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Defense shines in NMU football spring scimmage

April 5, 2013 - Matt Wellens

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University head football coach and offensive guru Chris Ostrowsky said at the conclusion of last season that he’d rather win games 13-6 as opposed to 38-35.

That philosophy held true Friday when his first-team defense stymied the first-team offense in the first of two scrimmages inside the Superior Dome.

“I thought it was competitive,” Ostrowsky said. “I was really excited the way our defense flew around. They played the best they’ve played thus far.

“Our group really came together defensively so I’m really thrilled with the way they progressed. Overall, defensively it was a phenomenal day. I thought we were physical. I thought we ran to the ball well.”

Three-and-out was the theme of the first half of the practice for the first-team offense — led by senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak — and second-team offense — led by transfer QB Dustin Thomas.

Both Scepaniak and Thomas were picked off with a corner blitz forcing Scepaniak to throw early and off target. Thomas’ interception came off a ball thrown into coverage.

Both QBs were sacked at least a combined six times.

“We were pretty aggressive in the way we called the plays today,” NMU defensive coordinator Brian Newberry said. “We zone blitzed probably half the time. When we do that, it allows our kids to play fast. They know where they are going and get there in a hurry.

“I thought we stayed on top of routes, I thought we were in good position for the most part today.”

The first-team offense’s first three scores came via field goals by true freshman Jason Seeke from 27, 47 and 37 yards.

Scepaniak would go on to score touchdowns via the air and ground with runs by sophomore linebacker turned running back Wyatt Jurasin out of Ishpeming High School setting up both scores.

“(Jurasin) is growing,” Ostrowsky said. “I think he’s getting more comfortable. He’s gaining reps. I think he’s doing much better.”

True freshman Keon Collier later ran in a 5-yard TD and 10-yard TD in his first live action since breaking his leg in the second game of the season.

“It’s great to see him,” Ostrowsky said. “He’s probably at 80 percent in reality and he’s getting through it and going through his rehab still.”

Scepaniak closed the scrimmage by hitting junior Christian Jessie on a 30-yard TD pass for the only major defensive blunder of the day for Newberry’s squad.

NMU has practices scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week with a second scrimmage on Saturday, April 13 at 10:30 a.m.



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