The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Megan Poe
Opinion Editor

My name is Megan Poe and I’m an English (writing concentration) and Philosophy double major at Northern. My concurrent experience with being published in and interning for literary magazines has landed...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Wildcats earn season’s second win in Houghton

The NMU football team walked away hoisting the Miner’s Cup trophy high on Saturday after crushing archrival Michigan Tech 48-16 at Sherman Field.

Northern improved to 2-1 on the year (2-1 GLIAC) while sending the Huskies to an 0-3 start.

“The Miners Cup is back where it belongs, it’s an important piece, there’s a lot at stake when you play [a rival],” head football coach Bernie Anderson said. “You’d like that in your own building because it represents a victory and for one year it stays here and it’s an incentive to keep it here.”

Anderson is now 2-2 against his old team since arriving at Northern in 2006. NMU improved their lead in the all time series to 41-37-3 in a tightly contested rivalry. Many on the team, including senior linebacker Nathan Yelk, feel the trophy just looks better in the possession of green and gold.

Story continues below advertisement

“Looks better in our locker room,” said Yelk. “We played pretty well. I think we could have made a couple more plays here and there. It felt good to hoist it up at the end, that’s for sure.”

NMU led at halftime 21-10 and didn’t look back. The Wildcats sprinted out to a 34-10 lead not far into the third quarter on a 36-yard interception return by senior linebacker Zach Gauthier, which would prove to be a back breaker for the Huskies.

The NMU offense racked up 465 yards including 245 on the ground. Freshman Antonio Wallace gained 158 yards on 14 carries. Sophomore quarterback Cater Kopach commanded the offense, going 11-of-14 while passing for 220 yards and two scores while also rushing for a touchdown.

Just three games into the season the Wildcats are able to play with their heads held just a bit higher than previous years.

“I think you have to have confidence and believe in yourself and believe in your team,” Anderson said. “We didn’t do enough winning last year. Two wins [this year] isn’t enough to say we’re there or say we’re where we want to be, but there’s no question I’d rather come off of a win than come off of a loss.”

A noticeably strong part of this Wildcat team is its offense, which has outscored opponents 131-39 this season. The overlooked part of that statistic is the mere 39 points allowed by this Wildcat team. Northern’s defense has only allowed three touchdowns through three games this season. The other points came on a punt return and field goals.

The tenacious defense of the ‘Cats is holding opponents to 244.7 yards per game, ranking second in the GLIAC, while also giving up an average of only 13 points per game.

Yelk believes the chemistry between the players has contributed to their success.

“We’ve been together a while, it’s the second year in the defense, which I think has proven huge for us right now,” Yelk said. “I guess you just trust guys a little more because you’ve been working with them so long, so I think its showing up on the field,” he added.

Northern’s rush defense, which has yet to allow a rushing touchdown on the year, ranks third in conference while the NMU pass defense holds the No. 1 conference spot, having allowed an average of only 130.3 yards per game.

The pass defense has been so good this season that opposing quarterbacks have left games against the Wildcats with an average passer rating of just 95.6 (158.3 scale) which also ranks amongst the top in the GLIAC.

Senior leadership from both Yelk and Gauthier, along with a second season under defensive coordinator Randy Awrey’s system has paid huge dividends so far. The defense knows though, that playing to their full potential has yet to be reached.
Gauthier believes that despite the impressive statistics they have been putting up, the defense can still progress.

“When you start watching film, we’re not even close to where we need to be,” he said. “I think that if this defense ever does get to their full potential, it’ll be an exciting thing to watch, that’s for sure.”

The defense will look to keep things going this week in the Superior Dome on Homecoming weekend against conference opponent Ferris State (1-3, 0-3 GLIAC).

Homecoming is a special time to players and coaches who would like to get a win in front of many alumni who return.

“Homecoming is important to us because our football team is representing all of these alumni coming back wanting to feel good about their school and where they graduated from,” Anderson said.

Kickoff is set for Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Superior Dome at 4 p.m.

More to Discover