September 12, 2013

Football Hosts Findlay in Season and Home Opener

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team opens the 101st season of play on Sept. 14. The Wildcats host the University of Findlay at 1 p.m. at the Superior Dome.

Findlay is 1-0 after its home and season opening win over Urbana on Thursday (Sept. 5). The Oilers won 51-33, scoring a touchdown in every quarter. They also scored on a 36-yard interception return and 91-yard kickoff return while racking up 259 yards of total offense.

UF was selected third in the South Division in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll after finishing 7-3 overall and 7-3 in the GLIAC in 2012.

The Oilers and Wildcats have met 17 times, dating back to 1954. NMU holds the all-time series lead 11-6. NMU won five of the first six games in the series. The teams are 4-4 in the last eight meetings.

The two teams met for the 2012 season-opener in Findlay. The Oilers handed the 'Cats a 45-10 loss. UF scored the game's first 10 points and scored three straight touchdowns in the second half. Prince Young scored the lone NMU touchdown. Ryan Morley was 24-of-44 for 235 yards through the air with one interception in his first game. Running back Keon Collier had 75 yards on nine rushes, including a 50-yard dash late in the fourth. He also had two receptions for 30 yards. Receiver Julian Gaines had nine catches for 87 yards. The two teams combined for only three penalties and a fairly even time of possession (30:38-29:22).

Coach Ostrowksy added two coaches to the staff in the offseason. Karl Maslowski will coach the linebackers and special teams. Dan Rowe is an assistant on the offense. Maslowski was an All-American at Western Kentucky where he also won a National Championship. He has coached at WKU and Miami (Ohio). Rowe has coached at Wyoming, Merrimack, Yale and New Hampshire.

Senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak returns to lead the Wildcat spread offense. Scepaniak threw for 1,055 yards on 74-for-128 attempts last season and six touchdowns after starting the final five games. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Morley, who is coming off recovery from surgery, also brings experience to quarterback. Morley was 88-of-174 last season for 916 yards and three touchdowns. Junior transfer Dustin Thomas and freshman Shaye Brown bring added depth to the quarterback position.

Chris Ostrowsky enters his second season as the head coach after being named the 21st head coach on Nov. 30, 2011. He is also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Ostrowsky spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator prior to his appointment to head coach. Ostrowsky picked up his first collegiate victory on Sept. 6, 2012 in a 24-6 win over Wisconsin-La Crosse. Northern finished 4-7 in his first season, winning three of the final five games, including a 38-10 upset over No. 14-ranked Grand Valley State. It was the first time since 1999 that an NMU team defeated both GVSU and Saginaw Valley State in the same season.

Chris Ostrowsky named the 2013 captains on Aug. 6. Seniors Christian Jessie, Brandon Parson, Cody Scepaniak and Morgan Stenz were voted as captains by their teammates.

NMU was selected seventh in the North Division in the GLIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll. Grand Valley State was voted first with Saginaw Valley State, Ferris State, Michigan Tech, Hillsdale and Wayne State claiming spots two through six. Northwood was chosen eighth. Ashland led the south followed by Ohio Dominican, Findlay, Walsh, Lake Erie, Tiffin and Malone.

Former Northern NMU players are organizing an event during homecoming to honor one of their former Wildcat coaches, Buck Nystrom. The "Hands on the Line for Coach Buck", social event will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20 at the Holiday Inn of Marquette. The cost to attend is $40. The players have also started a scholarship in Nystrom's name.

Tickets for the game are $11 for adults and $8 for seniors and students 18 and under. NMU students are free with their student ID. Adult season tickets are $45.

100.3 FM "The Point", the official radio voice of the NMU Wildcats, carries all football games. "The Point" also hosts the weekly NMU Coaches' Show on Mondays from 6-8 p.m. at Vango's.

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