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The North Wind

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Caden Sierra
Caden Sierra
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Hey. My name is Caden and I'm from the Chicagoland area.  I'm currently going into my 3rd year at NMU.  I'm a multimedia production major with a double minor in journalism and criminal justice. For as...

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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 WiertellaApril 30, 2024

’Cats snap winless streak against Tiffin

The NMU football team (3-5 GLIAC, 4-5 overall) snapped their losing streak in a big way on Saturday with a 59-3 victory over the Tiffin University Dragons.

The ’Cats got a big boost from their defense, who forced seven turnovers and scored twice. Head coach Bernie Anderson said the team took the wind out of the Dragons’ sails from the start.

“I was nervous if we didn’t come out and play, and they got some plays that they would taste blood,” Anderson said. “We didn’t allow that. We got the turnovers, we put points on the board, we stayed in control and broke their will.”

The first defensive touchdown came in the first quarter, when senior defensive back Junior Michel picked off the Tiffin quarterback and returned it 49 yards to score.

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“Sometimes it’s good to be a little lucky,” Michel said. “Coach (Randy) Awrey prepared us well this week with the routes they like to do. The D-line was getting pressure and making them throw errant passes, so we just capitalized on that.”

NMU’s other defense touchdown came right before half as the Wildcats stuffed Tiffin on a goal line stand and caused a fumble. Sophomore defensive back Morgan Stenz scooped up the loose ball and returned it 97 yards. Michel said it’s rewarding to see the defense make big plays.

“We needed that. We work hard every week in practice, and it finally paid off for us today,” Michel said. “We’ve just been working and finally we got some things in our favor this week.”

While the defense was clicking, the offense was also firing on all cylinders. Six different players found the end-zone and every player got a chance to play as the ’Cats had 467 total yards of offense. Anderson said it’s good to get the younger players game-time opportunities.

“I’m thankful that our first group got it done, and we were able to get those guys some playing time,” Anderson said. “It keeps them motivated; it keeps them working hard and that was a great thing for today.”

The Wildcats scored on the opening drive of the game, when junior running back Prince Young capped off the eight play 38-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown scramble.

Despite sitting most of the second half, Young was able to rack up 91 yards on 21 carries and score a touchdown. Senior quarterback Carter Kopach said Young has continued to improve all season.

“Prince is just getting better every week and they’re doing a great job upfront,” Kopach said. “He is definitely flourishing under getting more reps and more carries, but it all starts upfront and they’re doing a great job opening up holes.”

The ’Cats finished with 280 yards on the ground, while the defense held Tiffin to just 21. Sophomore running back Nick Awrey chipped in a career high 74 yards on nine carries and Kopach added another 55. Anderson said his team didn’t look past Tiffin, despite the team’s record.

“Teams like this can scare you, but we came out and didn’t take them lightly,” Anderson said. “We played the way we’re capable of playing, and I thought that was a really good sign for us today.”

Defensively, the ’Cats were lead by sophomore defensive back Brandon Parson who had two interceptions, along with four tackles. Senior defensive backs Brennan VanEffen and senior defensive back Marcus Tribble also recorded interceptions.

On offense, Kopach threw for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Christian Jessie had six catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Julian Gaines also caught a touchdown to go along with 63 yards receiving. Kopach said when the team is meshing together, they can compete with anybody.

“The opponents ourselves out there,” Kopach said. “We’ve got to throw the right passes, make the right reads, catch the ball and block the right guy. It doesn’t matter who we play; if we click, we can be better than anybody.”

The Wildcats will travel to Saginaw, Mich. this weekend to take on the Saginaw Valley University Cardinals (6-2 GLIAC, 6-2 overall) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5. NMU lost 24-17 to the Cardinals last season.

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