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The Miami News-Record
  • Chaparrals upset Norse in Citizens Bank Bowl

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  • PITTSBURG, Kan. - Buried by a 14-point flurry in the final three minutes of the third quarter, the ninth-ranked Northeastern A&M Golden Norsemen suffered a 42-29 upset Sunday afternoon at the hands of 15th-rated College of DuPage in the fourth annual Citizens Bank Bowl before 1,840 fans at Carnie Smith Field.
    With the loss, hall of fame coach Dale Patterson ends his coaching career at NEO with a 9-3 season record. Patterson is retiring with a 72-34 record in two different stints covering 10 years with the Golden Norsemen.
    Coach Gary Thomas guided the Chaparrals of Glen Ellyn, Ill., to a 9-2 overall mark.
    The Chaparrals missed a scoring opportunity to put points on the board with just 28 seconds left in the first quarter as freshman placekicker Matt Cotiguala had a 27-yard field goal partially blocked by NEO's George Rogers.
    After an exchange of punts to start the second quarter, the Golden Norse defense held DuPage on a fourth-and-7 call at NEO's 30-yard line.
    Sophomore quarterback Clayton Mitchem guided the Norsemen 70 yards in nine plays to grab a brief lead. Mitchem culminated the drive with a nifty 18-yard touchdown run with 6:43 until halftime. Kevin King added the point-after for a 7-0 Norse margin.
    On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore wide receiver set a new Citizens Bowl record by returning the muffed kick 88 yards for a touchdown. Just 15 seconds later the Chaparrals tied the score at 7-7 on the PAT by sophomore Christian Lainez.
    Lainez would go on to establish a new Citizens Bowl record with six extra points.
    Unleashing runs of 12 yards by veteran tailback Gerald Howse and 16 yards by freshman Casey Curtis, the Golden Norsemen covered 77 yards in only four plays to regain the lead.
    Mitchem found sophomore wide out Tre Stearns open on a fly pattern for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 4:58 until halftime. The extra point by King gave NEO a 14-7 advantage.
    DuPage appeared headed for another tying touchdown as sophomore quarterback Bryron Dawkins found Holton streaking down the sideline on a 42-yard pass play. As Holton approached the pylon, he fumbled the ball out of the end zone for an NEO touchback.
    On the second play from their own 20-yard line, Mitchem threw the second of a Citizens Bank Bowl record three interceptions.
    Veteran cornerback Ikeem Higgs stepped in front of Mitchem's errant throw and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Lainez hit the point-after with 3:23 before intermission for a 14-14 tie.
    With time running out in the second quarter, Cotiguala missed a 41-yard field goal attempt as both teams went to the locker room tied.
    Following an exchange of punts to start the third quarter, the DuPage defense created a scoring opportunity for the Chaparrals when veteran linebacker Dukaral Curry stripped the ball from Curtis by at the DuPage 47 yard-line.
    Offensive most valuable player tailback Tyreis Thomas had carries of 9 and 3 yards before a personal foul on NEO linebacker Jon Colman set DuPage up at the NEO 26-yard line.
    Sophomore reserve quarterback Patrick Ivy entered the game and unleashed a 23-yard run for the Chaparrals 3-yard line. Ivy concluded the drive with a 3-yard TD plunge with 3:31 remaining in the third quarter. The PAT by Lainez created a 21-14 Chaparrals lead.
    Mitchem's third interception on NEO's next possession resulted in a 55-yard touchdown return from sophomore middle linebacker Jaylon Bailey after he wrestled the pass away from Stearns. With 2:24 left in the third quarter Lainez added the extra point for a 28-13 DuPage margin.
    Despite the pristine playing conditions of a 71-degree temperature and an 8-mile per hour southwesterly breeze, the Golden Norsemen continued to be their own worst enemy.
    A muffed punt by Curtis was recovered by Holton at the Golden Norse 24-yard line with 13:24 left in the game.
    Dawkins re-entered the game and on the third play of the drive hit sophomore wide receiver Andre Taylor for a 16-yard touchdown pass. The point-after by Lainez with 10:35 showing on the clock increased the DuPage lead to a 35-14 score.
