Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bearcat Preview: Pittsburg State

NWMSU Bearcats - 17
UCM Mules - 16

Holy crap! Well, what I thought was going to be a shoot-out turned out to be one defensively dominated game. The quality of these two teams and the magnitude of the game really shined through in Warrensburg. The MIAA title was on the line and both teams wanted it desperately. The game featured 12 punts, but still over 800 yards in total offense. Bolles really stepped up and accounted for 387 yards of the Cats 482 yards.

But we all know that they game really came down to this:

One of the best finishes to a game I've seen in a while. A hook and lateral followed by a no time out, rush the kicking team on the field, field goal as time expires. Wow.

So how do you top that? Oh yeah The Fall Classic

The Essentials
Pittsburg State Gorillas (5-5, 3-5) Vs
Northwest Missouri State Bearcats (8-0, 7-0)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO November 13, 2010 2:00 pm CST

The Offense
As usual this game features opposite offensive strategies. Pitt State is the #1 rushing team in the conference and the #9 rushing team in Division 2. Their attack is led by JR QB Zac Dickey and SR RB Terrance Issac. Make no mistake this is not a Gorillas' attack that would be considered a juggernaut. They are 78th in total offense, 141st in passing and the 89th scoring offense, which come in at 5th, 10th and 7th in the MIAA.

The Bearcats meanwhile are still looking for a running game. Bolles led the way last week with 97 yards, most of which came off one run. But, look for the Cats to rack up some yardage against this defense. Especially coming off a week when they were "bottled-up" against UCM.

The Defense
Again, PSU ain't what they use to be. The 99th ranked total D is 127th against the pass and 68th against the run, nationally. And they're allowing 25.8 point per game. This defense is in the bottom half of all conference statics. It's young though, as their two leading tacklers are underclassmen. Look for Bolles, Soy and Shaw to have a big day through the air.

Northwest in the meantime continues to hum along. After facing three high-powered offenses three weeks straight, their national rankings have taken a hit. But, they are still the #1 scoring and rush D, the #2 total D and the #6 passing D in the conference.

The Prediction
Well it is the Arrowhead game, NW vs Pitt State and that in itself makes it a big one. Although the Cats have never lost to the Gorillas in Arrowhead, this rivalry is still as bitter as ever. The Bearcats are trying to sew up a first round playoff bye, win the conference outright and extend their MIAA winning streak to 46 games. And, Heintzelman from tells us that if PSU wins and MO West gets into the playoffs, the Gorillas will likely be chosen for the Mineral Water Bowl. So there is some motivation for the Gorillas in this one beyond the normal rivarly.

This game features the #1 rush O verse the #1 rush D in the MIAA, so we'll see who breaks first. If Pitt State wants to have a chance in this game they have to control the clock and keep the NW offense off the field. If they can eat up clock with long, run-heavy drives, they may have a chance. For the Bearcats, they shouldn't have a problem moving the ball and scoring. Unless there is a hang over from the UCM game, I just don't think the Cats will struggle. Pitt State 17 - NW 35

The Tailgate
This has become the big game for NW fans. Tailgating out at Arrowhead has become a nice tradition. All the official information has been posted here.

On a personal note: have fun fellas. You know I'll be there with ya in spirit. The Arrowhead 14 Tailgate will be an instant classic. So if you, reader, find yourself in the NE corner of Lot C, ask for Pup, Tit, Tray or Toby, get some great grub for $10, Tell em I sent ya and have a beer on me.

Go CATS!!!!!

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