WARRENSBURG, Missouri – The Northwest Missouri State Bearcat football team claimed a share of the program’s 29th MIAA title with a 48-21 whitewashing of the Central Missouri Mules at Walton Stadium.
Senior running back Josh Caldwell scored four touchdowns and surpassed 100 yards on the ground for the first time as a Bearcat in the victory. Caldwell rushed for three scores (1, 34, 22) and caught another (20). Caldwell rushed for 182 yards on 15 carries. Caldwell caught two passes for 24 yards. Caldwell tallied a team-best 206 all-purpose yards.
Northwest put up 517 yards of total offense. The Bearcats gained 281 on the ground and 236 through the air. The Bearcats piled up 42:13 of time of possession and ran 88 total plays.
Central Missouri came into the contest averaging 494.1 yards per game which was tops in the MIAA and No. 11 in the nation. The Bearcats held the Mules to 187 total yards. UCM was also averaging 36.1 points per game. UCM had 10 first downs and ran only 53 total plays.
The Bearcats built a 45-0 lead through three quarters before the Mules found the end zone for a trio of cosmetic touchdowns in the fourth.
Northwest moves to 9-2 on the season, while Central Missouri falls to 5-6 on the year. Northwest will share the MIAA regular season title with Fort Hays State.
The 2018 NCAA Division II playoff selection show will air on Sunday at 4 p.m. on www.NCAA.com. The Division II playoffs will begin Sat., Nov. 17, at campus sites.
NOTES: Josh Caldwell had 15 100-yard rushing games for Missouri Western before surpassing the 100-yard mark for the first time in a Bearcat uniform … Northwest has won five of the last six MIAA regular season titles … Northwest has defeated Central Missouri six straight times … Braden Wright passed for 236 yards on 21-of-32 passing with three touchdowns … Wright connected with 10 different Bearcat receivers … Parker Sampson made two field goals (44, 30) … Jack Richards collected six tackles and an interception … Brody Buck picked off a pass and returned it 31 yards to set up a first-quarter touchdown … Nick Hess recovered a fumble … Spencer Phillips and Zach Howard combined for Northwest’s only sack of the game.