Improved season closes out

Improved+season+closes+out

Ryan Spitza

The Northern Michigan University Football team ended its season with a 41-7 defeat at Ashland University last Saturday.

Despite finishing with an overall record of 3-8, the mark comes as an improvement for second-year head coach Kyle Nystrom, who led the Wildcats to a 1-9 record in the 2017 campaign.

The defeat to Ashland put the Wildcats at 1-7 in GLIAC play, the lone conference win coming against Wayne State. NMU finished eighth out of nine teams in the GLIAC this season.

Ashland took a 27-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, and added another touchdown in the third on a pass from senior quarterback Billy Bahl to freshman fullback Austin Williams. The extra point made it 34-0 in favor of the Eagles.

NMU finally broke the scoreboard later in the third quarter with a five-yard rush from senior running back Jake Mayon, making the score 34-7 after freshman kicker Daniel Riser’s extra point. It was Mayon’s 14th touchdown of the season and he finished with 1,505 rush yards through all 11 games, making him the all-time school leader of rushing yards in a single season.

Ashland added a touchdown in the fourth, a 15-yard pass to senior wide receiver Connor Black from junior backup quarterback John Davies.

Mayon finished with 25 carries for 94 yards to lead NMU rushers, while Wildcats sophomore quarterback Latrell Giles went 4-of-9 through the air for 37 yards and two interceptions. Freshman wide receiver Benjamin Loutsis led NMU receivers with two catches for 19 yards.

Defensively, the Wildcats had 10 tackles from freshman linebacker Isaac Darkangelo while sophomore safety Brady Hanson chipped in with seven.

Mayon finished out his collegiate career with 4,220 rush yards and 38 touchdowns, breaking two school records in the process. He was also named GLIAC Offensive Back of the Year and named to the All-GLIAC First Team for the second straight season.

Defensively, NMU will lose senior safety Jalen Saunders to graduation in the off-season. Saunders spent four seasons at NMU, finishing with 89 tackles during his collegiate campaign with four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.