The Northern Michigan University football team picked up its first win under head coach Chris Ostrowsky and the first win of 2012 with a 24-6 victory over the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on Thursday (Sept. 6) evening from the Superior Dome. The Eagles scored a touchdown on the opening possession of the game but the Wildcats answered with 24 straight points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.
NMU (1-1, 0-1 GLIAC) punted on its first possession of the game after the UW-L touchdown but scored on senior running back Prince Young??s first of three touchdowns. Young had a 3-yard run with 2:43 left in the first quarter to tie it at six. Senior kicker Rockne Belmonte added the extra point for the lead after UW-L missed its extra point attempt earlier.
Junior Brandon Parson had a 36-yard punt return to the UW-L 25 yard line to set up the quick 4-play, 25-yard drive.
On NMU??s second possession of the third quarter, redshirt freshman Ryan Morley found junior wide receiver Christian Marble-King open for a 56-yard gain on a third and 11. The ??Cats used their no huddle offense to speed up the game and Young scored his second touchdown four plays later with 7:41 left in the third.
Sophomore defensive lineman Jordan Adediran setup the next Wildcat score after intercepting UW-L quarterback Zach Mestelle and returning it 26 yards to the UW-L 35. Mestelle had his pass tipped and it fell into Adediran??s hands. Seven plays later, Young found the endzone for the final time with a 3-yard dash early in the fourth quarter (11:31).
Redshirt freshman Trey Hipke had a 20-yard punt return to setup a 29-yard field goal by Belmonte to round out the scoring with 5:52 to go.
Northern finished with 313 yards of total offense on 144 rushing yards and 169 passing. The ??Cats were 5-for-15 on third down and 4-for-6 in the redzone.
Morley finished 11-for-25 through the air with 169 yards and one interception. He also had four rushes for 19 yards and was sacked twice.
Young finished with 103 yards on the ground on 27 carries. Freshman Keon Collier had five rushes for 33 yards.
Marble-King had 81 yards receiving on three grabs. Sophomore Julian Gaines had four catches for 44 yards and junior Christian Jessie finished with three catches and 35 yards.
Defensively, NMU finished the game with 10 tackles for loss, three sacks and one interception. Senior linebacker Eddie Knoblock led with nine total tackles (three solo and six assisted). Senior Zach Anderson, freshman Thomas McNamara and junior Morgan Stenz each had seven total tackles.
Knoblock and Anderson had two tackles for loss. Sophomore Nick Krause and freshman Nolan Davenport each had a sack.
UW-La Crosse (1-1) had more time of possession (32:16-27:44) and had five more offense plays (68-63) than the ??Cats. The Eagles finished with 196 yards of offense (54 rushing, 142 passing.) They were 7-for-19 on third down and 1-for-1 in the redzone. Jared Stan led the ground attack with 55 yards on 22 carries. Mestelle was 12-for-24 passing with 106 yards and one interception.
The ??Cats travel back to Ohio next weekend to take on the Ohio Dominican Panthers in the first meeting between the two schools. Kickoff in Columbus is set for 1 p.m.