Wildcats upended by Falcons, must regroup


READY, SET, HIKE—After losing last year’s contest 31-30 in overtime, NMU wants revenge in front of homecoming crowd. Photo courtesy of NMU Athletics.

Travis Nelson

The Wildcats traveled down to Texas last weekend, and came back with a 40-24 loss to the University of Texas Permian-Basin Falcons on Saturday night. NMU fought until the very end, but were out scored 10-3 in the final quarter, and they dropped to 1-1 on the season. 

“We were in the game,” Nystrom said. “It was back and forth all the way until pretty much that point that we didn’t get in (settled for a field goal instead of a touchdown in the fourth quarter). 

Nystrom said that he was disappointed in his team’s game poise, and that he needs to simplify things more with his scheme until his team is ready to handle it. The Falcons’ offense also gave the Wildcats fits, especially their speed.

“They’ve got good speed, Permian-Basin’s much improved,” Nystrom said. “Justin’s done a nice job, it’s their fourth year in the program since he’s had it, so they’re playing with seniors in a lot of key spots. They played really well.” 

Nystrom’s defense also was on the field a lot, a whopping 83 plays. That number was too high Nystrom said, it typically should be in the 60s.

NMU will now focus on its first conference game of the season this weekend, when they host the Davenport University (DU) Panthers for their homecoming game. Even though homecoming is a great occasion to celebrate, the football team has it cut out for them in a solid Davenport team.

“They’re a very good football team, I think they were sort of the story of the GLIAC last year,” Nystrom said. “When you take a team that I think won one game their first year, they had a nice winning season last year, and they’re really a strong defensive team.”

Last season, the Wildcats played DU on the road and fell in dramatic fashion, 31-30 in overtime after its two-point conversion attempt for the win was no good. Nystrom is aware of DU’s strong defense, and that his team will need to be solid offensively to challenge that.

“We’ve got to be productive in the phases that they’re strong in, and productive in the phases that they’re not keen on as much,” Nystrom said.

NMU wants to get revenge for last year and win on homecoming to give the community something to really celebrate. NMU and DU square off in the Superior Dome at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21.