It was a special day for Jake Mayon. The senior running back racked up 195 rushing yards to break the all-time school rushing record, topping Steve Avery’s (1984-88) mark of 3,842 yards.
The performance wasn’t enough to overcome rival Michigan Tech, however, as the Northern Michigan University Football team fell to the Huskies for the ninth straight year in a 35-33 heartbreaker at the Superior Dome last Saturday.
NMU is now 2-7 on the season and 0-6 in GLIAC competition.
NMU head coach Kyle Nystrom said, in a Tuesday press conference, he was pleased with the offensive performance but the defense couldn’t stop the relentless Huskies attack.
“I was really happy with the offense,” Nystrom said. “The offensive line played really well, our running backs played well, the receivers played well, we just didn’t play well on defense.
“We let them run the ball more than they should have,” he added. “I’m disappointed with the game and the outcome because I feel like a lot of parts in the game, we were very good.”
NMU jumped out to a 14-0 lead on a 57-yard rush from Mayon and a 12-yard rush from freshman quarterback Kole Stealy in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Stealy went down with what appeared to be an arm injury. Already the third QB to play for the Wildcats this season, the next man up was fellow freshman and fourth-string quarterback Isiah Wright.
Wright gave NMU the lead back with a 29-yard run of his own to put the Wildcats back in the lead at 21-14, but MTU ultimately took a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Huskies also got the first points of the third quarter, with sophomore quarterback Will Ark finding junior receiver Ben Hartley on a 13-yard pass to the end zone to put MTU up 35-21.
That forced the Wildcats to play catch-up, and Wright shined with his legs again. Wright had a 31-yard TD run with 18 seconds left in the third to pull within eight points, but the extra point attempt from freshman kicker Daniel Riser was fumbled on the snap and no good, keeping the game an eight-point margin.
Late in the fourth, on a third-down play from the MTU 22, Wright scrambled again and took a 22-yard rush into the end zone with 49 seconds left. Still needing the two-point conversion to tie, Wright took it himself once again, but this time the Huskies defense made the stop to preserve the lead.
MTU recovered the onside kick and was able to run the clock out from there.
Wright led NMU with three touchdowns and was second in rushing behind Mayon with 116 yards. He was also 8-of-13 with 105 yards through the air.
Freshman wide receiver Benjamin Loutsis led NMU receivers with four catches for 53 yards, while sophomore receiver Ravon Johnson had one catch for 45 yards.
Defensively, the Wildcats were led by junior safety Troy Mayon who racked up 16 total tackles. Sophomore linebacker Austin Potter chipped in with 11.
The Wildcats now head to Detroit to take on Wayne State University (2-7, 1-5 GLIAC) on Saturday. It’s the third straight time NMU has faced the Warriors on the road, falling by a score of 26-24 last season.
Nystrom said in order to regroup, sitting around and reflecting on the loss to the Huskies won’t do any good.
“You can’t sit around here, you’ve got to go play Wayne State in a couple of days,” he said. “As mad as everybody is about not winning that game, you can’t sit there and lollygag on it.”
Kickoff from Detroit is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3.