- Chad Kilgore – NFL linebacker who is currently a free agent.
- Matt Longacre – National Football League defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams.
- Tony Miles – retired CFL wide receiver; school's all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
- Xavier Omon – retired NFL running back.
- Michael Peterson – Retired tight end. Former player with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League.
- Jamaica Rector – former NFL and CFL wide receiver.
- Mel Tjeerdsma – Northwest's national championship winning coach, and most winning DII post-season coach with 22 victories.
- Dave Tollefson – Retired NFL defensive end.
- Seth Wand – Former NFL offensive lineman
- Northwest Missouri State Bearcats Athletics Graphic Standards (PDF). February 8, 2018. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
- Northwest Missouri State University Football Media Guide – nwmissouri.edu – Retrieved September 22, 2009
- Brown, Tony. "Crew Prepare to Install New Video Screen". Maryville Daily Forum. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
- "Conference History". Themiaa.com. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- DeLassus, David (2015). "Northwest Missouri State Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
- McDowellsmcdowell, Sam (December 19, 2015). "Northwest Missouri State beats Shepherd 34–7 to win Division II national championship | The Kansas City Star". Kansascity.com. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
- DII Football Championship: Northwest Missouri State defeats North Alabama to win national championship NCAA. December 17, 2016. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- "Field Goal as Time Expires Gives Title to NWMSU". The Miaa. November 6, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- Sam Robinson, St. Joseph News–Press (November 19, 2011). "Northwest storms back in 2nd half to beat Western – Sports News Story – St. Joseph". Newspressnow.com. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- Sam Robinson, St. Joseph News–Press (June 19, 1959). "Northwest Missouri continues comeback run with OT victory – College Sports News Story – St. Joseph". Newspressnow.com. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
- "DII College Football Rankings – Regional Rankings". NCAA.com.
-  Archived October 10, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- "Northwest Missouri State University – Bearcats fall to UMD in NCAA first round". Bearcatsports.com. November 22, 2014. Retrieved December 20, 2015.
- "NWMSU: Head Coach Scott Bostwick Has Died". KCTV 5. June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- "Coach dies from apparent heart attack". Associated Press via KTVO-TV website. June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
- "Northwest Missouri State coach dies". USA Today. June 5, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2011.