The Northeastern State football team dropped its Homecoming contest by a score of 45-31 to No. 5 Missouri Western State Saturday evening at Doc Wadley Stadium.
The RiverHawks (0-6, 0-6 MIAA) were outgained in total offense 466-436 by the Griffons (6-0, 5-0), but the home team had the advantage through the air, 264-229. The 436 yards by NSU and the 31 points scored by the RiverHawks were both season highs allowed by Missouri Western State.
Northeastern State was led by sophomore running back Joel Rockmore, who recorded 203 all-purpose yards and tied his career high with three rushing touchdowns. He had 20 carries for 131 yards, three receptions for 27 yards, and two kickoff returns for 45 yards.
Sophomore quarterback Johnny Deaton was 14-for-28 passing for 204 yards. Senior wide receiver Jahmai Coleman had a game-high six catches and 77 yards. Junior receiver Gionni Harris contributed three receptions for 69 yards.
Junior cornerback Vernon Jones recorded a career-high two interceptions, and five members of the defense had double-digit tackles. Senior defensive back Terrence Leach led the way with his career-high 14 stops, junior safety Victor Johnson recorded 13 tackles, and junior linebacker Langston Jones had 12 stops. Junior linebacker Jack Gray (11 tackles) and sophomore linebacker Cayle Shambaugh (10) each recorded career highs.
NSU got on the board first following a 29-yard field goal from junior kicker Drew Patton on the team's second drive of the game.
The 3-0 advantage was noteworthy because Missouri Western State had yet to trail in a game all season, and the Griffons had not allowed a point in the first quarter of any game this year.
Michael Hill would score for the Griffons on a 72-yard scamper a little more than a minute later to give MWSU a lead it would not relinquish.
The Griffon running back would end the day with 195 yards rushing and the lone score.
Quarterback Travis Partridge had five touchdowns, with the first coming on a six-yard carry with 5:02 to play in the first quarter.
His first passing strike came 57 seconds into the second stanza when his 14-yard throw found Tarrell Downing, giving the road side the 21-3 advantage.
Rockmore scored three minutes later on a 20-yard run to cut into the lead, but Partridge would find Reggie Jordan for a two-yard strike at the 5:19 mark.
The RiverHawks scored with just 31 seconds left in the half to again cut into the lead. Senior quarterback Dallas McCutcheon threw a 26-yard pass to Coleman, who barreled his way across the goal line with help from his offensive line.
Tyron Crockom scored on a 19-yard pass from Partridge early in the third, and Rockmore scored his second TD of the game at the 7:55 mark to make the score 35-24 in favor of the visitors.
The two teams would exchange scores one more time, and Missouri Western State would put a final nail in the coffin on the second play of the fourth quarter on Taylor Anderson's 35-yard field goal.
Northeastern State enters its bye week and will next face Central Missouri at 2 p.m. Oct. 20.