Football team hosts Hawks in home opener

Ray Bressette

The ’Cats will open the Superior Dome for the 2015 season this weekend with a non-conference match against the GLVC’s Quincy University Hawks.re-AV_Football4

NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky said the team is excited for their home opener.

“The Superior Dome always has a great atmosphere when the place is packed,” Ostrowsky said. “Our community is starving for us to be a successful team, and we’re working as hard as we can to put that product on the field.”

The Wildcats will be looking to shake off last week’s 20-7 loss to the Northwood Timberwolves in their season opener on Saturday, Sept. 5 in Midland, Mich. The Timberwolves capitalized on five Wildcat turnovers, one blocked field goal and one missed field goal attempt in their second season-opening win over NMU in as many years.

NMU junior quarterback Shaye Brown threw for 195 yards and one touchdown to senior wide receiver Marcus Tucker with 3:04 remaining in regulation, but Brown’s three interceptions contributed to NMU’s loss.

Ostrowsky said there were positives in the loss that will shape the team moving forward.

“Our defense was stellar all game,” Ostrowsky said. “We had some players that played with great energy and passion. When your defense was good, you can understand how to be successful because you have a foundation. Everyone knows you cannot win without a good defense, and it’s only going to get better.

“We’re going to fix our turnover issues on the other side of the ball, and if that can happen it will equal a great game for us.”

The Quincy University Hawks will make the trip to Marquette from Quincy, Ill. for their 2015 season opener.

Last season, the ’Cats traveled to Quincy in the second week of the season, leaving with a 31-14 victory.

Brown threw for 220 yards and one touchdown in the win, while senior running back Wyatt Jurasin rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns.

Quincy finished the 2014 season in fifth place in the GLVC with a 4-4 conference record, 6-5 overall.

The GLVC’s preseason coaches poll picked Quincy to finish in fifth place once again this season.

The Hawks will be returning redshirt-senior quarterback Nick Lonergan, who took every snap for Quincy a year ago. Lonergan earned a 62.42 passing percentage, throwing for 2,606 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Quincy’s sophomore running back Chris Harris was the GLVC’s second leading scorer with 17 touchdowns.

Harris also averaged 88.55 yards per game.

Junior linebacker LJ Liston said the ’Cats will continue the same approach on the defense.

“We’re doing a good job getting to the ball and making big plays every down,” Liston said. “We have to keep doing what we do best every week. The game plan isn’t going to change, no matter who we play.”

After NMU lost the time of possession to Northwood last week 22:32 to 37:28, they will be facing a Quincy offense that averaged five more minutes than their opponents’ in the category last season.

“You have to play responsibly all the time against a team like Quincy,” Ostrowsky said. “From a defensive perspective, we’re watching as much film as we can. You have to get a feel for what a team does tendency wise. We’re a good tackling football team, and that has to step up in the pass rush.

“We’ve always got to get to the quarterback, hit the quarterback, and that can change a game, and defensively we’re always trying to do that.”