Northwest Missouri 39, North Dakota St. 28
MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) _ Tony Miles returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and Derek Lane scored on a 29-yard run to rally third-ranked Northwest Missouri State to a 39-28 victory over North Dakota State in the first round of the NCAA Division II playoffs Saturday.
The Bearcats, continuing an undefeated season at 12-0, meet defending champion Northern Colorado next week. The Bears defeated Pittsburg State 24-16 Saturday in another first round game.
Northwest Missouri, which has rebounded from an 0-11 season in 1994, lost to Northern Colorado last year 27-26 in the quarterfinals when the Bears scored with 12 seconds to play.
Miles returned the kickoff for a touchdown after Tim Strehlow had caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Feeney to put the No. 16 Bison (9-3) ahead 21-12.
Lane then scored with 2:01 left in the third quarter to put Northwest Missouri ahead for the first time at 26-21.
The Bearcats led 33-21 with 8:58 left in the game on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Chris Greisen to Matt Becker.
Feeney connected with Eric Nelson on a 4-yard touchdown pass to bring the Bison back to within 33-28 with 5:53 to play, but Bobby Nelson intercepted Feeney, the third interception thrown by Feeney, and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown with 12 seconds left.
Jake Morris scored on runs of 4 and 64 yards as North Dakota State took a 14-3 lead on Morris’ second scoring run with 4:20 left in the first half.
Northwest Missouri got back within 14-10 at the half on a 43-yard field goal by Dave Purnell and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Greisen to Wade Hanson.
The Bearcats then had a safety midway through the third quarter.
Greisen, who set a Northwest Missouri record for single-season passing yardage this year with 2,456 yards, completed 15 of 31 passes for 251 yards and was intercepted twice. Hanson had five catches for 117 yards.
Morris rushed for 155 yards on 28 carries for the Bison.