MIDLAND, Texas – Northern Michigan University traveled to Texas to take on the University of Texas of the Permian Basin Saturday night but were unable to pull out victory as they fell to the Falcons 40-24.
| THE FIRST SCORE
UTPB scored on their first drive, but NMU answered on the very next drive.
Tyauan Cox (Chicago, Ill.) ran for 11 yards on the first play, followed by a four-yard rush from junior Deandre Caldwell (Kankakee, Ill.). After an NMU timeout, sophomore Ryan Johnson (De Pere, Wis.) hit senior Ryan Knight (Grand Rapids, Mich.) for a 14-yard gain for another first down.
With the ball on the UTPB 34, Caldwell ran for eight yards. On the next play, Johnson and Knight connected again, this time for 21 yards to set the Wildcats on the five yard line.
| ANOTHER SCORE
The Falcons managed to score twice but NMU narrowed the gap. With 3:07 left in the first half and the drive starting on the NMU 18-yard line, sophomore Keshawn Howard (Rochester, N.Y.) took the first play for a yard, but sophomore Benjamin Loutsis (Aurora, Ill.) then rushed for 18 yards to move the Wildcats up to their 37 yard line. Johnson then hit junior Ravon Johnson (Willowbrook, Ill.) for a 15-yard completion, which featured a UTPB penalty to move the Wildcats down to the Falcon's 34-yard line.
After a loss, sophomore Sebastion Toland (Jackson, Mich.) carried it four yards followed by a 15-yard run by Johnson to set NMU on the UTPB 19. Johnson then followed with an 18-yard completion along the sideline to Loutsis to stop the clock with 11 seconds left.
On the next play, Johnson rolled right and found Ravon Johnson in the end zone for the touchdown. Riser's extra point kick made the score 20-14 as the teams entered halftime.
| TAKING A LEAD
After scoring to end the half, the Wildcats took advantage of having the first drive of the second half as they scored a go-ahead touchdown. The drive started at the NMU 18-yard line, which Cox moved up nine yards with a carry. King then gave the Wildcats a first down. Facing 2nd and 15 after a penalty, Johnson and Johnson connected for 12 yards to set up 3rd and 3 from their 36.
Johnson extended the drive by hitting Connor Bruinius (Grand Rapids, Mich.) for the 31-yard catch and run to move NMU to the UTPB 33. A penalty pushed the Wildcats back but Johnson hit Loutsis for 22 yards, moving the offense up to the Falcon 16.
A UTPB penalty moved the Wildcats up five yards and Johnson's next pass went incomplete. On 2nd and 10, King took the handoff, broke a tackle and scampered into the end zone. After Riser made his third extra point, the Wildcats were leading 21-20 with 11:09 on the clock in the third quarter.
| ADDING THREE
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats faced a 30-21 deficit and were pinned down at their own three-yard line. On the first play, King took the handoff and ran for 75 yards to get the Wildcats out of danger. After a one yard carry by Caldwell, Johnson hit Bruinius for 13 yards to put NMU on the UTPB three-yard line. King put the offense on the one, but the team was unable to get into the end zone and Riser would cap the drive with an 18-yard field goal to make the game 30-24 with 9:20 to go.
However, the Falcons managed to score a field goal and another touchdown to close out the game and win 40-24.
| OFFENSIVE LEADERS
Johnson finished the night 20-35 for 246 yards and a touchdown. Loutsis tallied six receptions and 74 yards while Ravon Johnson also had six receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. Knight added four receptions and 51 yards and Bruinius finished with two catches for 44 yards.
On the ground, King notched 99 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. As a team, the Wildcats totaled 181 yards on the ground, averaging 5.7 yards a carry.
| MAKING PLAYS ON DEFENSE
The Wildcat defense made several big plays in the game. In the first quarter, the Falcons had the ball at the NMU 23-yard line and were facing 4th and 9. Sophomore John McMullen (Kankakee, Ill.) ended the UTPB drive with 19-yard sack to set up the Wildcats offense.
In addition to McMullen's sack, redshirt freshman Antonio Howard Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) also recorded a sack for eight yards.
| UP NEXT
NMU is now 1-1 with UTPB moving to 2-0. The Wildcats return home and will prepare to start Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play by hosting Davenport University during Homecoming next Saturday.