TIFFIN, Ohio – The Northern Michigan University football team’s first trip to Tiffin, Ohio will go down as a memorable one. It took four overtimes to decide the game as the Wildcats suffered its first loss of the season to the Dragons by a score of 34-28. NMU is now 1-1 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) while Tiffin University improves to 1-2 and 1-1 respectively.
The home team struck first on a one-yard pass from Matt Root to Alvin McKnight at 2:52 of the first quarter and with the good extra point the lead was 7-0. Still in the first quarter the ‘Cats answered with a 64-yard touchdown strike from Ben Hempel to Fred Wells with 1:16 showing on the clock. Anthony Leandri’s extra point kick was good and the game was tied at seven-all.
NMU took a 14-7 lead into the locker room at the half thanks to a touchdown pass from Hempel to Dan Elmore for 42 yards with 3:42 left before the intermission. The extra point was good by Leandri.
TU took the lead in the third quarter off of two scores. TU’s first touchdown of the quarter came at 7:24 on a nine-yard pass from Root to Greg Raspberry. With less than 40 seconds left in the quarter, Dyshaun Edwards hauled in a two-yard pass from Root. TU with both extra points good held a 21-14 lead after 45 minutes of play.
NMU used a seven play 54-yard drive with less than two minutes left in regulation to tie the game. Mark Bossuah found the end zone from three yards out with 46 seconds left in regulation. Leandri connected for the extra point and the score was now 21-all.
Each team scored in the first overtime. TU had the ball first and scored on a 15-yard pass from Root to Raspberry as the extra point was good. With the Dragons scoring on its first possession of overtime for the 28-21 lead the ‘Cats got the ball on the 25-yard line. NMU wasted little time as on the third play of its half of the overtime Carter Kopach rushed in from 16 yards out for the touchdown. Leandri’s kick was good and the score was now 28-all.
Each team fumbled in the second overtime. The third overtime saw TU with the ball first as they fumbled the ball after a completion. NMU received the ball and after five plays attempted a field goal. The snap from center to the holder was bobbled as Andrew Strobel tried to run with the ball, but was tackled for a 23 yards loss.
To the fourth overtime. NMU had the ball first. Once again the ‘Cats tried a field goal to end the game, but this time Leandri’s kick was blocked. The home team had the ball once again. TU ended the game when Root snuck in from a yard out.
NMU finished the day with 408 yards of total offense (104 on the ground and 304 in the air). The ‘Cat defense held the Dragons to 50 yards on the ground. TU accounted for most of its 402 yards of total offense in the air with 352 yards.
Bossuah rushed for 135 yards on 30 carries. The ‘Cats used three quarterbacks in the game. Hempel ended the day with 207 yards passing on 10-17-1. Kopach accounted for 93 yards passing on 10-15-1 and rushed for 23 yards on four carries. Matt Blanchard was the third quarterback used in the game. He was 1-3-0 for four yards.
Elmore led the NMU receiving corps with seven catches for 98 yards. Wells hauled in four catches for 121 yards.
Strobel led the NMU defense with 14 total tackles (12 solo and two assisted). As a unit the NMU defense had seven tackles-for-loss and 11 sacks. Jacob Reimer had two tackles-for-loss and two sacks as did David Reese. Alex Grignon had a tackled-for-loss and two-and-a-half sacks.
NMU will have a short week. The ‘Cats are back in action on Thursday night (Sept. 18) at 8 p.m. in the Superior Dome against Michigan Tech. A national television audience will view the game as it is being shown live on CBS College Sports Network. The feed is also being picked up by FSN Detroit.
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Sports Information Director