College Sports

Bearcats return to NCAA football tournament, but Fort Hays State is region favorite

Northwest Missouri State won last season’s NCAA Division II championship game at Children’s Mercy Park. The Bearcats are back in the tournament again this season.
Northwest Missouri State won last season’s NCAA Division II championship game at Children’s Mercy Park. The Bearcats are back in the tournament again this season. Special to the Star

Northwest Missouri State will begin its quest for a third straight NCAA Division II football championship Saturday — but not in the favorite’s role.

The Bearcats are the sixth seed in Super Region III and will travel to Ashland, Ohio, to meet No. 3 seed Ashland University.

Northwest Missouri finished the regular season 9-2. The Bearcats won their first eight games, running their winning streak to 38 consecutive games, before falling on successive weekends to Pittsburg State and Fort Hays State.

Fort Hays State finished the season 11-0 — the greatest year in program history — and won its first MIAA championship since joining the conference in 2006.

The Tigers and the three other top seeds in the 28-team tournament receive a first-round bye. Fort Hays State will play the winner of the region’s fourth and fifth seeds, Ferris State and Ouachita Baptist, on Nov. 25 in Hays, Kan.

The national championship game is Dec. 16 at Children’s Mercy Park.

Mules bound for bowl

Central Missouri found out Sunday that it will be playing Minnesota-Duluth in the Mineral Water Bowl.

The game will be at noon on Dec. 2 at Tiger Stadium in Excelsior Springs.

This is the third time the Mules (8-3) will participate in the bowl game.

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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