(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Northwest Missouri State collects its second playoff shutout in program history Saturday afternoon with a 35-0 win over Harding.
The Bearcats, seeded fourth in Super Region 3, took the opening kickoff and marched 70 yards on 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead.
But it was not all smiles on the Northwest sidline after the drive.
Senior running back James Franklin left the game after the second play from scrimmage, and did not return.
Franklin was hit hard on Northwest's first play, and was in obvious pain as he was taken to the lockerroom before the drive was over.
Billy Creason was able to step in and carry the load.
Creason rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries to pace the Bearcats.
Northwest was also missing senior running back and returner Jordan Simmons.
Simmons broke his arm in practice on Tuesday.
Bearcat head coach Adam Dorrel is confident that Simmons and Franklin will be ready for the second round of the playoffs.
Northwest's defense was also impressive, shutting down the Bisons triple-option attack throughout the day.
Harding had an opportunity to get on the scoreboard on its first drive of the game, but with the ball down to the Northwest 6-yardline, Kelvin Martin fumbled and Zach Williams recovered for Northwest.
Nate DeJong and Brandon Dixon also added interceptions to help stymie the Harding offense.
Northwest's Trevor Adams threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns on 17 completions. His main target was wide receiver Tyler Shaw.
Shaw caught five passes for 119 yards and a touchdown.
Northwest advances to play at Minnesota State Mankato next Saturday.