Football team looks to bounce back at home

Ray Bressette

The NMU football team returns home for a GLIAC matchup against the Walsh Cavaliers, after their largest deficit loss of the season last weekend in a 44-14 defeat to the Ashland University Eagles Saturday, Oct. 25 in Ashland, Ohio.

Senior linebacker Nick Krause said the team is ready to bounce back at home.

“The outlook is to finish the season strong,” Krause said. “We’ve had a lot of tough breaks in the season, but we have to keep our heads up and finish strong.

“We play a lot better at home, and we have to figure out how to play that well on away games but I think we’re going to do pretty well this week.”

The ’Cats were down by 44 points heading into the fourth quarter. Junior running back Terrance Dye broke the shutout with a three-yard touchdown run with 9:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Brown was 15 for 32 in passing with a 47 percent completion rate, throwing for 180 yards and zero touchdowns or interceptions. With the loss, NMU drops to 1-6 in GLIAC play and 2-6 overall. The Wildcats sit at the bottom of sit 14 out of the 15 GLIAC teams.

The Wildcats will kick off against the Walsh University Cavaliers from the GLIAC South Division at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1 at the Superior Dome.

The Cavaliers travel to NMU with a 2-6 record and are coming off a 52-17 loss to Wayne State University Saturday, Oct. 25 in Detroit.

Walsh’s senior wide receiver Jerald Robinson is tied for the second most touchdowns in the GLIAC with seven, and has 348 receiving yards as well.

Senior quarterback Paul Kempe has started the previous three games for the Cavaliers, but was relieved for senior quarterback Jason Fracassa midway through the second period against Wayne State.

Kempe has a 46.3 percent passing completion rate with one thrown touchdown and one interception, while Fracassa has a 50 percent completion rate and has one passing touchdown.

Head coach Chris Ostrowsky said Walsh can win with both sides of their game.

“They’re a physical football team, they’re huge up front and probably the biggest we’ve seen all season in terms of their interior guys,” Ostrowsky said. “Their offense runs a bunch of different styles, and that multiplicity will put a lot of pressure on our defense. That and their defensive size will present a huge challenge.” 

The Wildcats put up 21.8 points per game on average while the Cavaliers score 22.2 a game. Walsh’s defense has given up 32.5 average points per game, while NMU’s opponents score 26.8 points on average.

Junior wide receiver Marcus Tucker said Saturday will be a competitive game with great implications for the program.

“This will be an intense game,” Tucker said. “They’re a scrappy team that works hard, and they aren’t planning on coming up here and taking a loss. They’re a nice group of kids, and we’re definitely going to have to be prepared for them.

“We’re just trying to win out every game on our schedule and take it one week at a time. We want to go out with three home wins and look forward to getting better in the spring and carry it into next season.”

Tucker said playing at home gives the team and extra lift.

“Playing in the Superior Dome is a huge advantage for us,” Tucker said. “We’re home where we play every day, we’re faster, we’re better, the crowd really gets us going and the atmosphere here is unlike any other in the GLIAC, which helps us play great.”