Weekend victory boosts team morale

Georgette Breen-Naylor

The Wildcats added another win to their record after playing Wayne State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 during family weekend. Sophomore running back Wyatt Jurasin rushed for two touchdowns in the first half of the game, and then caught a 10-yard pass in the second half from third-string freshman quarterback Shaye Brown.

Freshman quarterback Shaye Brown (19) set up the offense, which includes Jesse (3), Anderson (71) and Strope (55) for 231 total passing yards. (Anthony Viola NW)
Freshman quarterback Shaye Brown (19) set up the offense, which includes Jesse (3), Anderson (71) and Strope (55) for 231 total passing yards. (Anthony Viola NW)

The Wildcats’ defense forced three turnovers in the game, one of which resulted in a touchdown. The defense also held the Warriors to 21 points and allowed less than 150 yards rushing.

The ’Cats created more than 400 yards on offense and were 60 percent on third-down conversions.

Senior Kyle Steuck was part of an offensive line that didn’t allow one sack against a Wayne State defense that prides itself on blitzing and getting to the quarterback.

Steuck said the team worked hard all week in practice and everyone did their job in the game.

“Our coaches gave us a great game plan,” Steuck said. “We just executed it perfectly.”

Brown, who wasn’t touched all game, went 19-30 with 233 yards passing and two touchdowns. The ground game of Jurasin and redshirt freshman running back Keon Collier helped the ’Cats get their first win since the opening game of the season, Saturday, Sept. 14 at home against Findlay.

Collier had 15 carries for 43 yards. Collier also had a long touchdown run in the third quarter at 9:20 on the clock, called back due to personal fouls by players on both teams.

The call resulted in both players being suspended from the game. After the play that would have put the ’Cats up 24-7, the re-called drive ended in a Wildcat fumble. The Warriors turned the fumble into a touchdown just a few plays later. Head coach Chris Ostrowsky said the call could have potentially been harmful.

“We were totally committed to the task at hand,” said Ostrowsky. “Consequently we were able to move forward.”

With the score 17-14, the ’Cats responded with a field goal from freshman kicker John Oberheide, who hit two on the day.

The defense responded with an interception by sophomore safety Thomas McNamara and the offense scored on the next drive when Brown connected with Jurasin for a 10-yard touchdown pass to improve the lead 27-14.

McNamara said the team showed a lot of heart against the Warriors.

“It felt great to win this game,” McNamara said. “It’s hard to stay positive after five losses in a row, but we showed a lot of maturity and got it done.”

On the next drive for the Warriors, redshirt defensive end Adam Williams forced a fumble that was recovered and returned for a touchdown by junior defensive lineman Trevor Kruzel.

NMU played on both sides of the ball to earn their second victory of the season and their second victory within the conference.

The next game for the 2-5 Wildcats will be against Northwood University Timberwolves.

Northwood is 2-6 overall and 1-5 in the GLIAC. Northwood also boasts Glenn Winston, a running back who transferred over from Michigan State University.

Winston is tied for fourth in the GLIAC in rushing touchdowns with nine and is top 10 in total yards and yards per game with 642 total yards and 91.7 yards a game.

“Every week tells a different story,” Ostrowsky said. “That is what preparation is all about.”

Northwood is tied for second in interceptions in the GLIAC with 10, and McNamara said if the ’Cats want to win this week, they need to play like they did against Wayne State.

“We just need to correct a couple small things,” McNamara said. “But if we play to our full potential we should get the win.”

The Wildcats play Northwood at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Superior Dome to host both Senior’s Day and Veteran’s Day.