Wildcats kick off season against Northwood

Katie Bultman

This weekend, the dome lights will envelop the turf as the Wildcats take the field for the first game of the 2014 football season.

“It’s going to be a great college football atmosphere,” head coach Chris Ostrowsky said. “As a student, there’s nothing better than sharing memories at a college football game and that’s really a unique atmosphere. Here at Northern, we get to do it at the Superior Dome, which is such a first class facility.”

Last season, NMU defeated Northwood University 35-14 on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at the Dome. Northwood finished the 2013 season with a 1-8 conference record, 2-9 overall for eighth place in the GLIAC North division. (Anthony Viola/NW)
Last season, NMU defeated Northwood University 35-14 on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at the Dome. Northwood finished the 2013 season with a 1-8 conference record, 2-9 overall for eighth place in the GLIAC North division. (Anthony Viola/NW)

The ’Cats host the season opener at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 in the Superior Dome against the Northwood University Timberwolves.

Last season, NMU finished 34-15 over Northwood University on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 in the Dome.

This season, the Timberwolves add 28 new athletes to the roster after graduating defensive lineman Kyle Fikki and defensive back Carlos Love, both members of the 2013 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention team.

Ostrowsky said he expects Northwood University to be a tough team that’s well-coached and ready to play.

“In terms of our first game, we’ve worked really hard here through training camp and through our preparation week to compete and be ready to go for Northwood,” Ostrowsky said. “I expect us to be prepared, I expect us to play with great passion and energy…all things that I hope as a program, we are known for.”

NMU returns a number of players from last season, of which Ostrowsky noted the four captains, juniors running back Wyatt Jurasin, wide receiver Marcus Tucker and line backer Levi Perry, along with senior defensive end Trever Kruzel, as strong leaders.

“Our four captains need to be mentioned, because they’ve really embraced that role,” Ostrowsky said. “This is as good a group as I’ve been around in terms of their leadership.”

Ostrowsky also said junior offensive lineman Kyle Steuck, sophomore quarterback Shaye Brown, junior linebacker Loran Jaddou and senior linebacker and Division II All-American, Nick Krause, are all athletes to watch out for.

“I think it’s tough to mention just a couple,” Ostrowsky said. “We got a lot of guys that are factoring in for us right now.”

Kruzel, who finished the 2013 season with 47 tackles and four sacks, said the team’s big push this year is to have an unpleasant defensive presence.

“That’s our big push, is be a real nasty defense and that’s what we really want,” Kruzel said. “Our first game is always people flying around, nerves are up there, being able to play fast and being in good condition like we are, at least we feel like we are. That nastiness will come out and I feel like it’ll be really, really good for us.”

Tucker finished with 67.4 yards per game last season, on average.

He said this year, the guys are very entrenched in the program and the vision of Ostrowsky.

“We’re not a selfish team and I don’t think we have a team full of selfish players anymore,” Ostrowsky said. “I think those group of guys have left, those type of people weed themselves out in this program. Eventually either it shows that they’re selfish or they eventually give up because it’s all about themselves, but we’re entrenched here and the vision here is that we’re going to win as a team and we’re going to do things as a team. We’re going to look out for our brothers and we’re going to make sure that everyone is OK on and off the field.”