By GERARD WELLBROCK
HAYS, Kan. –Fort Hays State used stellar defense and some big pass plays to knock off No. 15/13 Northwest Missouri State 17-6 in front of 6,237 at Lewis Field Saturday night.
The loss snapped an eight-game home losing streak to the Bearcats and improved them to 2-1 overall and in the MIAA. The Bearcats fall to 1-2 after losing back-to-back games for the first time since 2017.
The Tiger defense was solid all night long, holding Northwest to just 291 yards, 68 of which came on the Bearcats final possession of the game. The Bearcats made into the red zone three times but had to settle for two field goals. They fumbled on their third trip at the Tiger four yard line. Defensive end Parish Terry knocked to ball out of Jay Harris's hands which was recovered by linebacker Makel Williams with FHSU leading 10-6 in the fourth quarter.
Fort Hays State then marched 96 yards for a game-sealing touchdown on a 33-yard pass from Jack Dawson to Bryson Smith with 5:30 to play. Smith also hauled in an 18-yard strike from Dawson on the Tigers first possession of the third quarter to give FHSU a 10-3 lead.
Smith finished with 109 receiving yards on just four catches and also threw a 57-yard pass to Trevor Watts in the first quarter. Watts finished with seven receptions for 126 yards. Jayden Horace add 83 receiving yards on two catches.
The majority of the Tigers 353 yards of total offense came through the air. Dawson completed 17 of 33 passes for 289 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The Bearcats held FHSU to only seven rushing yards on 24 carries and also had four quarterback sacks.
The Tiger defense also recorded four sacks on Northwest redshirt freshman quarterback Henry Martin who was making his first start following an injury to Mike Hohense last week vs. Emporia State. Jason Wallace had two sacks, one solo and two assisted. Terry finished with 1.5 sacks and Myles Menges a half. Linebacker John Johnson led the Tiger defense with 11 tackles.
Tigers head to St. Joseph, Mo. next week to take on Missouri Western. The Tigers will be looking to snap a four-game losing skid to the Griffons going back to the 2018 season. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 23).