Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bearcat Playoff Preview: Missouri Western

Pittsburg State - 16
NWMSU - 22

Conference Champs! The Bearcats held off a pesky Pitt State team in Arrowhead and extended their MIAA domination to 46 games. Along with the win came the conference championship and the number 3 seed in the SR4 region in the NCAA D2 playoff bracket. In somewhat of a homecoming, Jordan Simmmons score on two long TD runs and the defense held off a late surge by the Gorillas to close out the game.

So you said something about playoffs?

Yep. For all you D1 types, in lowly Division II we actually decide who our national champion is...on the field. Despite the disruption the poor student athletes have to endure by being subjected to such a horrible, horrible time suck, it's seemed to work out alright.

The Bearcats have earned the number 3 seed in the Super Regional 4 of the playoff bracket. The winner of this games moves on to face Texas A&M-Kingsville next week.

The Essentials
#6 Missouri Western State Griffons at
#3 Northwest Missouri State University Bearcats
Bearcat Stadium - Maryville, MO
Saturday November 20, 12:00 CST

The Offense
MoWest comes into the game as a meh offense. They are ranked 65th in total offense (7th in MIAA) and 36th in scoring offense (5th in conference). They are pretty miserable running the ball at 93rd nationally and rely on SR QB Drew Newland and SR WR Andrew Meed to get their offense down the field. They do this with some success as the 36th ranked passing offense.

The Bearcats, meanwhile, are still top 20 in all offensive categories except running. But when they faced the Griffs earlier in the season they posted their second best rushing total of the year despite losing their starting tailback in that game.

The Defense
This game features the two stingiest teams in the MIAA. MoWest is 2nd in scoring and 1st in passing D in the conference, good for 49th and 64th nationally. Unfortunately for them, their rush defense is as bad as their rush offense. Ranking 123rd nationally they were worst in the MIAA in this category.

Northwest escaped the conference as arguably the best defense in the conference, but because of the quality of the conference, IMHO, took a hit nationally. Finishing 67th, 52nd, 99th and 33rd in total, rush, passing and scoring D nationally, they still were 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, and 1st in conference. Look for this unit to dominate like it did in the first meeting between these teams. There is no reason to assume they've gotten worse since that time.

The Prediction
The Bearcats annihilated MoWest in their first meeting 42-0. And it's not just that they didn't let them score, they only allowed 10 first downs, 48 rushing yards and 119 passing yards. The defense was so dominate that the Griffs didn't have a red zone opportunity and didn't convert a single third down in 13 tries. It was a blood bath. And again the Cats haven't shown any reason why things should be any different.

Mel Tjeerdsma is 11-1 in first round playoff games. And the Cats are 17-3 all time at home in the post season. Although I don't foresee the gashing that happened in the first game, I think Northwest cruises in this one in route to a repeat of last year with a revenge game in Kingsville. Bearcats 38 - Griffons 17.

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