The Bearcats split squad spring scrimmage was highlighted by field goals until the final four minutes of the contest.
The White team's Phil Jackson rushed into the end zone from three yards out to put his squad ahead 16-3 over the Green team.
Green scored a late touchdown with 20 seconds to play on an 87-yard pass from Jonathan Baker to Shane Williams.
Green's late push wasn't enough as White hung on for a 16-10 win in the exhibition.
Both of Northwest's defensive units stifled the Bearcats' offensive attack.
The winning team, White, mustered 89 yards through the air -- Brady Bolles led the way going 4-10 for 46 yards. Bolles also rushed for seven yards on two carries.
Jackson and Randy Schmidt carried the White squad's rushing attack. Schmidt rushed for 51 yards; Jackson had 21 yards and a touchdown on four carries
The Green team totaled 153 yards of offense, with more than half coming on Baker's late touchdown pass to Williams.
Baker, Kyle Zimmerman and Brad Strauss combine to pass for 125 yards on just three completions.
Placekicker Simon Mathiesen went 3-3 nailing field goals from 27, 44 and 50 yards in the scrimmage.
Neither defensive unit forced a turnover in the contest. Brock Sherman led all players with five tackles. Collin Bevins had four tackles and a sack.
The Bearcats led the MIAA in 2013 allowing just 17.3 points and 179 pass yards per game. Northwest also had a conference-high 49 sacks.
Seven of the 11 primary defensive starters from the 2013 national championship squad return for the Bearcats.
Northwest's first game as it begins its title defense comes September sixth in Maryville against Nebraska-Kearney.