MARQUETTE - The Northern Michigan University football team played its lone spring game on Saturday at the Superior Dome in Marquette, providing an opportunity for the athletes to put what they've learned during winter training into a real game scenario.
Instead of a typical scrimmage setup, the offense and defense were pinned against each other with a special set of scoring rules. For instance, the offense scored three points for a play over 20 yards, while the defense scored two points on a sack.
White - the offense - came out victorious over the Green, 68-62. White was led by true freshmen quarterbacks Shaye Brown and Jaranta Lewis.
Northern Michigan University freshman quarterback Jaranta Lewis (2) attempts to get past NMU redshirt freshman Keshawn Walker (26) during the Green and Gold spring game Saturday at the Superior Dome in Marquette. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"I think we executed a lot of different plays and had a lot of different looks," NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky said. "For them to be executing and playing at the level they're at now, it can only get better as we move forward in their careers."
Junior running back Wyatt Jurasin of Marquette, who had an impressive season in the fall, assisted in several big plays for White. But the true surprise was the offensive power of sophomore Joe Short.
"Joe really stepped up today," Brown said. "He shocked probably everyone on the team. It's good, though, because Wyatt needs a little bit of a load off."
Junior wide receiver Trey Hipke connected with Lewis in the first half for three first downs and a touchdown for White.
On the defensive end, Ostrowsky said Green played fast and physical, making plays and gaining momentum as the game progressed.
"I'm excited to see those guys mature and gel," Ostrowsky said. "I think our defensive staff has great continuity now. As the head coach, looking forward for our defense, it's nothing but excitement."
Ostrowsky said he was impressed with Green's execution on the field, especially it's ability to keep gaps closed consistently.
Junior defensive back Levi Perry said the defense was able to clean up some mistakes it made earlier in the spring.
"There's still going to be missed cues no matter what you do," he said. "But as a whole, we flew around, we did our assignments and we made plays.
The highlight play on the defensive end was an interception by sophomore defensive back CJ Washington to turn around the momentum of the game in Green's favor.
The Wildcat coaches will now finalize the details of offseason conditioning and summer workouts, and they'll begin to recruit for next year.
"It's one of those deals where college football is year-round and it's pretty extensive, so we're excited to win this phase," Ostrowsky said. "We certainly feel like we did a great job in the spring, and that was proof today."
Delaney Lovett can be reached at (906) 228-2500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.