MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team suffered a heart-breaking loss in the final game of the 2012 season on Saturday (Nov. 10) from the Superior Dome. Ferris State scored a touchdown with nine seconds to go and had a successful two-point conversion to defeat the Wildcats 32-31 on Senior Day.
“It was a tough loss and a tough way to finish,” NMU coach Chris Ostrowsky said. “I thought our kids played hard and it came down to the final play of the game. It’s a tough one to swallow right now but when we get some time to sit down and reflect we’ll feel pretty good about what we were able to accomplish this year.”
Northern finished 4-7 overall on the season and 3-7 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. FSU finished 7-4 and 6-4 in the GLIAC.
NMU’s 12 seniors were honored before the game as Zach Anderson, Rockne Belmonte, James Brito-White, Sam Celentino, Jace Daniels, Josh Droese, Eddie Knoblock, Weston McIntosh, Brent Parrett, Chad Pepper, Joe Vezina and Prince Young played their final game in the Green and Gold.
The ‘Cats led 13-10 at halftime after Belmonte made a 29-yard field goal with 2:50 left before the break.
The Bulldogs received the second half kickoff and marched down the field, taking a 17-14 lead after Jamaal Jackson’s seven yard touchdown run.
Belmonte brought the ‘Cats back to within one with a 44-yarder with 6:52 left in the third quarter.
FSU added a field goal of its own for a one point lead again 17-16.
Junior Christian Jessie took the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to the endzone and freshman Austin Young found junior quarterback Cody Scepaniak in the endzone for the two-point conversion and a seven point lead.
Jason Vander Laan tied the game five minutes into the fourth with a five yard run.
NMU took the lead on Prince Young’s touchdown with less than eight minutes to go but the Bulldogs found the endzone on a Vander Laan pass to Jake Lampman with nine ticks left.
FSU took the 32-31 lead as Torico Searcy added the two-point conversion after NMU used up its timeouts to setup the defense.
The ‘Cats jumped out of the gates, taking a 10-point lead after a Scepaniak touchdown run and Belmonte’s first of the game, a 23-yard field goal.
Vander Laan scored his first touchdown with a 28-yard run in the second quarter.
NMU finished the day with 286 yards of total offense on 129 yards rushing and 157 passing. The ‘Cats were 4-for-13 on third down and were 4-for-4 in the redzone. NMU had two turnovers and FSU had one.
Scepaniak finished 11-for-19 through the air for 157 yards. He also rushed 28 times for 60 yards. Young finished with 57 yards on the ground on 11 carries. Sophomore Kelvin Smarwt led the team with two receptions for 37 yards. Vezina had two receptions for 32 yards.
Sophomore Nick Krause led the defense with 14 total tackles, including 11 solo tackles. Junior Morgan Stenz also had 14 total tackles while Josh Droese and sophomore Nick DiTomaso added eight.
FSU had 407 total yards of offense with 269 on the ground and 138 through the air. Vander Laan had a game-high 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He was also 14-for-25 passing for 138 yards and a touchdown.
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