Football team heads into final weekend

Georgette Breen-Naylor

The Wildcats were unable to keep the winning streak going as nationally-ranked Saginaw Valley took the victory at home.

The ’Cats traveled to Saginaw Valley this past weekend to compete against the top team in the GLIAC. The Cardinals boast the top quarterback and one of the top wide receivers in the country. The duo have been haunting opposing defenses for the past few years. Against the ’Cats, Cardinal senior quarterback Jonathon Jennings threw for 280 yards and four touchdown passes. All four went to senior wide receiver Jeff Janis, who also had 230 receiving yards.  football

The ’Cats were able to pass for 263 yards, but the run game was held to a total of 36 rushing yards.

Redshirt running back Keon Collier led the run game with 29 rushing yards on 11 carries. Collier said there are areas the team will need to improve on.

After a fumble forced by the ’Cats defense, NMU was unable to capitalize on the early mistake by the Cardinals. Near the red zone, freshman quarterback Shaye Brown threw an interception, which led to a Jennings-to-Janis touchdown connection, their first of the day.

The Wildcats were able to get on the board after a field goal by freshman John Oberheide. A few drives later, Brown threw his second interception that was returned for a Cardinal touchdown. Brown was 22-46 for 263 yards, with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. Brown said the team didn’t play to their ability.

“We didn’t execute,” Brown said. “We weren’t in it mentally.”

Senior wide receiver Christian Jessie was on the end of the two touchdown passes. Jessie also had seven catches with 80 yards.

NMU falls to 3-6 on the season as they enter the last game against GLIAC opponent Ferris State, who is 7-2 in the GLIAC and averages 488.1 offensive yards per game and 39.2 points per game.

The Bulldogs’ defense is ranked second in the conference in rush defense, allowing only 144.8 yards a game. According to stats on the GLIAC website, Ferris has six players in the top 50 rushers in the GLIAC.

Senior linebacker Brock Reynolds said everyone needs to do their own job.

“Everyone just needs to play hard,” Reynolds said. “ If we play together everything else should come together.”

The last game of the season will be the last chance for the Wildcats to make their mark in the GLIAC. They will have the chance to be above 500 in their last five games of the season.

Last season NMU was able to get two of five in their last half of the season. This will be an opportunity for the ’Cats to show they are progressing from last season.

The Wildcats take on the Bulldogs at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at Ferris State.

“They (Ferris State) have a strong quarterback along with a good running back,” Reynolds said. “We will be ready for them this Saturday.”