NW Missouri wins second consecutive championship in snowy showdown with North Alabama

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Kyle Zimmerman passed for 100 yards and Northwest Missouri State plowed over North Alabama 29-3 on Saturday in snow-globe conditions to win its second straight NCAA Division II title and record sixth overall.

Randy Schmidt added 96 yards rushing for Northwest Missouri State (15-0) in what was believed to be the coldest and snowiest Division II title game in its 43-year history.

The Bearcats have won 30 straight games, the longest active win streak in any NCAA division. They won their first four titles in 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2013.

At opening kickoff at Children’s Mercy Park, the temperature was 13 degrees with a wind chill of minus-4. To open the third quarter, it was 12 degrees with a wind chill of minus-5.

Northwest Missouri’s Phil Jackson put it away midway through the third quarter as the heaviest wave of snow fell. On first-and-goal, Zimmerman handed Jackson the ball and shoved his way into the end zone for a 2-yard rushing touchdown.

The Bearcats weren’t done, scoring a flurry of points in the fourth quarter.

Northwest Missouri came up with a safety, though to minimal effort on its part, with 8 minutes left. North Alabama (11-2) botched a punt snap at its 31. The ball spun backward toward the end zone and punter Jeb Millender soccer-kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone.

On the following drive, Northwest Missouri scored again on Zimmerman’s 13-yard pass to Shane Williams.

Northwest Missouri scored again with less than a minute remaining, with Jackson bolting into the end zone from 10 yards out.

Holding onto the ball was a problem for both teams. There were multiple botched snaps, eight combined fumbles, 39 incomplete passes and two interceptions.

The go-ahead score for Northwest Missouri came in the second quarter when Schmidt tossed a 7-yard shovel pass to running back Jordan Grove.

North Alabama came within striking distance on the ensuing drive, but after the Bearcats’ defense came away with three passes defensed, the Lions settled for a 21-yard field goal from Kevin Henke. They wouldn’t score again.

For North Alabama, Jacob Tucker had 179 yards passing, Julius Jones added 82 yards receiving, and Ray Beasley had 29 yards rushing.


With the continued snow fall during the game, members of the grounds crew used snow blowers and shovels to attempt to keep the yard markers and sidelines visible. Even though they worked during time outs and play stoppages, they had a difficult time keeping up.

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