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NMU football closes out season with loss to Ashland

ASHLAND, Ohio — A long and frustrating season came to an end Saturday afternoon for the Northern Michigan University football team as the Wildcats fell at Ashland 31-10.

NMU ends the season at 1-9, which includes a season-closing nine-game losing streak.

But things were actually going the Wildcats’ way early on Saturday.

NMU sophomore linebacker Jack Reiger picked off Ashland quarterback Austin Brenner on the Eagles’ first possession, which led to an eight-play drive culminating in Daniel Riser’s 19-yard field for a 3-0 lead that held to the end of the first quarter.

Ashland (7-4) answered back in the first nine minutes of the second quarter, though, on touchdown runs of 1 yard by Austin Williams and a 3 yards by Jeffrey Barnett.

The Eagles finished with 275 yards rushing on 53 carries with Gei’vonni Washington leading the way with 139 yards.

Down 14-3, the Wildcats got a spark as Tyquan Cox returned a kickoff 54 yards to the Ashland 40. Three plays later and about five minutes before halftime, Northern was in the end zone as Keshawn Howard scored his first Wildcats touchdown on a 34-yard run. With Riser’s extra point, NMU only trailed 14-10 at the half.

Then it was all Eagles. Ashland got a 37-yard field goal from Satchel Denton to extend its advantage to 17-10 in the third quarter and got two short touchdown runs from Barnett in the fourth quarter to cap off the victory.

The Eagles held a 419-229 advantage in total yards, holding a nearly 100-yard edge in both passing and rushing.

NMU sophomore quarterbacks Ryan Johnson and Keshawn Howard combined to complete 5 of 16 passes for 51 yards as Howard had two interceptions. Howard also led Wildcats’ rushers with 87 yards.

Senior John Kwiecinski averaged nearly 50 yards on his four punts, while sophomore linebacker Isaac Darkangelo led Northern defenders with 12 tackles. Redshirt freshman defensive back Antonio Howard Jr. had 10 tackles with a pass breakup.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Writer Ryan Stieg. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.