Wildcats eyeing 5th home win in a row
MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University goes for its fifth straight home football victory stretching back to last season when the Wildcats host Malone for Family Weekend at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Superior Dome.
NMU (3-2 overall) has won all three of its home games this season and also won its final home game against Findlay, 66-38, to end last season in November.
Northern last won four straight games at the dome spanning the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
The Wildcats (2-2 in the GLIAC) kept the dome streak going last Saturday after Keshawn Walker broke up a two-point conversion pass attempt by Saginaw Valley State with 23 seconds to go in a 36-34 triumph.
The effort came despite SVSU holding a big 464-276 edge in yards after Northern converted its big plays into touchdowns.
They included Marcus Tucker returning a kickoff 69 yards deep into Cardinals territory in the second quarter, which Shaye Brown turned into a TD with a quarterback keeper soon after.
In addition in the third quarter, Austin Young of Escanaba broke free for a 49-yard scoring reception and Brown connected with Paris Woods for a 31-yard TD.
And on Woods’ TD late in the period, JT Jurasin made a heads-up play on the extra-point attempt, corralling the botched snap and bulling his way over the goal line for what proved to be the difference at the end of the game.
Three Wildcats are among the top five in the GLIAC in five categories, led by junior linebacker LJ Liston ranking first in the league and 10th in all of NCAA Division II in tackles per game with 13.5.
Tucker is tied for the GLIAC lead in receiving TDs with five and is third in receiving yards per game with 92.0.
Brown is fourth in passing yards per game with 279.2 and fifth in TDs with 10.
This will be only the second time NMU and Malone have met, with last year’s inaugural meeting a 42-35 overtime win by the Pioneers in Canton, Ohio, on Oct. 11, the Wildcats’ most recent OT contest.
Malone outgained Northern 444-402 as Wildcats QB Jaranta Lewis was 14 of 27 for 239 yards and Wyatt Jurasin of Marquette gained 124 yards rushing on 28 carries.
Tucker also had a 61-yard KO return and Young a 50-yard punt return.
For Family Weekend, NMU will host a pregame tailgate event at the PEIF practice gyms from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Tickets cost $8 per person and are free for youths 12 years old and younger.
Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee.