Sep 16, 2023

🏈🎙️ Tigers tangle with No. 15/13 Bearcats Saturday night in Hays

Posted Sep 16, 2023 3:00 PM

FHSU Athletics

#15/13 Northwest Missouri State (1-1, 1-1 MIAA) vs.
Fort Hays State (1-1, 1-1 MIAA)

Saturday, September 16 - 7 p.m.
Hays, Kan. – Lewis Field
Sponsored by American Family Insurance – Brian Ruder Agency
Video: The MIAA Network CLICK HERE TO WATCH ($)

Fort Hays State Football plays its second consecutive nationally ranked opponent at home on Saturday evening (Sept. 16) when No. 15/13 ranked Northwest Missouri State comes to town. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays. Live coverage includes The MIAA Network, radio, and live stats.

Both teams are coming off Week 2 losses and sit at 1-1 on the season. FHSU fell to defending MIAA champion and No. 3/3 ranked Pittsburg State last week in Hays by a score of 40-14. A No. 5/5 ranked Northwest Missouri State team had its 18-game home win streak snapped at the hands of then No. 18/15 ranked Emporia State by a score of 33-13. Emporia State moved up to No. 12/11 this week after the win and joined No. 3/3 ranked Pittsburg State and Central Missouri as the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the MIAA, while Northwest Missouri State slid to No. 15/13 in the latest polls.

In all 16 previous meetings against Fort Hays State in MIAA play, Northwest Missouri State held a top 25 national ranking and that trend continues this year for the 17th time in a row. However, this is the lowest the Bearcats have been ranked in the AFCA Poll in any meeting with FHSU in MIAA play. The Bearcats have a 14-2 advantage in the series since FHSU joined the MIAA in 2006. The Bearcats have won four NCAA Division II national titles since the Tigers joined the MIAA, the last being in 2016. Overall, the series sits at 22-14-1 in favor of the Bearcats.

Last year, the Bearcats defeated the Tigers in the 2022 season opener in Maryville. The Bearcats were ranked No. 2/4 entering that contest, which they won by a score of 33-19. It snapped a string of four straight games between the teams decided by one score.

In 2017, Fort Hays State used a 13-12 win in Maryville to claim their first MIAA championship, ending the then defending national champion's 23-game home field win streak that went back to the 2014 season. The following year, the Tigers went back to Maryville and won 17-16, which helped them go on to claim a share of the MIAA title with the Bearcats. In 2019, the Bearcats won a double overtime thriller in Hays by a score of 36-33, then after the COVID year off came back to Hays to win 15-7 in 2021.Fort Hays State is looking to end a string of eight straight losses to NWMSU in Hays, which goes back to 1979. Four of the games in the eight-game run have been decided by 10 points or less.

Fort Hays State quarterback Jack Dawson has 482 passing yards this season with seven touchdowns to just one interception. He threw for over 300 yards for the first time in his career in Week 1 at Northeastern State with 317, completing 20-of-23 attempts. Junior transfer Hosia Stokes leads FHSU receivers with 142 yards, while Trevor Watts has a team-high nine receptions and Jayden Horace has a team-best two receiving touchdowns. Tight end Cale Cormaney joins the trio as four Tigers with 80 or more receiving yards through two games. Travis Dixon leads the Tiger ground game with 75 yards on 24 carries so far this season.

Makel Williams leads the Tiger defense with 16 tackles after a career-high 13 in Week 2 against Pittsburg State. The Tigers have spread around five interceptions evenly so far, which includes Williams, Myles Menges, Mason Perez, Trevion Mitchell and Kobe Rome. Perez and John Johnson are the only other Tigers to reach double figures in tackles through two games with 11 each. Demetri Scott leads Tiger defensive linemen in tackles with eight.