’Cats prep for Miner’s Cup rivalry

Trevor Drew

After falling to the Hillsdale College Chargers in a close contest which ended 38-41, the Wildcat football squad now looks to take on rival Michigan Tech for their last home game of the season.

re-football1-ssHead coach Chris Ostrowsky said that he was disappointed in the results against Hillsdale but added that it’s important for the team, at this point, to move forward and prepare for their next game.
Ostrowsky also reflected on his time with players who will be graduating since this will be their last ever home game at the Superior Dome.

“They are just great kids. They have done everything we’ve asked them to. Every one of our seniors are on track to graduate, which is always awesome,” Ostrowsky said. “I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the way they’ve come about their work. They deserve to win this game.”

At the 4:10 mark in the third quarter against the Chargers, a 55-yard field goal from senior kicker Tyler Blackburn would bring the score to a tie 31-31. Hillsdale reclaimed the lead with a field goal in the last 30 seconds of the quarter and opened the final frame with a touchdown after taking advantage of a blocked NMU punt, putting them 10 points over the Wildcats.

Sophomore running back Jake Mayon busted through the Hillsdale defense and trotted 55 yards into the endzone at the 7:37 mark of the last quarter, bringing the score to 38-41. Northern however, was unable to capitalize on any more scoring opportunities. The match concluded with Hillsdale chewing up the remaining minutes on the clock by marching down to the Wildcat 29.

Senior quarterback Shaye Brown posted a season-best 346 yards and four touchdowns, one touchdown shy of his career high, set last season in a 66-38 win over Findlay at the Superior Dome.

The Wildcats now prepare to face off against the Michigan Tech Huskies next Saturday for the 15th-annual Miner’s Cup game.

“This is the biggest game of the year and probably the biggest of all the seniors’ career,” Brown said. “It’s basically to claim the U.P.”

Since the premiere of the Miner’s Cup in the 2002 season, Tech has won the trophy 10 out of a possible 13 times.

The two teams currently stand tied for 10th in the GLIAC both with the conference record of 3-5.

The last time these two rivals faced off, Tech scored a late touchdown and then blocked a field goal attempt with three seconds remaining in the final quarter and took down the Northern Michigan Football team by a single point 24-23. In the 2014 season, the ’Cats fell to the Huskies 34-31.

“Falling short in those two games does fuel you more. You want to make up for those two loses and just play your best,” senior defensive lineman Jared Vuksan said. “The last two years have been [determined by] last-second plays. It would feel great to get some revenge and get a big win.”

A native of the Upper Peninsula, Vuksan explained that the game is very important to the community which makes the rivalry even more tangible.

“There’s a lot of U.P. kids on that team as well, so it’s kids you’ve been playing your whole life, and it’s really special to play them at this level,” Vuksan added.

The Miner’s Cup game kicks off at 1 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Superior Dome.