MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan football team lost its second game in a row on Saturday (Oct. 1) against No. 9 Wayne State, 30-28, on Homecoming. The ‘Cats outscored the Warriors 14-3 in the second half and recovered an onside kick with under a minute to go but couldn’t get a first down to extend the game.
NMU is now 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Warriors remain unbeaten at 4-0 and 3-0 in the GLIAC.
Carter Kopach found a wide-open Jared Buss in the back of the endzone with 48 seconds left in the fourth quarter after a 10-play 70-yard drive. Rockne Belmonte added the extra point to close the gap to two points and then had a successful onside kick recovered by the Wildcats. Kopach threw four incompletions and Wayne State ran out the clock to end the game.
Wayne State got on the board early as James Jackson took the opening kickoff 90 yards to pay dirt. NMU had two punts and an interception in the first and the Warriors added a 33-yard field goal by Stefan Terleckyj.
NMU went down 24-0 in the second after two more touchdowns by Wayne State. Tony Davis and Chet Privett had short touchdown runs.
The Wildcats finally got on the board after two long passes to Julian Gaines. The first, a 35-yard completion to the Wayne State 20 and then Kopach found Gaines again, on the very next play, this time in the endzone.
Brandon Parson recovered the Belmonte kickoff after the ball went over all the Wayne State returners. The ‘Cats scored on the very next play on a 19-yard pass from Kopach to Christian Jessie to bring the Warriors lead to 10.
NMU got an interception by Robert Emonds but couldn’t capitalize and had to punt late in the second quarter. Wayne State finished the first half scoring with a 34-yard field goal before halftime.
Neither team was able to generate points in their first two drives of the third quarter. On its second possession, Wayne State fumbled the ball on its own 28 and Jacob Lehman recovered. Kopach used the short field and threw a 25-yard touchdown to Christian Marble-King
Terleckyj added his third field goal (36 yards) to expand the lead to nine to end scoring in the third quarter.
NMU had two punts and threw an interception in the fourth before the Buss touchdown and Wayne State had a turnover on downs, a missed field goal, a punt and a fumble.
NMU finished the game with 301 yards of offense (293 passing and 8 rushing) on 69 plays (4.4 yards per play). The ‘Cats had 17 first downs and were 6-of-16 on third down with three turnovers.
Quarterback Kopach was 24-for-33 through the air for 293 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Prince Young led the ground game with 38 yards. Christian Marble-King had 129 receiving yards and a touchdown and Julian Gaines added 116 yards and a touchdown.
Garrett Peck had seven punts and averaged 42.9 yards per punt. Belmonte made all four extra points and averaged 51.5 yards on four kickoffs.
The NMU defense recovered four Warrior fumbles. Josh Droese led the ‘Cats with nine total tackles (four solo and five assisted). Brandon Parson and Junior Michel had eight tackles. Zach Anderson had six and two tackles-for-loss. Robert Edmonds had the lone interception and returned it nine yards.
Toney Davis led Wayne State with 146 yards on the ground. Quarterback Mickey Mohner was15-for-28 for 233 yards through the air. Troy Burrell had 169 receiving yards.
NMU hosts Grand Valley in the Superior Dome next Saturday (Oct. 8) at 1 p.m.
Game Notes: NMU honored the 1981 football team at halftime…NMU defeated Ashland in Homecoming last year…It was the first time this season that NMU didn’t score first… NMU is now 12-11 all-time against Wayne State…Wayne State is ranked No. 9 in the most recent AFCA poll and No. 7 in the D2 Football poll…Julian Gaines is averaging 19.5 yards on 13 receptions this season...Attendance was 4,333 in the Superior Dome.
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