Northwest (copy)

MARYVILLE, Mo. — As Northeastern State quarterback Jacob Medrano dropped back to pass on the first play of the game, he watched the ball hit the ground. The same ringed true much of Saturday afternoon against No. 14 Northwest at Bearcat Stadium.

Ahead of the Bearcats (8-1) matchup with Northeastern State (0-9), Bearcats defensive linemen Mike Ehlke said that the win was expected, but it was about winning in a certain fashion. A 79-0 blowout of the Riverhawks did the deed.

“We can’t control who we play, we can only control what we do,” Northwest coach Rich Wright said. “We wanted to come out and play well. … We played more to our ability level and not concerned about who we were playing and that was good to see.”

The afternoon for the Bearcats started when sophomore quarterback Braden Wright connected with senior tight end Marqus Andrews for a 43-yard touchdown. Knocking down defenders on his way, the receiver set the trend that would continue throughout the entirety of the contest.

Northwest running back Justin Rankin, who made the score 14-0 on an 8-yard carry, eclipsed the mark of 200 yards rushing on the day with a total of 211 yards on 12 carries. That marked the first time a Northwest running back has topped 200 yards rushing since the 2011 season.

“It’s nice. Obviously, it’s a good game,” Rankin said. “That’s all on the offensive line though. … The line came out and told me they got me and I told them, ‘I got y’all.’”

At the half, Northwest held a 49-0 lead.

The struggles for the Riverhawks carried into the second half. It took all of 11 seconds for the Bearcats’ scoring onslaught to continue when Rankin ran 65 yards down the sideline for his third touchdown of the contest.

The eventual 79-0 win for Northwest marked the second-highest points that the program has ever watched put up on a scoreboard, with 86 being the highest. The margin of victory marked the highest in the program’s history.

With the stakes being as high as ever down the stretch of the regular season, the Bearcats won in a fashion that Ehlke said they would. It also leaves the Bearcats with date on the road Saturday against Fort Hays State, a team on the heels of seven straight wins.

“It was a good win,” Rich Wright said. “Next week we go to Hays, Kansas, and we’ve got a job to do. … Can’t leave any stones unturned, and we’ve got to get ready to go get in a fist fight.”

Jon Walker can be reacher