FLORENCE, Ala. | The heartache continues for Northwest Missouri in the NCAA Division II football title.
The Bearcats were beaten 21-14 by Minnesota-Duluth Saturday afternoon at Braly Stadium. It was the fourth straight year Northwest Missouri has lost in the championship.
The final score is a little deceiving. Northwest Missouri trailed 21-0 with 9 minutes left in the game. A 44-yard interception return by Aldwin Foster-Rettig for a touchdown put the Bearcats on the board with 8 minutes left.
Northwest Missouri also put together its only error-free drive of the game with just over 4 minutes left, going 85 yards in 10 plays and scoring on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Joel Osborn to Raphael Robinson with under 2 minutes left.
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An inability to hang on to the football in the second and third quarters destroyed Northwest Missouri. In the second quarter the Bearcats fumbled the ball five times and lost one and Osborn also threw an interception.
The miscues led to Northwest Missouri’s 7-0 deficit at halftime.
The third quarter was even worse for the Bearcats. In the opening drive, Northwest Missouri moved across midfield. The drive came to a quick halt when Cole Strilzuk intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards.
Minnesota-Duluth took over at Northwest Missouri 31 and converted the turnover into a touchdown.
Later in the third quarter, Northwest Missouri was again moving the ball but Greg Applegate coughed up a fumble after catching a 5-yard pass across midfield.