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Northwest Stuffs Pitt in Fall Classic Victory

The Gorillas totaled just 27 net rushing yards in Saturday's loss to the Bearcats.
(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Defenses ruled in a battle of top ten teams on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium, but it was the Northwest defense (7-0, 6-0 MIAA) that accounted for four points and earned a 24-15 win.

It's a second straight Fall Classic loss for No. 7 Pittsburg State (6-1, 5-1 MIAA) as they were held scoreless in the second half.

The Bearcat offense started slow, not finding the end zone until late in the second quarter, but quarterback Brady Bolles punched in a pair of third quarter touchdown runs to take the lead for good.

Northwest's defense was all over the field forcing two fumbles, picking off two passes and held Pitt to just 27 yards rushing -- their lowest total in more than a decade.

The Gorillas did manage to draw first blood. Anthony Abenoja hit Marquise Cushon for a 37-yard touchdown pass on their second drive of the game.

The score remained 7-0 until the second quarter. Trevor Adams' pooch punt was downed at the one-yard line, and running back Jeff Seybold was driven backwards on the next play resulting in a safety. Linebacker Cody Matthewson led the charge on the play.

Later in the half, linebacker DJ Gnader picked off Abenoja and returned it to the Gorilla nine-yard line. Bolles threw a touchdown pass to Reuben Thomas two plays later to take a 8-7 lead.

Bolles entered the game with 14:24 left in the first half, and remained in for the rest of the contest. Starting quarterback Trevor Adams left with a shoulder injury, but head coach Adam Dorrel is optimistic about his status.

"Everything looks really good. They're saying it's just a bruise."

Adams was 7-11 for 44 yards before leaving the game.

His backup, Bolles, led Northwest on a quick opening drive of the second half to tie the game.

Trailing Pittsburg State 15-8 coming out of halftime, Bolles hit Thomas for 42 yards on the second play, then scampered into the end zone from eight yards out.

After the teams traded a pair of punts, the Gorillas kicked it back to the Bearcats, but Griffin Knopp's punt was shanked out of bounds to set Northwest up at the Pitt 23-yard line.

Bolles made quick work of it rushing into the end zone three plays later to put the 'Cats on top.

The score remained 22-15 until late in the fourth quarter. The Gorillas began a drive with 1:59 on the clock at their own four-yard line.

Abenoja tried to pass out of his own end zone, but was sacked by Eric Reimer and Matt Longacre for a second safety, and the finishing touches of a Bearcat win.

Bolles was 8-16 for 114 yards, a touchdown and interception, and rushed for 52 yards.

Robert Burton led the Bearcats with 89 rush yards on 15 carries.

No. 2 Northwest returns home next Saturday for Homecoming against Missouri Southern.
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