ASHLAND, Ohio - The Northern Michigan University football team fell to 1-2 on the season Saturday, losing its first road contest of the season at Ashland University, 52-24, in GLAC play at Jack Miller Stadium in Ashland, Ohio.
After completing 10-of-14 passes for 117 yards and rushing for another 12 yards, NMU senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury. He watched the second half of the game from the sidelines in street clothes on crutches.
Junior quarterback Dustin Thomas, who transferred to NMU in the spring from Villanova, took over for Scepaniak. He finished the game 8-of-11 passing with 102 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He ran for another 57 yards as well.
The Wildcats, who gave up 507 yards of total offense to Ashland, led 10-0 in the first quarter via a 1-yard TD run by redshirt freshman running back Keon Collier, followed by a 25 yard field goal from freshman kicker John Oberheide, who was playing in place of injured junior kicker Jon Linkenheimer.
Ashland went on to score 38 unanswered points via four touchdowns and a field goal with 31 points - including a blocked punt returned for a touchdown - coming in the second quarter alone.
NMU junior Marcus Tucker scored for the 'Cats on a 5-yard pass from Thomas to bring the score to 38-17 at the end of the third.
The Eagles returned with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter before NMU scored its third touchdown - a 17 yard pass from Thomas to freshman receiver Keyondre Craig.
Ashland (1-3) scored a touchdown with less than five minutes remaining to top off the team's first win this season after winning the GLIAC in 2012.
Collier led NMU in rushing with 71 yards on 19 carries. Craig caught five passes for a team-high 112 yards.
Besides Scepaniak leaving in the first half, NMU also lost Wyatt Jurasin, who had just two early carries for three yards.
NMU senior linebacker and captain Morgan Stenz also did not play or make the trip with the team to Ashland, remaining in Marquette to rehab a right leg injury.
Soccer ties Tech
HOUGHTON - The Wildcat women's soccer team (1-4-1 overall, 1-0-1 in GLIAC) tied Michigan Tech 1-1 after two overtimes on Saturday at Sherman Field in Houghton to remain unbeaten in two GLIAC contests this season.
The 'Cats were shutout by the Huskies (4-2-1, 1-0-1) on Sept. 12 in Marquette, 5-0, in a nonconference match.
"NMU came out and played a great game," Tech head coach Michelle Jacob said. "They put a lot of pressure on us and it took us a while to adjust. They really stepped up their game from the last time we saw them."
NMU freshman forward Paula Hafner tied the match via her third goal of the season with 15 minutes remaining in regulation with an assist from sophomore midfielder Gabriella Garza. Tech's lone goal came from sophomore forward Lexi Herrewig, unassisted, in the 69th minute.
NMU freshman goalkeeper Alexandra Simmons made 10 saves as the Wildcats were outshot 29-15 overall. Tech landed 11 on goal and Northern put six on Tech keeper Marybeth Spoehr.
Both teams combined for 24 fouls.
Cross country takes ninth in St. Paul
ST. PAUL, Minn. - The NMU women's cross country team finished ninth out of 33 teams at the University of Minnesota's Roy Griak Invite on Saturday in St. Paul, Minn.
NMU sophomore Mary Kate Cirelli finished 11th at 22 minutes, 59.6 seconds in what is billed as "America's largest cross country meet" at the Les Bolstad Golf Course.
"Mary Kate ran a very strong race today," NMU coach Jenny Ryan said. "The team ran tough against a very strong field and we continue to see times improve."
Sophomore Megan Edic (23:40.2) and junior Olivia Howard (23:46.4) also finished in the top 50 as Edic was 36th and Howard 45th.
Swimming holds intrasquad meet
MARQUETTE - The Northern women's swimming and diving team wrapped up its preseason with an intrasquad meet Saturday at the PEIF Pool with Gold topping Green, 111-103.
"Today was a great finish to our preseason," NMU swimming and diving coach Heidi Voigt said. "The Gold team persevered after they accused me of stacking the Green team. Everyone looked good and looked tired because we've been training hard and haven't rested. It was good to see the freshmen compete."
Junior Debbi Lawrence won four events for the Gold and set a new PEIF Pool record for the 50-meter backstroke during the 200-yard medley relay.
Junior Molly Kearney won both diving events for Green with her score of 251.3 in the 1-meter dive being just shy of an NCAA qualifying score.
"Debbi had a great day today," said Voigt. "Breaking the record to start the day was impressive and she kept going from there.
"Molly was only four points off of getting a qualifying score for NCAA in the one-meter. She dove well today."