MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan University football team carried a 17-6 lead into the fourth quarter but were unable to overcome 21 fourth quarter points and fell to visiting Walsh, 27-24 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate football action Saturday at the Superior Dome.
The loss drops the Wildcats to 2-7 on the season with a 1-7 GLIAC record. Walsh picked up its third win of the season to improve to 3-6 in GLIAC play.
NMU took a 3-0 lead when freshman kicker Ryan LaBerge connected on a 35-yard field goal with 9:33 left in the first quarter.
Walsh then captured the lead after kicker Michael Dudics kicked two field goals at the 1:47 mark of the first quarter and at the 7:12 mark of the second quarter from 22 and 43-yards respectively.
Sophomore quarterback Shaye Brown connected with junior wide receiver Marcus Tucker for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 4:15 left in the second, giving the Wildcats a 10-6 lead at the break.
Brown then ran a touchdown in from five yards out with 4:39 in the third quarter to give the Wildcats its largest lead of the game, 17-6.
Walsh picked up scores when Kalvin Gordan ran the ball in from one yard out with 9:13 left on the clock and Jerald Robinson caught a pass from Jason Francassa with 5:43 left in the game to take a 20-17 lead after Robinson and Francassa hocked up for a two-point conversion on the second score.
On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore defensive back Keyshawn Walker took the ball from the NMU end zone 100-yards for a touchdown, putting the Wildcats back on top 24-20. His return set an NMU record for longest kickoff return.
With just under a minute left in the contest, Walsh’s Aaron Male ran the ball in from six yards out to set the final tally in the Cavaliers favor 27-24.
NMU drove the field on six plays for 24-yards in the final minute but fell just a yard short of the go ahead first down they needed to keep their drive alive.
Tucker led the Wildcats receiving corps with five catches for 102 yards including a long reception of 45 yards. Brown went 18-35 for 219 yards through the air while also rushing four times for 15 yards.
Junior running back Terrane Dye led the Wildcats ground attack gaining 83 yards on 14 runs including a long of 26 in the contest.
Senior linebacker Nick Krause led the Wildcats defense with 13 tackles including 10 unassisted and two tackles for loss. Sophomore linebacker Dalton Stenberg had eight tackles while freshman linebacker Brent Showers had seven.
As a team, NMU racked up 321 yards of total offense while holding Walsh to 299 yards.
NMU returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Ferris State for their final road contest of the season. Kickoff against the Bulldogs is set for noon.
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)