The Fall Classic at Arrowhead III
 
 

Nov. 5, 2004

From Pittsburg State Athletics

 

Pittsburg State University, the top-ranked team in NCAA Division II, and second-ranked Northwest Missouri State University, return to Kansas City, Mo., Saturday (Nov. 6) to face off in the Fall Classic at Arrowhead III.

 

The game features the two dominant programs of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association during the past decade, and the match-up will feature a winner-takes-all battle for the 2004 MIAA Championship. The game also features the top two teams in the Southwest Region with the top seed and homefield in the playoffs on the line.

 

Also, for the first time in NCAA Division II history, two unbeaten teams meet on the gridiron in a regular season finale. Pittsburg State, the winningest all-time NCAA Division II program, enters the game with an unblemished 10-0 record, including an 8-0 mark in MIAA play. Northwest sports an identical 10-0 record with an 8-0 MIAA slate.

 

The Gorillas posted a 47-27 victory over Central Missouri State University last Saturday (Oct. 30) at Brandenburg Field/Carnie Smith Stadium, while the Bearcats posted a 34-22 road win against Southwest Baptist University at Bolivar, Mo.

 

PSU sports the nation's top offensive unit, as the Gorillas lead Division II in scoring (63.4 ppg), rushing (389.0 ypg) and total offense (654.2 ypg). [for complete national statistics, see page 4] In fact, the Gorillas are 14 yards per game above the pace of the most prolific offense in NCAA history - a 1984 Mississippi Valley State University (NCAA I-AA) squad featuring Jerry Rice that averaged 640.1 yards of total offense per game.

 

The Coaches

Pittsburg State's Chuck Broyles is in his 15th season at the helm of his alma mater (PSU, '70). The only collegiate coach since the 1890s to win 100 games in less than 10 full seasons, Broyles has guided the Gorillas to a 150-29-2 (.834) record since taking charge in 1990. He is the winningest active NCAA-II head coach, by percentage, and the winningest active coach among all NCAA I-A, I-AA, and II schools. Broyles also is the winningest head coach in Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and Pittsburg State history. With a victory against Northwest, Broyles would capture his ninth all-time MIAA title - the most league crowns won by any MIAA coach. He currently is tied atop the chart with former Truman coach Maurice "Red" Wade, who won eight MIAA titles between 1951 and 1965. PSU has qualified for the NCAA-II national playoffs in 12 of his 14 seasons (1990-97, 1999- 2001, '03) and the Gorillas have reached the NCAA-II National Championship game three times (1991-92, '95) under his leadership, including the 1991 NCAA Division II national title. He was named the AFCA Division II National Coach of the Year that season. This will be Broyles' 15th career meeting vs. Northwest. He has a 7-7-0 record all-time against

the Bearcats.

 

Mel Tjeerdsma is in his 11th season at NWMSU and his 21st year as a collegiate head coach. Tjeerdsma (Southern State, '67) has guided the Bearcats to a 106-29-0 (.785) overall record, including back-to-back NCAA-II national championships in 1998-99. Tjeerdsma posted an 0-11-0 record in his first year at Northwest in 1994. Two years later, his Bearcats posted an 11-2-0 record and shared the 1996 MIAA title with PSU. His 1998 squad went 14-1 en route to the school's first NCAA-II national championship and his 1999 team enjoyed an unblemished 15-0 record.

 

Tjeerdsma ranks second on the MIAA's all-time victories list with 106 wins and he's tied for third all-time among MIAA coaches with seven conference titles (1996-2000, '02-03). He's been named MIAA Coach of the Year in all seven MIAA title seasons, and Tjeerdsma garnered AFCA Division II National Coach of the Year honors in both 1998 and 1999. Prior to coming to Northwest, Tjeerdsma compiled a 60-38-4 record in 10 seasons at Austin College. This will be his 11th meeting vs. Pitt State. Tjeerdsma is 7-3 all-time vs. the Gorillas.

