MARQUETTE, Mich. – Mark Bossuah had a record-breaking night for the Wildcats, but that was not enough as the Northern Michigan University football team (0-2, 0-2 GLIAC) suffered its second loss of the season in a back and forth game with Hillsdale College (2-0, 2-0 GLIAC). The ‘Cats were on the short end of a 42-41 score. The two teams combined for 1,106 yards of total offense. The ‘Cats had 604 yards of total offense (369 rushing and 235 passing) while the Chargers totaled 502 (126 rushing and 376 passing).
Bossuah set new NMU and Superior Dome records with his 317 yards of rushing on the night. He carried the ball a career-high 35 times. The old NMU record was held by Nelson Edmonds in 1991 against Wayne State as he rushed for 291 yards on 62 carries. The old Dome record was 260 yards set by Edmonds against UIndy during the 1991 season.
The first 15 minutes was an indication how the rest of the game would be. Hillsdale scored first on an eight-yard run by Vinnie Panizzi at 9:14. The extra point gave the Chargers the early 7-0 advantage. A little over a minute later (8:04) the ‘Cats tied the game when Zach Nichols caught a Buddy Rivera strike for a 42-yard touchdown. The extra point was good. Aaron Waldie, for the Chargers, then caught an 11-yard pass from Mark Nicolet at 4:06 the extra point gave HC the 14-7 lead. With under a minute left in the quarter (00:51), Fred Wells hauled in a 36-yard pass from Rivera. Anthony Leandri converted the extra point to end the quarter with a 14-all slate.
Rivera threw his third touchdown pass of the half when he connected with Dan Elmore for a 31-yard score at 9:25 of the second quarter. Leandri’s kick was good again as the ‘Cats held a 21-14 lead. HC would answer with a three-yard run by Panizzi at 4:08 of the quarter, the kick was good. The game was tied at 21. Leandri gave the ‘Cats the lead, 24-21, when he booted a 25-yard field goal with one tick left on the clock before the half.
HC took the early lead in the second half when Panizzi scored his third rushing touchdown of the game. He scampered in from two yards out at 14:23 of the third quarter. The good extra point made the count 28-24. NMU would get the lead back again when Nichols caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Rivera. His eight-yard pass and good extra point gave the ‘Cats the 31-28 lead with three minutes gone in quarter. With three minutes left in the quarter the Chargers took the lead back (35-31) when Matt Patillo caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Nicolet. Mark Petro converted the extra point.
Bossuah scored his lone touchdown of the game when he found the end zone from 35 yards out at 10:35 of the final quarter. Leandri converted his fourth extra point to give the ‘Cats the lead at 38-35. HC would take the lead for good when Waldie caught his second touchdown of the day from 64 yards out with 8:55 left in the game. Petro converted the extra point as the Chargers were now up 42-38. NMU did get within one (42-41) when Leandri kicked a field goal through the uprights from 22 yards with 6:07 showing on the clock.
NMU did have one more shot at a score. With a little over five minutes left in the game NMU had the ball on its own 23 yard line. The ‘Cats drove the ball to the Chargers 26 yard line. NMU had first and 10. Rivera threw two incompletions and the ‘Cats were called for illegal use of the hands. On third down and 20 from the HC 36, Rivera was flushed out of the pocket and fumbled the ball which was recovered by HC.
Rivera ended the game with 235 yards passing on 17-27-1 and three touchdowns. On the ground he had 19 yards on seven carries. Nichols led the ‘Cats with six receptions for 78 yards. Nicolet had 376 yards passing for the Chargers on 23-36-0 and three scores. Nick Gurica and Waldie both had six receptions for the game. Gurica had 126 yards while Waldie had 120 respectively.
NMU will be off next week, but will host Saginaw Valley State in its next game. The ‘Cats and Cardinals will face off in the Superior Dome on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m.
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