Reuben Thomas caught seven passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns to elevate Northwest Missouri State to a 27-13 victory over Grand Valley State in an NCAA Division III semifinal on Saturday.
The Bearcats (14-0) advanced to their eighth national championship game in program history and will face Lenoir-Rhyne in the first meeting between the two programs.
Following a two-turnover first half, the Bearcats mounted two lengthy scoring drives to separate from the Lakers. Trevor Adams found Thomas down the seam for a 43-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter that delivered the game's decisive blow.
Adams also hit Thomas for a 28-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to give Northwest a 20-6 lead.
Grand Valley (12-3) struck back with Heath Parling's high-arching 4-yard touchdown strike to tight end Jamie Potts to cut Northwest's lead to 20-13 with 2 seconds remaining in the third stanza.
The Lakers forced a Bearcats punt from the Grand Valley 43-yard line bu...