MIDLAND, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team (0-1, 0-1 GLIAC) staged a second half comeback which fell just a bit short Saturday afternoon at Northwood (1-0, 1-0 GLIAC). Down 14-0 after 30 minutes of play the Wildcats scored 21 points in the second half to take a 21-20 lead with 3:35 left in the game. The Timberwolves kicked a field goal with 14 ticks left on the clock to take the season opener for both teams 23-21.
The Timberwolves scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to take the early lead. Josh Rauser caught a 25-yard pass from Spencer Klukowski with four minutes left in the quarter and with the good extra point had a 7-0 lead. Special teams scored the next touchdown for the Timberwolves as O’Neil Thomas returned a punt for a 62-yard score the extra point was good and the home team was up by two touchdowns with 1:32 left before halftime.
Northwood made the count 17-0 at 7:43 of the third quarter on a 34-yard field goal by Pat Sijan. The Wildcats got on the board at 5:15 on a 23-yard pass from Carter Kopach to Brian Mitz, Rockne Belmonte kicked the extra point and the ‘Cats were now down 17-7.
Antonio Wallace scored his first career touchdown 58 seconds into the fourth quarter on a nine-yard run and with the good extra point the ‘Cats were down 17-14. NMU’s drive was kept alive by two personal foul penalties on Northwood on fourth downs. The Timberwolves, Sijan, kicked a 36-yard field goal at 6:43 for a 20-14 lead. NMU took over the lead with under four minutes left in the game when Mark Bossuah took it to the house from three yards out and with Belmonte’s kick the ‘Cat were up 21-20. Northwood got the ball back and used the clock to their advantage as Sijan kicked a 41-yard field goal for the win.
The NMU defense held the Timberwolves to 308 yards of total offense (174 rushing and 134 passing). Offensively on the day the ‘Cats recorded 374 yards (201 rushing and 173 passing). Wallace playing in his first NMU game led the ‘Cats on the ground with 79 yards on five carries. Bossuah had 13 carries for the ‘Cats and 45 yards. Kopach played the entire game at quarterback. He was 9-19-0 for 173 yards. Zach Nichols hauled in five of Kopach’s throws for 88 yards.
Nathan Yelk led the ‘Cats on defense with 11 total tackles (eight solo and three assisted). He also recorded one-and-a-half tackles for loss. On the day the ‘Cat defense recorded nine tackles for loss for -36 yards. Ricky Neaves had a team-high two-and-a-half tackles for loss. John Blessing and Cedric Douglas each recorded a sack.
NMU will face Tiffin University next Saturday (Sept. 12) in the home opener at 4 p.m.
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Sports Information Director