MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) -LaRon Council rushed for 139 yards and four touchdowns Saturday as Northwest Missouri State beat North Alabama 41-7 to advance to the NCAA Division II national championship game for the fourth straight season.
Northwest Missouri took advantage of a strong north wind to jump out to a 20-0 first-quarter lead. The Bearcats (13-1) got excellent field position after short punts, getting two field goals by Tommy Frevert, a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joel Osborn to Brian Shannon and a 3-yard run by Council.
Mike McLendon scored the only touchdown for North Alabama (12-2) in the second quarter on a 1-yard run. Northwest responded just before halftime when safety Myles Burnsides returned a pass interception 35 yards to the 1 yard line. Council got his second score on the next play to make it 27-7 at halftime.
nalist, was held to 19-of-39 passing for 137 yards. The Lions managed only 84 yards on the ground.
Northwest Missouri had only 69 yards passing but had no turnovers to North Alabama's two.
The Bearcats will play Minnesota-Duluth (14-0), a 45-7 winner in its semifinal game, on Saturday in Florence, Ala. Northwest Missouri has lost the last three championship games by a combined total of 12 points.
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