DuPage Upsets NEO in Citizens Bank Bowl

PITTSBURG, Kan. -- No. 15 College of DuPage (Ill.) upset No. 7 Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Sunday in the fourth edition of the Citizens Bank Bowl, held at Carnie Smith Field on the campus of Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.The Chaparrals capitalized on five NEO turnovers to cruise to 42-29 victory. The loss spoils Golden Norse head coach Dale Patterson’s final game on the sideline as he announced earlier this month that he will be stepping down as football coach. Patterson, after two stints leading the NEO program over the past decade, retires with a 72-34 overall record and will stay on board as the college’s athletic director.

The DuPage defense was relentless, sacking NEO quarterback and Southwest JC Football Conference MVP Clayton Mitchem five times and forcing three interceptions. Ikeem Higgs picked off a Mitchem pass late in the second quarter and returned it 22-yards for a touchdown. Jaylan Bailey did the same only from 56-yards out late in the third quarter.

COD defensive tackle Jeff Brown was named the game’s defensive MVP posting 10 tackles, three quarterback sacks, one interception and one deflected pass. Bailey led the Chaparrals with 12 total tackles, including two for loss. Dakarai Curry and Logan Orso both had 10 tackles on the day. Orso also forced a fumble.

Offensively, DuPage was led by offensive MVP running back Tyreis Thomas who rushed for 102 yards on 22 carries and also caught four passes for 30 yards. Patrick Ivy and Randall Wells each had a rushing touchdown.

Quarterback Byron Dawkins (right) completed 9-of-21 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions.

NEO held a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter, but DuPage quickly tied the game at 7-7 thanks to an 88-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Johnny Holton.

DuPage, led by second-year head coach Gary Thomas, ends their 2012 campaign at 9-2 and claims its second postseason victory since 1996.

Photos by Kathleen Hinnrichs, Fort Scott Community College.

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