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Molly Birch

My name is Molly, and I am in my second year at NMU. I come from Midland, MI, probably one of the most boring places on earth. However, we do have the only Tridge in the world, so that’s pretty nifty...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Saginaw Valley overcomes Wildcats 20-12

Photo by Neil Flavin: Freshman defensive back Deantae Young tackles an SVSU receiver as sophomore defensive back Troy Mayon prepares to back him up. The Wildcats netted zero rushing yards against the Cardinals.

With only three games left in the season, the NMU Wildcats look to earn their second win after this weekend’s loss to the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals.

The Cardinals halted the Wildcat’s last minute haste to bring themselves within an eight point deficit in the late fourth quarter and finished the game with a victory of 20-12.

Saturday’s loss was the first in three games that junior Jake Mayon held an average below 200-rushing yards, and also the first in four games that the Wildcats were unable to score a touchdown on their opening drive.

Freshman quarterback Ryan Johnson finished the game with a career-high of 363 passing yards and a 20-30 pass completion rate. Defensively, senior Darryl Williams led the Wildcats with 13 total tackles, two of which included a loss of yards.

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Head coach Kyle Nystrom commended the SVSU defense on stopping the Wildcat rushing game and forcing the team to commit to a pass-first offense on Saturday.

“If you’re playing Northern right now and your scheming defensively, well what are you going to stop? The guy we got back there from Plainfield Illinois, you gotta stop him right? That’s No. 1,” Nystrom said in a press conference on Tuesday. “So you gear up for the run game, and then you have to have another plan if that’s what they do.”

Both teams had a scoreless first quarter with the first score of the game coming from a 20-yard field goal by Saginaw Valley, just 42 seconds into the second quarter to move the Cardinals ahead 3-0.

The Wildcats retaliated with a field goal of their own on their second drive of the quarter after freshman Dalton Ray found the uprights from 49-yards out and tied the game at 3-3. Saginaw Valley would later score a touchdown, however, with 48 seconds remaining in the half to take a 10-3 lead entering halftime.

A field goal by NMU proved to be the lone score in the third quarter after Ray hit his second field goal of the game from 19-yards out, bringing the score to 10-6 before the start of the fourth.

Nystrom said despite his last minute addition to the team, Ray has three more years to play for the Wildcats and he’s happy with his performance on special teams.

“I like where Dalton’s at right now for a guy we brought in a week before camp,” he said.

The Cardinals responded with their second touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter to put the score at 17-6. NMU answered quickly as Johnson found sophomore wide receiver Ryan Knight for a touchdown pass on their second play of the drive, later failing a two-point conversion attempt but narrowing the SVSU lead to 17-12. On their next drive, Saginaw Valley extended the lead with a 32-yard field goal and pushed the score to 20-12.

In the final moments of the game, the Wildcats were allowed one last-minute drive attempt after forcing SVSU to punt, but they came up short, after Johnson was intercepted at the one-line on the final play of the game.

On Saturday, the ’Cats will face off against Grand Valley State University (GVSU) who’s ranked at third in the GLIAC conference.

“I want to see them play physical, tough and hard. That’s what I want,” Nystrom said of his team in the upcoming game against GVSU. “Whatever happens in that game, I want people to say ‘Those dudes are tough, physical, and they play relentless.’ I don’t think you can ask anymore of anybody than that.”

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