East Central University fell victim to four turnovers while third-ranked Northwest Missouri State limited the Tigers to just a field goal as the Bearcats rolled to a 33-3 season-opening, non-conference victory Thursday night at Bearcat Stadium.
The only ECU points of the night came on a 32-yard field goal by Brian Gonzalez with 10:24 to go in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, Northwest Missouri took advantage of short-field possessions to put away the Tigers.
An interception set the stage for the Bearcats’ first score of the game off a 3-yard keeper by quarterback Trevor Adams with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Northwest Missouri’s longest drive on the night – 80 yards in six plays – was capped by a Jordan Simmons 1-yard run as the hosts cruised to a 14-0 halftime advantage.
The early third-quarter field goal by Gonzalez pulled ECU within 14-3, but the Bearcats responded with a field goal of their own by Todd Adolph to make it 17-3 with 6:56 left in the third.
Northwest Missouri then picked up an early fourth-quarter score off a 38-yard interception return for a score by Brandon Dixon which led to a 24-3 Bearcat advantage.
A safety upped the Northwest Missouri lead to 26-3 and a 53-yard scoring pass from Adams to Bryce Young capped off the scoring just 20 seconds later.
ECU quarterback Cody Miller completed 50 percent of his passes (22-of-44) for 244 yards, but was intercepted three times. Caleb Holley was on the receiving end of nine of those aerials for 74 yards.
Defensively for the Tigers, senior safety Norris Wrenn led the way with 12 tackles, including six solo-stops, and a pass breakup. Qumain Black, Fred Gaines and Shaun Hoagland were each credited with an interception for ECU.
Senior linebackers Tyler McGrew and Amos Cherry compiled nine and seven tackles respectively. McGrew had two solos and Cherry had one. The pair also combined for a quarterback sack.
The Tigers were limited to just 48 yards rushing on the night.
Adams was 12-of-27 passing for 201 yards and one score for the Bearcats. But he did throw three picks.
Northwest Missouri had a 318-292 edge in total yards.
ECU, 0-1 on the season, takes on Southern Nazarene University for its home opener at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Norris Field in Ada.