 

The Fall Classic at Arrowhead III

Saturday's game between Pitt State and Northwest is the third NCAA Division II game between the schools to be played at Arrowhead Stadium, which has hosted numerous other NCAA games. In 2002, 26,695 fans attended the Clash of Champions between Pitt State and NWMSU at Arrowhead on Oct. 17. That game set a single-game attendance record for a Division II match-up held at a professional sports venue. Northwest won the game, 29-7. Last year, 20,324 fans attended The Fall Classic at Arrowhead on Nov. 15, when the two schools decided the 2003 MIAA Championship in the regular season finale. Northwest posted a 20-19 win to force a five-way tie (with PSU, CMSU, ESU and MWSC) for the league title.

 

The Pitt State-Northwest Series

This will be the 34th meeting between the Gorillas and the Bearcats in a series that dates all the way back to the 1932 season. PSU holds an 18-15-0 advantage in the series. The Gorillas are 11-6-0 vs. the Bearcats in Pittsburg, 7-7-0 vs. the Bearcats at Maryville, and 0-2-0 at neutral sites all-time. Last year, Nathan Alleman's potential game-winning 32-yard field goal was blocked by Tony Glover with 55 seconds to play to help Northwest take a 20-19 win over eighth-ranked Pitt State. The loss prevented Pitt State from claiming the MIAA title outright, and forced the Gorillas to share the 2003 crown with Northwest and three others. PSU trailed, 20-6, before scoring twice in the fourth quarter to close the gap. Germaine Race's 10-yard run with 7:49 remaining drew the Gorillas within 20-19, but Alleman failed to convert the PAT.

 

MIAA Title Match-up

For just the second time in three decades, the MIAA will crown an outright champion following a meeting of the top two teams in a winner-takes-all game in the regular season finale. In 2001, Pitt State and Central Missouri met on Thursday, Nov. 8, at Warrensburg, Mo., to decide the MIAA championship. The Gorillas rolled to a 38-13 victory in that contest with then-freshman quarterback Neal Philpot rushing for 125 yards and two TDs and passing for a third score. Prior to the 2001 season, the last time the MIAA crown was decided head-to-head in the final week was in 1968, when CMSU met Southeast Missouri State University on Nov. 16 at Cape Girardeau, Mo. The Indians (6-4, 5-0 MIAA) defeated the Mules (7-2-1, 4-1 MIAA), 35-7, that year.

 

More on the MIAA Title Contest

It should come as no surprise that the winner of today's match-up in The Fall Classic at Arrowhead III will claim the 2004 MIAA Championship. Pitt State and Northwest have combined to win 14 of the last 15 MIAA titles dating back to the 1989 season when PSU joined the MIAA. Pitt State has won outright or shared nine MIAA titles during that time (1989-92, 1994-96, 2001, '03), while Northwest has won outright or shared seven MIAA titles in the last eight seasons (1996-2000, 2002-03).

 

Missouri Southern was the last school to rain on Pitt State and Northwest's title parade, back in 1993. Pitt State has enjoyed unparalleled consistent success in the MIAA since joining the conference in 1989. Pitt State has posted an amazing 128-15-1 (.892) record against its MIAA opponents, with a 67-5-1 (.925) home mark, a 61-8-0 (.884) road record and an 0-2-0 (.000) record on neutral fields. Northwest has the second-highest winning percentage during the past 15 seasons in the MIAA. The Bearcats have posted a 103-41-0 (.715) overall record in MIAA play during that span. Northwest has an equally impressive 65-6-0 (.915) record in MIAA action since the start of the 1996 season. The Bearcats have won 19 MIAA titles in the school's history.

 

PSU's Regular Season Success

Pitt State has won 183 of its last 204 regular season games, posting a phenomenal 183-19-2 mark (.902) during the past 20 regular seasons (1985-2004). Pitt State is 99-5-1 (.948) at home, 83-12-1 (.870) on the road and 1-2-0 (.333) at neutral sites in the regular season during that span.


 

 


 
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