December 22, 2013 in Sports

Northwest Missouri State tops Lenoir-Rhyne 43-28

John Zenor Associated Press
 

FLORENCE, Ala. – Trevor Adams passed for 277 yards and three touchdowns to lead Northwest Missouri State to a 43-28 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday in the Division II football championship game.

The Bearcats (15-0) won their fourth national title to match Grand Valley State for second-most behind North Dakota State’s five. They’re the fifth team to go 15-0, managing that feat for a second time.

Lenoir-Rhyne (13-2) fell short in the onetime NAIA champion’s second appearance in the Division II playoffs.

Adams completed 15 of 25 of passes with touchdowns of 29 and 30 yards to Reuben Thomas. The pair hooked up for their first score on fourth-and-7 on the opening drive and the Bearcats were up 17-0 after 10 minutes.

Lenoir-Rhyne’s spread flexbone offense couldn’t catch up, despite a quick spark from backup quarterback and playoff star Josh Justice when he came in midway through the third quarter.

It was a record eighth title game appearance for Northwest Missouri, which claimed its first championship since 2009.

The Bearcats remained in control throughout following the fast start.

Lenoir-Rhyne had won 13 consecutive games since losing its opener, despite losing quarterback Miles Freeman to a leg injury during the regular season and having backup Teverrius Jones go down with a neck injury in the second round of the playoffs.

Both quarterbacks were hurt before or during this game.

Jones returned to start this game after Justice came up big in all three playoff wins, but never got the offense going.

Lenoir-Rhyne fumbled five times, losing two.

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