FINDLAY, Ohio – Senior defensive back Jacob Lehman made a key defensive play for the second week in a row to seal a victory for Northern Michigan. Lehman picked off a Clay Belton pass on a fourth and goal in the second overtime to give the Wildcats a 30-23 win on Saturday (Sept. 10) afternoon from Donnell Stadium.
NMU scored the go-ahead touchdown in the second overtime when Carter Kopach had a 9-yard touchdown pass to Christian Jessie during the ‘Cats possession in the second overtime
Both team exchanged field goals in the first overtime as Belmonte had a 44-yarder and the Oilers Zack Housholder had a 22-yarder.
Findlay had a field goal with two second left in regulation to send it to overtime after a 14-play 61-yard drive.
Senior running back John Privitelli capped of a 9-play 59-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 7:16 left in the fourth to put NMU up three.
Findlay scored a touchdown early in the fourth quarter (10:46) on a 4-yard run by Clay Belton but NMU blocked the extra point to keep the Oiler lead at four.
NMU had a rough first half with three turnovers in the first quarter. Kopach turned the ball over on a fumble on the first drive of the game. Anthony Marietti got the ball back on an interception and Rockne Belmonte got the ‘Cats on the board first with a 41-yard field goal.
The Oilers answered with a touchdown on a 7-yard run from Mont. Williams and a two-point conversion. John Privitelli fumbled on the next drive to end the first quarter.
Findlay took an eight-point lead in the second quarter after a 32-yard field goal but NMU pulled to within one after a 9-yard run by Kopach and the PAT. Kopach and the ‘Cats went for it on a fourth and 10 and kept the drive alive with a 16-yard reception to Lee Figures.
Findlay was knocking on the door again late in the second before Zach Anderson had a sack for a 9-yard loss and the Oilers missed a 37-yard field goal at the end of the half. Findlay led 11-10 going into halftime.
The NMU offense ended the game with 331 yards (173 passing and 158 rushing) on 77 plays. The ‘Cats had 18 first downs.
Findlay had 484 yards of offense (197 passing and 287 rushing) on 107 plays. The Oilers had 26 first downs and five turnovers.
Kopach finished the game 18-for-33 for 158 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also led the team in rushing with 93 yards on 19 attempts and a touchdown.
Prince Young had 60 yards on the ground on 12 carries. Christian Jessie led the receivers with 66 yards on nine receptions and one touchdown.
Zach Anderson led the NMU defense with 13 tackles (four solo and nine assisted) and a sack. Robert Edmonds had 11 tackles (six solo and five assisted). Anthony Marietti had eight tackles and two interceptions. Demitri Stewart and Jacob Lehman each had an interception. Morgan Stenz recorded a sack.
Rockne Belmonte made three field goal attempts and three extra points. Punter Garrett Peck had six kicks for 245 yards for an average of 40.8. Jessie had 60 return yards on three kickoffs and Privitelli had 28 yards on two punt returns.
The Wildcats host Northwood from the Superior Dome next Saturday (Sept. 17). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Game Notes: It’s the first time since 2006 that NMU started the season 2-0…The ‘Cats finished 3-7 in 2006…NMU is 11-5 all-time against Findlay…It was 75 degrees and overcast with rain during the game.
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