MIDLAND - Northern Michigan University senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak connected with junior wide receiver Christian Jessie on a pair of deep touchdown passes and the Wildcat defense kept Northwood out of the end zone in the closing seconds to preserve a 21-13 GLIAC North Division victory in downstate Midland on Saturday.
Down by eight because of a missed extra point on the NMU 8-yard line with less than 25 seconds to play, the Timberwolves took two shots into the end zone on third and fourth downs, but came up empty, resulting in their fifth straight loss after starting the season 4-0.
Scepaniak, who was 9 of 18 passing for 182 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, hit Jessie on a 60-yard scoring pass with 1:18 to play in the first quarter to give NMU a 7-6 lead. The two then hooked up on a 55-yard TD with 12:21 to play in the second quarter to put Northern up 14-6.
Northwood cut the NMU lead to one at 14-13 with 8:41 to play in the third quarter via a 2-yard TD run by Jordan Jonker.
Scepaniak ran in a 1-yard TD with 2:22 left in the quarter to put Northern up by eight while finishing as the team's leading rusher with 133 yards on 25 carries.
Junior running back Casey Cotta had 48 yards on 14 carries while Jessie led a depleted NMU receiving corps - Christian Marble-King and Julian Gaines are both sidelined due to injuries - with three catches for 126 yards.
Nick Krause and Zach Anderson of Sault Ste. Marie each had a team-high 10 tackles as Krause had eight solos and Anderson seven. Krause also had a forced fumble and Levi Perry picked off a pass in the end zone with 4:24 to go in the game.
The Wildcats, who improved to 3-6 overall and 2-6 in the GLIAC, close out the season at the Superior Dome with 1 p.m. games the next two Saturdays. NMU hosts Saginaw Valley State for Public Safety/Veterans Day on Nov. 3 and Ferris State for Senior Day on Nov. 10.