MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team picked up where they left off last year playing in the Superior Dome. Saturday afternoon the Wildcats jumped out to a 35-7 lead at the half and never looked back to take a 49-10 win over the visiting Findlay Oilers in the opening Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game for both sides. With the win NMU improves to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC while UF falls to 0-2 and 0-1 respectively.
Marcus Tribble gave NMU the lead in which they would never give up when he returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown at 9:58 of the first quarter. With the good extra point the 'Cats were up 7-0. A little more than five minutes later the 'Cats found the end zone again on a Carter Kopach 33-yard pass to Craig Thompson (4:12). The extra point was good and the score was now 14-0.
The second quarter saw he 'Cats put 21 points on the scoreboard. Dustin Brancheau caught the first of his three touchdowns passes on the afternoon at 12:44 when he connect with Kopach for a 49-yard strike (21-0). About four minutes later the duo connected again for a seven-yard touchdown pass at 8:40 for a 28-0 score with the good extra point. Brancheau would tie an NMU record with three receiving touchdowns on the afternoon.
At 2:27 of the quarter Blake Crider caught a 19-yard pass from Kopach for a 35-0 score with the good extra point. UF got on the board just before the half on a one-yard pass from Zach Tate to Josh Kloepfer with one tick left on the clock. The Oilers extra point was good as both teams went into the locker room with the score 35-7.
UF made the score 35-10 when Cameron Stevens connected from 38 yards out at 5:30 of the third quarter. With less than a minute left in the quarter (00:52), Kopach scampered in from a yard out and with the good extra point made the score 42-10.
The fourth quarter saw Brancheau and Kopach hook up again for a 22-yard touchdown for the final margin of the afternoon
Kopach ended the game with 269 yards passing on 17-24-1, five touchdowns, and led the team on the ground with 44 yards rushing on eight carries. The NMU record for most touchdown passes in a game is six and was set by Keith Nelson in 1984 against Michigan Tech.
Brancheau caught four passes for the game, but three were touchdowns, for 100 yards. Christian Marble-King had a game-high six catches for 32 yards.
Defensively the 'Cats were led by Zach Anderson with eight total tackles (four solo and four assisted), 1.5 sacks (-6 yards) and 3.5 tackles-for-loss (-9 yards). Ricky Neaves (three solo and three assisted) and Edwin Knobloh (three solo and three assisted) each had six total tackles. As a defensive unit the 'Cats recorded four interceptions.
NMU recorded 370 yards of total offense on the afternoon. The 'Cats had 269 yards passing and 101 yards rushing. UF had 239 yards of total offense (133 yards rushing and 106 yards passing).
NMU is back on the road next week with a game at Northwood (Sept. 18) with kickoff set for noon.