DETROIT, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team found itself in a 10-0 hole in the first quarter against the Wayne State University Warriors Saturday afternoon. NMU did battle back to take a 15-10 lead after 30 minutes of play, but Wayne State scored 16 points in the second half to take the game 26-18.
The loss was the first for the Wildcats in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play. NMU falls to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC. The Warriors improve to 4-1 and 3-1 respectively.
Wayne State put the first points up on the board when Ed Sanders hauled in a 12-yard pass from Mickey Mohner at 13:12 of the first quarter. Stefan Terleckyj's kick was good as the home team was up 7-0. About seven minutes later (6:35) Terleckyj added to lead with a 29-yard field goal for a 10-0 score. With under two minutes left in the opening quarter, Rockne Belmonte cut into the Warriors lead with a 38-yard field goal (1:47) for a 10-3 score.
The second quarter saw the 'Cats score two touchdowns as one was from the offense and one from the defense. Carter Kopach kept it himself for a one-yard plunge at 1:57 as the point after was no good. With the score 10-9, Edwin Knoblock returned an interception for a 70-yard touchdown with 00:19 showing on the clock. The two-point conversion was no good as the 'Cats went into halftime with the lead (15-10).
The third quarter saw the home team take a 16-15 lead when Donald Brown caught a 36-yard pass from Mohner (6:55) as the two-point conversion was no good. Belmonte gave the 'Cats the lead once again with his second field goal of the afternoon, 18-16, when he connected with a 44-yard boot at 2:44. The kick was a career-long for Belmonte. Right before the end of the quarter (00:17), Terleckyj made his second field goal of the game from 20 yards to give the Warriors the lead for good (19-18).
WSU added a touchdown in the fourth quarter when Troy Burrell ran it in from nine yards (6:52) as the extra point kick was good (26-18).
For the afternoon the 'Cats recorded 313 yards of total offense while the Warriors had 321. On the ground NMU tallied 95 yards and in the air 218. WSU registered 141 yards rushing and 180 passing. The Warriors had 18 first downs to 15 for the 'Cats.
John Privitelli led the 'Cats on the ground with 56 yards on 15 carries. Kopach was 15-32-4 for 218 yards. Dustin Brancheau had five catches for 111 yards. Josh Renel led the Warriors on the ground with 84 yards on 16 carries. Mohner was 17-29-1 for 180 yards.
On the defensive front, Josh Droese and Anthony Marietti each led the way with 10 total tackles. Droes had eight solo and two assisted tackles to go along with his sack and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Marietti recorded seven solo and three assisted tackles. Knoblock ended the game with eight total tackles (six solo and two assisted).
The 'Cats continue on the road with a game at Grand Valley State next week (Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.).