MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team will play its home regular season finale Saturday (Nov. 6) at 1 p.m. against the Cardinals of Saginaw Valley State. Last Saturday the Wildcats defeated the Dragons of Tiffin University (43-14) on the road while Saginaw Valley State lost at home to Wayne State (41-27).
NMU enters the game with an overall mark of 5-4 and 5-3 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Saginaw Valley State is currently 3-6 and 3-5 GLIAC.
Saturday’s game, Senior Day, will mark the final time 12 seniors will walk onto the turf of the Superior Dome. NMU leads the all-time series against the Cardinals at 17-13. Last year at University Center, Mich. the Wildcats took the game by a count of 23-20. It was NMU’s first win on the field against the Cardinals since 1999. After the 2007 season, NMU was awarded a forfeit win. The Cardinals defeated the ‘Cats in 2007 (42-37).
The Cardinals enter the game on a two-game skid. Saginaw Valley State is averaging 377.6 yards a game of total offense (161.2 rushing and 216.3 passing). The Cardinals red zone offense leads the GLIAC (28-33, .848 percent) as they are averaging 30.2 points a game. Defensively the team is giving up 369.8 per game of total offense (168.1 rushing and 201.7 passing) and 29.7 points a game. Ronnie Lark leads Saginaw Valley State with 792 yards rushing on 139 carries. He has seven touchdowns on the ground. Charles Dowdell has thrown for over 1,200 yards (1,240 yards) on 96-154-7 with 12 touchdown passes. Andrew Beaver has a team-high 63 catches, which ranks him second in the GLIAC, for 691 yards and seven scores. Defensively the Cardinals are led by Grant Caserta with 79 total tackles (37 solo and 42 assisted).
Last week against Tiffin NMU had two running backs go over 100 yards for the game. Phillipe Smith recorded a career-high 175 yards on 26 carries. John Privitelli gained 105 yards on 20 carries. Privitelli leads the ‘Cats on the ground with 517 yards on 129 carries. He has scored four rushing touchdowns.
Offensively the ‘Cats are averaging almost 285 yards a game in total offense (284.7). On the ground the ‘Cats are averaging 136.6 yards a game and 148.1 passing yardage a game. On the other side of the ball the ‘Cats are giving up 250.1 yards a game (120.3 rushing and 129.8 passing). On the scoreboard the team is averaging 22.7 points a game and giving up 16.3.
Jacob Hicks has thrown for 241 yards since taking over for Carter Kopach. He is 28-57-2 and has yet to throw a touchdown. Dustin Brancheau has hauled in a team-high 33 passes for 475 yards (14.4) and five touchdowns. Rockne Belmonte has converted 10 of his 16 field goal attempts.
The NMU defense leads the GLIAC in scoring defense (16.3), total defense (250.1) and pass defense (129.8). Eddie Knoblock leads the NMU defense with 63 total tackles (32 solo and 31 assisted) and five interceptions.
If you can not make the game The Point (100.3 FM) will carry the action. An audio and video stream is also available (http://webb.nmu.edu/SportsAthletics/SiteSections/ForCatFans/GameBroadcasts.shtml). Game tracker is available off the GLIAC web site http://www.gliac.org/scoreboard/index.
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