    Pinned back at their own 2-yard line, the Norsemen mounted a 98-yard scoring drive as Mitchem connected with sophomore wide out Garrett Powell for a 48-yard pass to the mid-field stripe.
    After a 12-yard scamper by Howse, Mitchem connected with Stearns for a bowl record-setting 38-yard TD pass with 4:10 left in the game.
    Stearns became the first player in the brief history of the bowl to catch two touchdown passes in a game. King added the extra point for a 35-21 deficit.
    After recovering King's onside kick attempt at the NEO 38-yard line, the Chaparrals ground game focused on freshman tailback Houston Cassita with three carries for 33 yards.
    Freshman wide out Randall Wells concluded the drive with a 5-yard end around touchdown run with 1:48 remaining on the clock. The point-after by Lainez gave DuPage a 42-21 cushion.
    Consuming the final 1:34 on the clock, the Golden Norsemen marched 56 yards on five plays before Howse scored on a 2-yard run with just 5 seconds left. Mitchem connected with tight end Troy Davis for the two-point conversion pass.
    Mitchem fueled the drive with a 17-yard run and passes of 16 yards to Howse, 12 yards to Stearns and 11 yards to freshman tight end Alverey Braxton.
    Although the Norsemen trailed 33:31-26:29 in time of possession, NEO held a 437-325 advantage in total yardage on offense.
    Mitchem led the Norse ground game with 94 yards on 22 carries as NEO rushed for 203 yards on 47 attempts. Howse added 53 yards on 15 carries.
    Mitchem completed 13 of 25 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He was also sacked five times for a minus-29 yards.
    Stearns caught a season-high five passes for 122 yards and two TDs while Braxton added three catches for 22 yards.
    Thomas led the Chaparrals ground game with 102 yards on 22 carries.
    Dawkins completed 9 of 21 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.
    Thomas caught four passes for 30 yards and Holton added two receptions for 65 yards.
    Sophomore tackle Jeff Brown captured the defensive MVP award after posting six unassisted tackles, four assists, three quarterback sacks for minus-14 yards, one interception and one deflected pass.
    NEO freshman linebacker Cameron Colbert recorded the only quarterback sack for minus-2 yards while sophomore linebacker Jon Coleman led the defense with eight unassisted tackles, four assists and one fumble recovery.
    College of DuPage     0     14    14    14 - 42
    Northeastern A&M    0     14      0    15 - 29
    Second quarter
    NEO - Mitchem 18 run (King kick), 6:43
    DuPage - Holton 88 kickoff return (Lainez kick), 6:28
    NEO - Stearns 44 pass from Mitchem (King kick), 4:58
    DuPage - Higgs 22 interception return (Lainez kick), 3:23
    Third quarter
    DuPage - Ivy 3 run (Lainez kick), 3:31
    DuPage - Bailey 55 interception return (Lainez kick), 2:24
    Fourth quarter
    DuPage - Taylor 16 pass from Dawkins (Lainez kick), 10:35
    NEO - Stearns 38 pass from Mitchem (King kick), 4:10
    DuPage - Wells 5 run (Lainez kick), 1:48
    NEO - Howse 1 run (Davis pass from Mitchem), 0:05
    Team statistics
                                     DuPage                 NEO
    First downs                        18                    20
    Rushes-yards               47-191               47-203
    Passing yards                   134                   234
    Return yards                      93                      7
    Passes-com-att-int         9-21-0              13-25-3
    Punts-avg                       5-40                  6-40
    Fumbles-lost                     1-1                    2-2
    Penalties-yards                6-50                   8-93
    Individual statistics
    RUSHING: DuPage, Thomas 22-102, Cassita 12-42, Ivy 6-33, Holton 1-9, Wells 1-5, Dawkins 2-3, Jackson 3-(-3); NEO, Mitchem 22-94, Howse 15-53, Curtis 7-40, Doolittle 3-16.
    PASSING: DuPage, Dawkins 8-20-0-1; NEO, Mitchem 13-25-3-2.
    RECEIVING: DuPage, Thomas 4-30, Holton 2-68, Taylor 2-24, Miller 1-12; NEO, Stearns 5-122, Braxton 3-22, Powell 1-48, Thompson 1-19, Howse 1-16, Curtis 1-7, Doolittle 1-0.

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