Northwest Missouri State football is in familiar territory: deep in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
The Bearcats advanced to the final eight on Saturday with a 28-9 victory over Harding in Searcy, Arkansas.
Northwest Missouri quarterback Braden Wright passed for 231 yards and three touchdowns as the Bearcats took control of the game in the second half and put an end to Harding’s 14-game home win streak.
Northwest Missouri linebacker Jackson Barnes, a senior who played in high school at Liberty, came through with a game-high 15 tackles, a fumble recovery and a blocked field-goal try on Saturday.
Northwest Missouri will square off in the quarterfinals against Ferris State in Big Rapids, Michigan, on Dec. 4.
Missouri State Bears fall in FCS playoffs
Dresser Winn threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Donnell Williams with 3 minutes, 36 seconds remaining, and UT Martin forced a pair of late interceptions in beating Missouri State 32-31 in the first round of the Football Championship Series playoffs in Springfield, Missouri on Saturday.
Missouri State QB Jason Shelley threw a pass picked off by UT Martin’s John Ford before Winn and Williams connected for the game-winning score on the next play.
On the Bears’ final drive, Shelley led them to the UT Martin 46, but he threw an interception to D’Carrious Stephens with 1:03 left.
There were eight lead changes in the game.
Shelley was 22 of 42 passing for 279 yards and threw three touchdown passes and three interceptions for Missouri State (8-4). He added 93 yards rushing on 13 carries. Xavier Lane had seven receptions for 110 yards that included a 29-yard TD catch late in the third quarter that gave the Bears a 31-26 advantage.
The Ohio Valley Conference champion Skyhawks (10-2) will face eighth-seeded Montana State in the second round.