NMU football tops five-year win mark

drew.kochanny

With a 27-23 road victory over the Gannon Knights, the Northern Michigan Wildcat football team improved to 4-5 on the season. The four victories are the most for Northern since the 2002 season.

“We play together as a team now,” sophomore running back Mark Bossuah said. “Early in the season we played as an offense and defense and now we play as a team.”

The progress shown by the team throughout the season may offer a glimpse of what is to come for the future. The Wildcats are now 7-12 under second-year head coach Bernie Anderson.

“I think we’ve learned a number of lessons,” Anderson said. “We’re learning how to win at home, we’re learning how to prepare for the road, we’re learning how to play (while) overcoming adversity and we’re maturing as a team.”

With the recent win, Anderson posted career victory number 100 and has now won seven games in two years at NMU.

On Saturday, the ‘Cats may have been caught off-guard by a winless Gannon team that had nothing to lose.

Gannon took a 13-7 lead and held it until the third quarter.

Senior quarterback Buddy Rivera hooked up with sophomore wide receiver Zach Nichols to tie the game at 13.

The Knights connected on a 26-yard field goal to make the score 16-13 late in the third.

Both teams scored in the fourth and the game score was finalized on Nichols’ second touchdown reception of the evening, this time from 46 yards out.

NMU held Gannon out of the endzone in the closing seconds to secure the victory.

“Our defense played hard at the end because we’ve been in that situation before,” said Anderson. “We stayed composed and pressured their quarterback.”

The Wildcats finished the game with 516 yards of total offense.

Bossuah was held to just 49 yards in the first half, but found his groove in the second, finishing with 134 yards and one touchdown.

“We felt like we could run on them but we didn’t do a good job in the first half,” Bossuah said. “Everything came together in the second half and the line just stepped up and I ran harder.”

Rivera finished the game with 287 yards and two scores on 20-of-38 passing. Nichols finished with 84 yards on four catches and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Wildcats were led by senior linebacker Nicholas Bloch who finished with 13 tackles.

Next week, the Wildcats head south to take on defending national champion and currently undefeated Grand Valley State. NMU has not beaten the Lakers since the 2000 season.

Last year, the ‘Cats fell 47-17 at home and will be looking forward to this season’s game.

“I don’t think there is anyone in the U.S. that would expect [us to win], but I guess most people understand this is how upsets happen,” Anderson said. “More importantly for us, it is an opportunity to play one of the best teams in the country and to really measure up to see how much ground we’ve gained from last year. It’s really a great measuring stick for us.”

The game will take place Saturday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. at Lubbers Stadium.