From NSU Sports Info.
Cedrique Flemming, Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations

TAHLEQUAH – The Northeastern State football team fell 24-17 to Missouri Western State University Saturday afternoon at Doc Wadley Stadium.

The contest was featured as the MIAA Game of the Week and was broadcast live on the MIAA Network.

The RiverHawks (0-3, 0-3 MIAA) led for most of the game, but two scores on back-to-back plays from the Griffons (2-1, 2-1 MIAA) with less than six minutes remaining would be all the visitors would need to escape with the come-from-behind victory.

The game-winning score for MWSU was also the sixth and final turnover by NSU. Donte Watkins scooped up a fumbled pitch attempt and took the ball the final 14 yards. The last points of the game came at the 5:50 mark of the fourth quarter, which was also just nine seconds after the Griffons tied the game on a 21-yard Skyler Windmiller pass to Brandynn Clark.

The score was the first passing TD the RiverHawks have allowed this season.

Missouri Western State got on the board first when Tanner Pettet connected on a 20-yard field goal midway through the first quarter.

Northeastern State responded with a two-yard rush from junior quarterback Kevin Pantastico at the 13:42 mark of the second quarter. Raphael Spencer plunged into the endzone two minutes later to give the lead back to MWSU, but less than two minutes after that Pantastico connected with junior wide receiver Antonio King for 63 yards to give NSU the 14-10 edge.

The score was King’s first-career TD and the longest pass play of Pantastico’s career.

After neither team scored in the third quarter, the RiverHawks were able to stretch their lead out to 17-10 when junior Eddie Garcia connected on a 26-yard field goal early in the fourth.

NSU was able to hold its lead until the final two scores with less than six minutes remaining.

MWSU outgained NSU 428-215, including 302-106 through the air and 126-109 on the ground. The contest featured nine total turnovers. NSU had six (five interceptions, one lost fumble) and MWSU had three (all interceptions).

Pantastico did not start the contest but finished 7 of 27 for 106 yards and one score. Senior running back Joel Rockmore carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards.

Northeastern State will now travel to Emporia, Kansas, for a 2 p.m. kickoff Sept. 26 with Emporia State.



Qtr.    Time    Team   Play                                                                                  Score

1            7:02          MWSU      Tanner Pettet 20 FG                                                                                     3-0

2            13:42        NSU           Kevin Pantastico 2 run (Eddie Garcia kick)                                               3-7

11:42        MWSU      Raphael Spencer 4 run (Pettet kick)                                                          10-7

10:01        NSU           Antonio King 63 pass from Pantastico (Garcia kick)                                10-14

4            13:15        NSU           Garcia 26 FG                                                                                                  10-17

5:59          MWSU      Brandynn Clark 21 pass from Skyler Windmiller (Pettet kick)               17-17

5:50          MWSU      Donte Watkins 14 fumble recovery                                                            24-17



  • The clash between Northeastern State and Missouri Western State was the MIAA Game of the Week and was broadcast live on the MIAA TV Network.
  • Redshirt freshman quarterback Blayne Armstrong made his first-career start but left after throwing three interceptions in his first four passes.
  • Senior running back Joel Rockmore made his team-leading 27th career start.
  • Northeastern State has started the same offensive line all three games this season. Those are: Jordan Baldwin (LT), Brian West (LG), Brian Hobbs (C), Lance Cox (RG), Tyler Easter (RT).
  • Antonio King recorded his first-career touchdown reception with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, which was also the longest pass play (63 yards) of Kevin Pantastico’s career.
  • Pantastico also scored his second-career rushing touchdown in the second quarter.
  • There were nine total turnovers in the contest. NSU committed six (five interceptions thrown, one lost fumble) and MWSU committed three (all INT’s).
  • NSU had not recorded an interception in the first two games of the season but picked off the Griffons three times Saturday. Kenneth Davis and Kevin Bell both registered their first-career INT’s, while Tony Newman picked up his second.
  • Eddie Garcia converted a 26-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. He is now 1-for-4 this season, and the RiverHawks are 2-for-11 as a team since 2014.
  • Junior defensive back Tony Newman finished the game with a career-high 116 all-purpose yards (71 kick return, 45 interception return).
  • Missouri Western cornerback Michael Jordan recorded his third interception against the RiverHawks in their last two meetings.
  • With 4:08 remaining in the first half NSU’s defense held the line to make three straight stops from its own one-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
  • NSU’s 14-10 lead after three quarters was the first time it has led after three quarters since Nov. 16, 2013 when it beat Central Oklahoma 45-38.
  • Senior linebacker Irving Steele had 2.5 sacks today to give him four on the season. The last time an NSU defensive player had at least 2.5 sacks in a single game was when Travis Boswell registered 3.0 against Bacone College on August 27, 2011.
  • Missouri Western’s Brandynn Clark’s TD reception with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter is the first receiving touchdown NSU have given up this year.
  • Junior safety Steffon Herd finished with a career-high 16 tackles. Junior linebacker Darian Morris (13) and redshirt freshman safety Devon Siers (10) also reached double-digit stops.
  • The RiverHawks posted four sacks Saturday, marking the second time this season they have equaled that feat (Pittsburg State)
  • The seven-point defeat is the lowest for NSU since a 42-35 loss to Emporia State on Sept. 27, 2014.
  • Northeastern State has thrown 12 interceptions against Missouri Western State in the four games since NSU joined the MIAA (since 2012), the most against any opponent.
  • Saturday marked the second-straight week NSU held a late lead or was tied against a team that finished 7-4 last season (Fort Hays State).
  • Missouri Western State did not score in the third quarter. This marked the first time since Nov. 2, 2013 that NSU held its opponent scoreless in the third stanza.
  • Northeastern State fell to 0-5 all-time on the MIAA Network.

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