Championship Game Bound; Raiders Knock Off Defending Champs In Classic

May 02, 2021 8:47am

The Catch

Epic...amazing...dramatic...there are no words to fully describe an unbelievable game that will go down as one of the all-time greats in the history of the Red Raider football program...Tyson Kooima connected with Michael Storey for a game-winning touchdown with 16 seconds left to play to give No.6 Northwestern a 44-41 road win over No.1 Morningside in the NAIA FCS semifinals in front of thousands of fans at Olsen Stadium in Sioux City.

In a game full of offense as the teams combined for nearly 1,200 yards, it was the Raider Defense that initiated the heroic game-winning drive as T.J. Jones and Carter Van Gorp tackled Mustangs quarterback Joe Dolincheck for no-gain on a fourth-and-two, giving the Northwestern offense the football at its own nine-yard line and 1:49 left on the clock. Turns out, all the offense needed, led by Kooima, the two-time GPAC Player of the Year, was a chance.

Following an incompletion, Kooima connected on back-to-back passes to Cade Moser to give the Raiders a first down at their 39-yard line. An 11-yard run by Kooima gave his team another new set of downs at the 50-yard line and a huge 25-yard reception by Josh Fakkema put the Raiders within striking distance at the Mustangs 23-yard line...and the epic comeback nearing reality.

Kooima spiked the ball on first down and threw an incomplete pass on second down, setting up 3rd-and-10 from the Mustangs 23-yard line...and that is where the senior delivered the game-winning touchdown to a well-covered Storey, who jumped over the Morningside defender for the miraculous catch in the endzone. Northwestern's Blake Fryar ran the two-point conversion in, giving Northwestern the lead with 16 seconds left.

The win puts Northwestern into the NAIA Championship game against No.3 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Monday, May 10 at 6pm at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium in Grambling, La. The Raiders, now 11-1 on the season, will play in their sixth championship game and first since the 1984 season.