MIDLAND, Mich. – Over the past three plus seasons the Northern Michigan University football team has had its challenges away from Marquette. Saturday afternoon in Midland, Mich. the Wildcats, almost played as if they were at home, jumped out to a 17-3 halftime lead and added two more scores in the second half to defeat the Northwood Timberwolves 31-17. NMU improves to 2-1 overall on the season and 2-0 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play. Northwood falls to 1-1 and 1-1 respectively.
Carter Kopach scampered in from four yards out at 11:44 of the first quarter to put the ‘Cats on the board and with Rockne Belmonte’s extra point NMU was up 7-0. The Timberwolves cut the NMU lead to 7-3 later in the quarter (1:42) on a 30-yard field goal by Pat Sijan.
Belmonte made the score 10-3 at 12:30 of the second quarter when he connected for a 35-yard field goal. A little over 10 minutes later (2:12) Tony Awrey caught a 12-yard pass from Kopach for another score. The extra point was good as the ‘Cats held the halftime lead (17-3).
The second half saw NMU add 14 points to the scoreboard. Dustin Brancheau and Kopach hooked-up for a 51-yard pass and score at 7:27 of the third quarter. The kick was good as the ‘Cats held a 24-3 lead. With less than two minutes left in the quarter (1:19) the Timberwolves blocked a NMU punt and returned it for a score for a 24-10 game.
Kopach called his own number at 11:44 of the fourth quarter on a 15-yardrun as the extra point was good. The scoreboard now showed a 31-10 NMU lead. The Timberwolves added a score later in the quarter for the final margin (31-17) when Donny Knoll caught an eight-yard pass from Aaron Shavers (7:30).
The ‘Cats dominated the stats page. NMU recorded 21 first downs to 11 for Northwood. Total offense was 414 yards for the ‘Cats to 235 (136 yards rushing and 99 passing) for the Timberwolves. NMU on the ground accounted for 160 yards while in the air it was 254. NMU was four-of-five in the red zone.
Kopach ended the day with 81 yards on the ground on 19 carries as he was 13-25-0 in the air for 254 yards. Brancheau was his favorite target as he hauled in five passes for 82 yards. Defensively the ‘Cats were led by Edwin Knoblock with nine total tackles (four solo and five assisted). DJ Oke added seven total tackles (six solo and one assisted). He also recorded a forced fumble and an interception. Zach Anderson was camped out in the Timberwolves backfield as he had two sacks (-13 yards) and 3.5 tackles-for-loss (-17 yards) to go along with his six total tackles (four solo and two assisted). As a unit the NMU defense had 11 tackles-for-loss for the game (-40 yards).
The ‘Cats host Ashland next week for Homecoming (Sept. 25) with kickoff slated for 4 p.m.
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