Homecoming Football game lost in turnovers

Katie Bultman

NMU gives up 300 rushing yards to opponent Ohio Dominican

The homecoming football game against Ohio Dominican University resulted in a 30-23 loss for the Wildcats in a game of turnovers.The Panthers won the turnover margin over the ’Cats on Saturday, Sept. 21, tallying two interceptions and a fumble recovery in comparison to one interception that Wildcat senior defensive back Brandon Parson picked off at the NMU 32-yard line.

Senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak (12) completed 298 passing yards and one touchdown in the Homecoming game against Ohio Dominican. The Wildcats are now 1-1 on the 2013 season. (Photo: Anthony Viola)
Senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak (12) completed 298 passing yards and one touchdown in the Homecoming game against Ohio Dominican. The Wildcats are now 1-1 on the 2013 season. (Photo: Anthony Viola)

Head coach Chris Ostrowsky said the team has continually emphasized on taking care of the ball, especially in big games like this, yet it didn’t show on the field Saturday.“We talk about ball security every single day and we talk about creating turnovers,” Ostrowsky said. “We didn’t do a very good job in either and absolutely that was the difference in the game.”

Last season, the ’Cats played at Ohio Dominican University on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 in a game that resulted in a 47-7 defeat for NMU. The Panthers finished second in the GLIAC south division in 2012 and third overall with a 7-3 record.

Ostrowsky said in comparison to last season, NMU put out some big plays against the Panthers on Saturday.

“[We] established some really big plays and last year they had some monster plays against us,” Ostrowsky said. “I guess that is something that is positive.”

Senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak threw for 298 yards on Saturday and one touchdown, in addition to an interception.

The Dominican defense covered senior wide receiver Christian Jessie tightly, leaving Jessie with only 54 receiving yards on Saturday afternoon, following the prior week of 189 receiving yards against Findlay.

Scepaniak found an open man in junior wide receiver Marcus Tucker, who finished with 127 receiving yards. Tucker led all in receiving yards.

Scepaniak said Ohio Dominican University covered Jessie for a majority of the game, but there were still openings that the Wildcats found on offense.

“They bracket over Jessie, he’s a threat,” Scepaniak said. “Marcus Tucker did a great job today. If they want to cover Christian Jessie, I’ll throw it to [Tucker] a hundred times, or Austin Young, or Kelvin (Smarwt), or whoever it is. They (the opposing team) can bracket [Jessie] all day but someone is going to be open.”

NMU gave up 300 rushing yards to Ohio Dominican University, which helped the Panthers move down the field for the victory.

Ohio Dominican led by as many as 14 points during the game, and the ’Cats never held the lead.

Ostrowsky said he takes the loss upon himself, and will make sure the team understands what needs to be done in the future.

“For us, for me, in this program, losing is not acceptable,” Ostrowsky said. “At this juncture it starts with me, it will finish with me, and I’ll take the loss and make sure that we understand why we lost in great detail.”

The Wildcats travel to face the 2012 GLIAC champion team, Ashland University, of the GLIAC South Division. The game opens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at Ashland University. The Eagles finished last season with a 10-0 record, and beat the ’Cats 42-13 in last season’s matchup. Ashland, ranked ninth in the nation going into 2013, is currently 0-3 on the season after losses to Indianapolis, Wayne State and Ferris State.

Scepaniak said the Wildcats will hold a short memory to the loss in order to move forward on the season.

“The good part about college football is you look at it Sunday, forget about it Sunday afternoon and prepare for the next week,” Scepaniak said. “We still keep it in our minds and use it as motivation. Then we go out and practice ten times harder this week than last week, and it’ll be a different game.”