Northern Michigan University Wildcats footbal team hosts Michigan Tech in Superior Dome today
The noon kickoff will be televised on WLUC-TV6 and broadcast on radio station WUPT 100.3 FM The Point as the Huskies have won the past 10 games in the series. It will be their 94th meeting all-time, dating back to 1920, and Tech leads 47-41-5.
NMU’s last victory came on Sept. 17, 2009, a 48-16 win in Houghton.
The Wildcats have been the victims of several tough losses in recent years, including 24-20 in their most recent meeting on Oct. 12, 2019, in Houghton. Each of the past half-dozen games has been decided by seven points or less, including a 51-45 double-overtime game in 2016 in Marquette.
NMU looks to be ready to break the streak as they are at .500 — 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the GLIAC — while Tech is 3-2 and 2-0.
Last Saturday, Northern fell at Davenport 18-13 despite scoring two of the game’s three touchdowns.
NMU was held to 201 yards offense and committed a pair of turnovers, though the Wildcats staged a late comeback that they are becoming known for, even as this one fell short.
Trailing 18-7 midway through the fourth quarter, Northern’s Brady Hanson forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Will Borchert at the Davenport 33 with 2:19 left.
NMU needed just two plays to reach the end zone on Tyquan Cox’s 7-yard run, and though the 2-point conversion failed, the Wildcats were within five points.
After the ensuing kickoff, Northern’s defense forced a three-and-out, and while pinned at their own 8 with 1:03 to go, made several first downs before time ran out.
A week earlier, Northern scored the game’s final 26 points in a 26-19 home win over Wayne State.
The Huskies, meanwhile, pulled out a 30-27 victory at Wayne State last Saturday when Marquette Senior High School graduate Drew Wyble booted a 26-yard field goal as time expired.
The winning drive was led by quarterback Will Ark commanding a 14-play, 76-yard effort over nearly six minutes on the clock.
Wyble, a 2020 MSHS graduate and past All-Upper Peninsula kicker and punter, was named GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week as his game-winner was just one of three field goals he made without a miss. He was also 3 of 3 on extra points in the game.
Statistically, both teams have league leaders in many of the same categories.
Northern QB Drake Davis is fifth in the GLIAC in passing yards per game at 150.8, while Ark is just ahead of him in fourth with 154.0. Each has thrown seven TD passes, tied for second.
While NMU has two of the top four tacklers in the league, Tech has three of the top four in quarterback sacks.
The Wildcats’ Borchert averages 9.7 tackles per game, which is No. 1, while teammate Andre Whitley is at 9.0 for fourth. And another NMU defender, John McMullen, has four QB sacks, tied for fourth.
But the Huskies’ Nate LaJoie and Austin Schlicht each have 4 1/2 sacks, tied for second, and MTU’s Josh Cribben joins McMullen in having four sacks.
Wyble is the conference’s No. 4 kicker by points scored with 27, while Northern’s Daniel Riser is right after him in fifth with 22.
Back on offense, NMU’s Tyshon King is tied for seventh in rushing yards per game with 49.0 as Tech’s William Marano is a fraction of a yard back in ninth at 48.8.
For pass receivers, MTU’s Jordan Janssen is third in receptions with 5.2 per game and tied for sixth with 56.2 yards per game.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ Benjamin Loutsis is fifth in receptions at 3.8 a game and 11th in those yards at 38.8 a contest.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is sbrownlee@ miningjournal.net.