MARQUETTE, Mich. – Wayne State University tried to keep it close against the Northern Michigan University football team Saturday afternoon at the Superior Dome, but the Wildcats would have none of it. The Warriors were knocking on the door in the fourth quarter, but NMU’s defense came up with a big play as the ‘Cats prevailed 45-20.
NMU won its fifth game in a row to improve to 5-1 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). WSU fall to 5-2 and 4-2 respectively. NMU gave up its first rushing touchdown on the season and its first score at home.
Rockne Belmonte put the ‘Cats on the board first with a 24-yard field goal at 5:33 of the first quarter for a 3-0 lead. Also in the first quarter (1:36) Mark Bossuah found the end zone from a yard out and with the good extra point the ‘Cats were up 10-0.
Antonio Wallace sprinted in from 55 yards away at 6:24 of the second quarter to give NMU the 17-0 lead as the extra point was good. The Warriors got on the board at 2:57 when Joique Bell found pay dirt from four yards away, Anthony Morasso kicked the extra point and now it was a 17-7 game. Right before halftime (00:10) Carter Kopach and Zach Nichols hooked-up for an eight-yard strike and with Belmonte’s kick the ‘Cats were leading 24-7 going into the locker room.
Nichols and Kopach teamed up again on a five-yard pass with 9:20 left on the clock in the third quarter. Belmonte’s kick was good and NMU held a 31-7 lead. Also in the third quarter, Bell scored his second touchdown of the day on a one-yard run at 2:33; the two-point conversion was no good, as the Warriors trailed 31-13.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter (14:12), Bell scampered in from 18 yards away and with the good extra point it was a new game at 31-20. The Warriors were driving again before Nathan Yelk with the help of Matt Forward came up with a big defensive play. WSU quarterback (Mickey Mohner) was sacked by Forward and in the process fumbled the ball which was picked up by Yelk. In the blink of an eye Yelk was standing in the end zone with a 25-yard fumble return at 8:33 and with another extra point by Belmonte the ‘Cats were in control 38-20. NMU’s final score was set up on an interception by Marcus Tribble. He returned the ball to the WSU 12-yard line for a 30-yard return then Bossuah punched it in from four yards out at 6:47, for his second score of the afternoon. The kick by Belmonte was good (45-20).
NMU had the edge in total offense for the game with 372 yards (209 on the ground and 163 in the air). WSU on the other hand registered 335 yards of total offense (92 rushing and 243 passing). Bell led all rushers with 106 yards on 30 carries. For NMU once again it was the duo in the backfield, Bossuah and Wallace with 97 and 88 yards respectively. Kopach was 15-23-0 for 163 yards. Nichols led the NMU receivers with six receptions for 78 yards.
DJ Oke led the NMU defense with 11 total tackles (three solo and eight assisted). John Blessing and Tony Propson led the ‘Cats with three (-10 yards) and two (-15 yards) tackles-for-loss respectively. Blessing also had an interception.
NMU will be home again next week (Oct. 17) when the Chargers of Hillsdale College pays a visit to the Superior Dome (1 p.m.).
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Sports Information Director