BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – Saturday afternoon it seemed as things were going in favor of the Northern Michigan University football team at Ferris State. NMU with less than 10 minutes to go in the game held a 24-10 lead. The Bulldogs scored the next 21 points to take the game 31-24. The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-3 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). The win improves Ferris to 4-1 and 3-1 respectively.
NMU scored the first two touchdowns of the game to take the early 14-0 lead. Zach Nichols caught a five-yard pass from Carter Kopach at 6:15 of the first quarter. The ‘Cats then scored just into the second quarter at 14:56 when Kopach kept the ball and ran it in from seven yards to pay dirt. Anthony Leandri kick both extra points.
With three minutes and some change (3:31) left before the half, Tim Hogue scored for the Bulldogs from 25 yards out. The extra point kick was good. The score was 14-7 at the intermission.
The third quarter saw the teams trade field goals. NMU kicked a 22-yard field goal by Leandri at 7:55 to make the count 17-7. Ferris answered about five minutes later (2:43) as the Bulldogs connected from 27 yards away for its field goal by Jim Yates.
NMU scored at 9:28 of the fourth quarter on a three-yard run by Brandon Smith, Leandri’s kick was good as the ‘Cats held the 14 point lead (24-10). Ferris scored three touchdowns over a span of eight plus minutes. The Bulldogs first score was at 8:14 on a 38-yard pass from Tom Schneider to Mike Ryan. Hogue added a 26-yard scamper at 5:50 to tie the game at 24-all with the good extra point. With five seconds left in regulation, Chad Wilson intercepted Kopach’s pass and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good for the final point of the game (31-24).
Defensively the ‘Cats were led by Zach Gauthier with 10 total tackles (three solo and seven assisted). Matt Forward had eight for the afternoon (three solo and five assisted). As a unit, NMU recorded seven tackles-for-loss for the game.
The ‘Cats had 321 yards of total offense while the Bulldogs had 364. ON the ground, NMU had 124 yards. Brandon Smith led the ‘Cats with 56 yards on 17 carries. Kopach was 21-38-1 as he accounted for all the passing yards on the day with 197. Dan Elmore and Dustin Brancheau each had six receptions for the game. Elmore had 77 receiving yards while Brancheau had 59.
The ‘Cats are home next Saturday (Oct. 4) against Saginaw Valley State for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
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Sports Information Director