NMU Football hosts SVSU Saturday

Courtesy of NMU Athletics

MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University football team plays its final two games of the season at the Superior Dome, starting with a meeting with the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals on Nov. 2. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. from the Dome.

NMU has won two of its last three games, including a 21-13 win at Northwood last weekend. The Wildcats are 3-6 overall and 2-6 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Saginaw Valley State is 7-2 overall and 6-2 in the GLIAC. The Cardinals defeated Michigan Tech last week. Other wins have been over Valdosta State, Malone, Lake Erie, Ferris, Northwood and Wayne State. The two losses are to Hillsdale and Findlay. SVSU was picked fourth in the North Division in the GLIAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll after finishing 7-4 last year and 7-3 in the GLIAC.

The two teams meet for the 33rd time, dating back to 1975. The series is tied 16-16. The Cardinals have on 11 of the last 12 meetings. NMU won 10 of the first 11 meetings.

The two teams met in University Center, Mich. on Nov. 5, 2011 on NMU’s final road game of the season. The Cardinals defeated the ‘Cats 48-26. Rockne Belmonte made all four of his field goal tries.

NMU won its first road game of the season on its final road trip last weekend. The ‘Cats scored a touchdown in each of the first three quarters. Junior receiver Christian Jessie scored the first two NMU touchdowns on receptions from junior quarterback Cody Scepaniak. NMU scored its final touchdown on the very next drive as Scepaniak dashed one yard to the endzone after a 13-play, 54-yards drive. NMU finished with 361 yards of
total offense on 179 rushing and 182 yards passing. NMU was 4-for-12 on third down and 1-for-2 on fourth down. Sophomore Nick Krause and senior Zach Anderson led the defense with 10 total tackles each. Krause had eight solo tackles, two assisted, one and a half tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a broken up pass.

Scepaniak has received a medical hardship and is now a junior. He has appeared in the last four games and started the last three. He has 786 yards passing on 52-for-86. He has thrown five touchdowns and three interceptions. Scepaniak also has 321 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also is the holder for kicker Rockne Belmonte.

Senior linebacker Eddie Knoblock leads the ‘Cats with 71 total tackles. He has 31 solo tackles, 40 assisted, five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception. Krause (69) and junior Morgan Stenz (63) also have over 60 tackles. NMU has 12 interceptions, seven sacks and four fumble recoveries.

NMU is outscoring its opponents 64-56 in its last three games after being outscored 126-81 in the first six games. Scepaniak is averaging 210 yards passing and 103 yards rushing in his three starts. Senior kicker Rockne Belmonte is three field goals shy of tying NMU’s career mark. Kyle Marotz made 41 from 2002-05.