FINDLAY, Ohio – The Northern Michigan University football team had a rough start the to 2012 season, losing 45-10 to the University of Findlay on Thursday (Aug. 30) evening from Donnell Stadium in Findlay, Ohio. The Oilers opened the game scoring the first 10 points and had three straight touchdowns to open the second half in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Chris Ostrowsky took the loss in his first game as the head coach of the Wildcats, “We had a tough start to the season against a good football team. Our young players played pretty well but we made some mistakes that you can’t make against a good team.”
The lone touchdown for NMU (0-1, 0-1 GLIAC) came with 9:42 left in the second quarter from senior running back Prince Young on a 9-yard run after a 7-play, 47-yard drive that cut the lead to three at 10-7.
Senior kicker Rockne Belmonte added his first field goal of the season with 3:31 left in the third quarter with a 26-yard kick to make it 38-10. It was his 32nd career field goal.
Findlay’s (1-0, 1-0 GLIAC) first touchdown came after an NMU fumble deep in Wildcat territory. Monty Williams capped off the 2-play drive with a 5-yard dash into the endzone with 8:58 left in the first.
The second Oiler score came on a 20-yard field goal after Findlay blocked a Belmonte 28-yard attempt in the first quarter. Williams added a 10-yard touchdown 2:40 before halftime to make the score 17-7 at the break.
UF opened the second half with possession and quickly found pay dirt at 13:13 after a quick 5-play, 78-yard drive. Quarterback Clay Belton had a 53-yard pass to Seth White on the second play of the possession to setup the score.
NMU’s redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Morley was picked off on the next possession to setup another quick Findlay score capped off by a 40-yard strike from Belton to Jaryd Brown.
The Wildcats punted and the Oilers scored on its third drive in a row with a 46-yard touchdown reception.
Belmonte’s field goal was added before the final score of the game with 10:42 left in the fourth on an Oiler 7-yard touchdown run by Daiquone Ford.
Morley finished 24-of-44 for 235 yards through the air with one interception.
“I was happy with Ryan Morley coming in and playing as well as he did in his first game,” Ostrowsky said. “He showed poise all game long.”
Young finished with 93 yards on the ground on 18 attempts. Freshman running back Keon Collier added 75 yards on nine rushes, including a 50-yard dash late in the fourth. He also had two receptions for 30 yards.
Sophomore receiver Julian Gaines had nine catches for 87 yards. Junior Christian Marble-King had five receptions for 32 yards and Young added four caches for 42 yards.
Senior linebacker Eddie Knoblock and junior linebacker Morgan Stenz led the ‘Cats with 10 total tackles each. Redshirt freshman Matt Smith had eight while senior Zach Anderson and sophomore Jordan Adediran chipped in with six. Freshman Armoni Broussard had a fumble recovery.
“Eddie Knoblock and Morgan Stenz showed some leadership on the defensive end and stepped up,” Ostrowsky added. “We played pretty disciplined football with only two penalties and I think that is important and something positive to look at.”
The two teams combined for only three penalties and a fairly even time of possession (30:38-29:22).
The ‘Cats play their home-opener on Thursday (Sept. 6), hosting the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Superior Dome.
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