The Northwest Missouri State Bearcats won their second National Championship, third in four years, and sixth overall with a 29-3 win over North Alabama. Under a constant snowfall throughout the game, the defense came up big against the dual-threat quarterback Jacob Tucker of North Alabama. The Bearcats held North Alabama to 22 yards rushing on 33 carries.
North Alabama’s offense had some success early moving the ball but did not threaten to score until early in the second quarter. At the five-yard line, Tucker threw across his body and into traffic, which led to an interception for Jack Young to keep the game scoreless.
Kyle Zimmerman, whose health was uncertain after last week’s game, threw a pick deep in North Alabama territory a few drives later. Late in the second quarter, it was the Bearcats who struck first on a drive led by Randy Schmidt at quarterback. It ended with Schmidt on a shovel pass to Jordan Grove from 7 yards out to make it 7-0. In response, the Lions drove down the field with less than a minute to go and settled for a 21-yard field goal from Kevin Henke to close the gap to 7-3 at halftime.
The second half began well for North Alabama. They forced a fumble and recovered it at their own 40, but they ended up losing a fumble of their own to give it right back. On their next drive, Tucker was sacked and lost another fumble that set the Bearcats up in great field position. The Bearcats made them pay with Phil Jackson running for a 2-yard touchdown to make it 14-3.
After that touchdown, it was tough sledding for North Alabama on offense. The Bearcats forced a safety on a punt midway through the fourth quarter and then added two more scores in the form of a 13-yard receiving touchdown by Shane Williams and a 10 yard run by Jackson.
North Alabama was led by Jacob Tucker, but he had a very subpar game in the snow going 15 of 41 passing for 179 yards and an interception. He was also held to 26 yards rushing on 21 carries while Ray Beasley led the team with 29 yards rushing on 4 attempts. The Lions went 4 of 18 on third down, went 0 for 3 on fourth down, and had 201 yards of total offense.
The Bearcats were led by Randy Schmidt who made some good plays. He led the team in rushing with 96 yards on 14 carries and also had a touchdown passing. However, his best play was this gem:
— NCAA Division II (@NCAADII) December 17, 2016
Kyle Zimmerman went 13 of 26 passing for 100 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception thrown. The Bearcats ran for 226 yards on 40 carries as a team. Phil Jackson finished with 76 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Cass Weitl had a monster game on defense for the Bearcats with 2 sacks and he was constantly in the North Alabama backfield.
Northwest Missouri State completed an undefeated season going 15-0 and winning their 30th straight game. It was Adam Dorrel’s third title as coach of the Bearcats since he started coaching the team in 2011.
Photo Courtesy of Childrens Mercy Park via Twitter