Story and photo courtesy of Missouri Western State Athletics
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Missouri Western's magical run during the 2012 football season continued Saturday afternoon at Spratt Stadium.
Behind entering the fourth quarter, the Griffons came back and tied it twice, and won the game in three overtimes, defeating 2010 National Champions Minnesota-Duluth 57-55. Chase Vogler, who finished the game with 184 rushing yards and 195 passing, tripped as he snapped the ball to try and tie the game in the third overtime period.
The Griffons started out the playoff match the same way as they did in 2011, with a turnover.
Vogler through a pass to the Joe Reichert, but the wide-out couldn't haul it in and it tipped over his head and landed into safety Marc Harrison's hands. Harrison took the ball into Duluth territory, and the offense did the rest.
Travis Partridge nailed Tyron Crockom on the right sideline, and Crockom went forward to the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown. Missouri Western led 7-0 after with 12 minutes and 35 seconds to go in the first quarter.
After a Bulldogs field goal, the Griffons went right back to the air, and Partridge hit Reggie Jordan in the end zone for an 8-yard score to mark the game 14-3 with 5:08 left in the first. Duluth knocked another field goal in before the quarter, and went into the second stanza behind 14-6.
The Bulldogs scored two times in the second quarter, which started after the Bulldogs forced a Griffon turnover in the red zone, to take a 20-14 lead. Duluth failed on a 42-yard field goal at the end of the half, however, and the Griffons recovered in the second half.
Michael Hill, who finished the game with 187 rushing yards, dashed two big runs out on the opening drive of the half. Partridge hit Kyle Knox for a 16-yard touchdown and his third of the game to put the Griffons up 21-20.
Duluth snatched the lead right back as Vogler ran the ball in for a 1-yard score. The Bulldogs then went for a two-point conversion, and Vogler nailed tight end Ben Helmer across the middle to go ahead 28-21.
Starting the fourth quarter, MWSU tied the game as Partridge dropped back then sprinted forward for a 9-yard touchdown. But Duluth answered with Austin Sikorski's 1-yard run to make it 35-28.
The Griffons drove right back down field, and went 13 plays for 73 yards, finishing off the drive with Partridge's 1-yard score with 5:17 to play. That's when the defense stepped up.
Duluth traveled inside the 25-yard line, but David Bass sacked Volger on third down, followed by a fourth-down conversion that came up short for the Bulldogs, forcing the action into an extra quarter.
In overtime, Hill dashed in a 7-yad touchdown to give the Griffons a 42-35 lead. A few plays later, Sikorski pounded in a 2-yard score to tie the game up at 42.
Duluth took over again to start the second period, and Sikorski powered his way in for a 4-yard touchdown. Partridge answered with a 1-yard score of his own to tie the game at 49.
Entering the third overtime and needing a 2-point conversion from there-on, Partridge scored his seventh touchdown of the game, and fourth on the ground. He then hit up Jordan in the end zone for the extra two to mark the game 57-49.
Duluth needed a score and another, and ran Sikorski in for his fifth touchdown to make it 57-55. That's when Vogler tripped under center as the Griffons stormed the field in excitement, winning their first playoff game in school history.
Partridge finished going 24-for-33 with three touchdowns. Downing had six catches for 144 yards. Knox, Crockom, Wright and Jordan all had multiple catches to help the Griffons win.
Harrison had a huge day defensively, totaling 12 tackles with the one interception. Bass had 11 tackles with one sack.
It was the first overtime win for the Griffons since Aug. 31, 2006 when MWSU defeated Central Oklahoma 32-29 in double-overtime.
Up Next: The Griffons move on and play No. 2 seeded Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Ark. on Saturday, Nov. 24. Kickoff is set for noon.