ASHLAND, Ohio. – The No. 23 Northern Michigan football team lost for the first time on Saturday (Sept. 24) evening as it gave up 45 points in the final three quarter after leading by 13 in the first. Turnovers and missed opportunities for NMU gave Ashland a 45-16 win. NMU has now lost nine straight games at Ashland with the last win coming in 1990.
Turnovers on back-to-back possessions deep in NMU territory set the Eagles up for short drives to the endzone in the second quarter. The ‘Cats had a shot to take the lead before halftime but came up empty-handed after having a first and goal from the two yard line.
Ashland fumbled the ball on the opening kickoff and Morgan Stenz recovered the ball on the Eagle 38. Carter Kopach punched the ball into the endzone four plays later to put the Wildcats on the board early. The NMU defense then forced the Eagles to punt on their next possession and the ‘Cats went on a 12-play, 88-yard drive capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Kopach to Kyle Senn.
Ashland scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and added another in the fourth quarter. Kopach was intercepted early in the second half that set up the first touchdown. Ashland blocked a Garrett Peck punt for a touchdown on the next possession and the Eagles tossed a 34-yard touchdown for the third score.
Rockne Belmonte put up the lone points in the second half for NMU with a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Eagles running back D.J. McCoy capped off a 10-play 46-yard drive early in the fourth to finish the scoring.
NMU moves to 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Ashland is now 2-2 and 2-1 in the GLIAC.
The NMU offense finished the game with 289 yards of total offense (168 rushing and 121 passing). Kopach was 19-of-37 for 121 yards through the air with a touchdown and two interceptions. Kopach was sacked three times and rushed for 59 yards and a touchdown. Prince Young led the ground attack with 85 yards. Christian Marble-King had seven catches for 30 yards. Julian Gaines had two receptions for 30 yards.
Matt Forward, Robert Edmonds, Tony Propson and Anthony Echols led the defensive group with six total tackles each. Edmonds and Demitri Stewart each had a solo sack.
Peck had four punts for 151 yards (37.8 average) and put one inside the 20 yard line. Belmonte made his lone field goal attempt and was 1-for-2 on extra points.
The Wildcats host Wayne State on Saturday (Oct. 1) in the Superior Dome for Homecoming. Wayne State is 4-0 and ranked No. 9 in the nation in the latest poll. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
Game Notes: NMU has scored first in all four games this season…NMU is 6-14 all-time against Ashland…Attendance was 3,837 at Jack Miller Stadium on a sunny evening with mid 60 temperatures.
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