MARQUETTE, Mich. — Northern Michigan University sophomore quarterback Shaye Brown passed for a school record 490 yards to lead the Wildcats to a 66-38 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win over Findlay in their final regular season game Saturday at the Superior Dome.
The win caps NMU’s season at 3-8 overall with a 2-8 GLIAC record. Findlay fell to 5-6 overall with a 4-6 league ledger.
Brown was 19-28 with five touchdowns which was just shy of tying the NMU record of six passing touchdowns in a contest. The Wildcats had a season-best 645 yards of total offense, the Northern Michigan record for total offense in a single game is 673 yards.
“I thought we would be able to throw the football a little bit. There are some things in coverages that we saw so we knew we could throw it a little bit, but I don’t know if you ever plan to throw it for 490 yards,” said NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky. “This has been a humbling year for me personally and for this program and maybe its just what we needed. It feels really good to end this way and beat a bone fide, solid program in this league, which is what Findlay is and to beat them the way we beat them feels great. But at the same time, it’s just a game. We have a lot of work to do this offseason and we are going to take it one day at a time and try to become the best program we can be one day at time.”
Findlay got on the board on their opening drive of the game when Tyler Bugeja kicked a 38-yard field goal to put the Oilers up 3-0 with 13:39 left in the first quarter.
NMU running back Terrance Dye capped the Wildcats opening drive of seven plays for 47 yards with a one-yard touchdown plunge with 10:56 left in first to give NMU the lead, 7-3.
Bujeja then connected on a 22 yard field goal to cut the NMU lead to 7-6 with 8:51 left in the opening frame.
The Wildcats then rattled off four unanswered touchdowns to take control of the contest and put Findlay away.
NMU junior wide receiver Austin Young scored back-to-back touchdown for the Wildcats on 24 and 23-yard passes from Brown at the 6:46 mark of the first and 14:55 mark of the second.
The Wildcats forced a fumble on Findlay’s next drive and Brown capitalized on the next play by throwing a 57-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Trey Hipke to give NMU a 28-6 lead.
Dye added a 13-yard rushing touchdown at the 7:19 mark of the second quarter before Findlay was able to answer back.
Oilers running back Chauncy Bridges ran in the Oilers next score with Findlay’s first touchdown of the game on a pass from quarterback Verlon Reed with 4:11 left in the half. Reed then threw a pass to Tim Szabo just 2:01 later to give Findaly its second touchdown of the contest.
NMU got back on the board with 1:51 left in the half when Brown threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Kelvin Smarwt on the first play of the drive.
Freshman kicker Ryan LaBerge kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give NMU a 45-14 lead at the break.
NMU’s momentum didn’t slow as they took the ball in the second half. It took only three plays before Brown threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Marcus Tucker at the 13:51 mark of the third quarter.
Dye then ran in touchdowns from one and four yards out at the 6:35 and 1:04 marks of the third quarter. Findlay was held to a field goal in the third a 47-yarder with 11:30 left in the frame.
Findlay scored 15 in the fourth quarter to set the final tally. Reed threw a touchdown pass to Anthony Frederico before Antony Linnear ran in a seven-yard touchdown with 1:38 left on the clock. Dylan Blunk then scored two-point conversion on a pass from Jesse Stone.
Smarwt led NMU with 143 receiving yards on eight catches while Tucker had three catches for 134 yards. Tucker also had five kick returns for 157 yards totaling 301 all-purpose yards in the contest.
Dye had 122 yards on the ground on 21 carries averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Dye’s four touchdowns was one touchdown short of tying the NMU school record.
LaBerge was perfect converting all nine point after tries and his one field goal.
Sophomore linebacker Dalton Stenberg led the Wildcats defense with nine tackles while freshman defensive back Deionte Bruton had eight, which were all solo tackles.
(Information Courtesy of NMU Athletics)