CANTON, Ohio — It was a back and fourth battle which was carried into overtime but ultimately the host Malone football team came away with a 42-35 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory over Northern Michigan University Saturday at Fawcett Stadium.
Both teams moved to 1-5 on the year while NMU is now 0-5 in league play.
Freshman quarterback Jaranta Lewis put the Wildcats on the board in the first quarter when he ran in a score from three-yards out to give the Wildcats a 7-0 lead with 5:55 left in the first quarter. Lewis made his first start as the Wildcats quarterback and threw for 239 yards and one touchdown going 14-27 with two picks. Lewis also scored two rushing touchdowns for NMU.
NMU had six turnovers in the game, losing four fumbles and throwing two interceptions.
Malone tied the game just under a minute and a half later when Ronnie Beers scored on a 30-yard rush.
NMU took a 14-7 lead into the break after junior running back Wyatt Jurasin scored on a three yard rush capping an eight play, 82-yard drive.
Malone again tied the game when Kaleb Scott ran the ball into the end zone with 10:01 left in the third quarter.
The Wildcats answered back when junior defensive lineman Dante Holmes intercepted the ball at the line of scrimmage and ran it back for a 15-yard score, giving NMU a 21-14 lead with 1:51 left in the third quarter.
Beers tied the game again when he ran in from two yards out with 12:55 left in the game.
The Wildcats answered with two touchdowns. The first was when Lewis connected with senior wide receiver Marcus Tucker for a 65-yard touchdown pass on just the second play of the drive to give NMU a 28-21 lead with 12:14 left in the game. Lewis then ran in a one-yard score with 6:22 left in the game, taking a 35-21 lead.
Malone scored two touchdowns in the last 4:21 of the game when Scott connected with Beers on a four-yard score and hooked up with McLaughlin on a 62-yard touchdown pass to force overtime.
Beers ran in a six-yard score on the Pioneers first drive of overtime. The Wildcats got the ball and drove 21-yards before a forced fumble by Jurasin ended the game.
Jurasin racked up 124 yards on the ground averaging 4.4 yards on 28 carries. Tucker led NMU with 106 yards on two receptions.
Tucker also returned three kick offs for 98 yards including a long return of 61 for 204 all-purpose yards.
Freshman kicker Ryan LaBerge connected on all five of his point after tries for the Wildcats.
Sophomore linebacker Dalton Stenberg led the Wildcats with 10 tackles while senior defensive lineman Trever Kruzel had nine tackles including 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.
The Wildcats return home to host Wayne State on Saturday Oct. 18 with a 1 p.m. ET kick off.
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)