MARQUETTE, MICH. - The Northwood University football team opened its 2014 season with a 23-13 win at Northern Michigan Saturday night (September 6).
It was the season opener for both teams.
Northern Michigan opened the scoring with a field goal, but Northwood responded with a field goal of their own. Keegan Haggarty (Macomb, Mich./Chippewa Valley) capped a 57-yard, 12-play drive with a 37-yard field goal late in the first quarter.
NMU responded with a touchdown to make the score 10-3, but the Timberwolves began to take control from that point out. Northwood tied the score on a Jared Briguglio (Saginaw, Mich./Swan Valley) two-yard touchdown run that ended an impressive drive for the Timberwolves. Northwood went 73 yards in 16 plays that took up 10:52 seconds, making the score 10-10. That is where the score would remain until halftime. Northwood did a tremendous job with ball-control in the opening half, holding the ball for nearly 22 of the 30 minutes played.
Northwood continued to maintain control in the third quarter. The Timberwolves had a pair of long scoring drive, both of which were capped by Haggarty field goals that sent the game to the fourth quarter with the score 16-10.
Northern Michigan connected on a field goal early in the fourth quarter to make the score 16-13, but the Timberwolves came up with the big plays down the stretch to earn the win. A sack by Ryan Spicuzzi (Macomb, Mich./Macomb Dakota) and Mike Keith (Roselle, Mich./Warren De La Salle) with less than three minutes remaining set up a stop on fourth down for the Timberwolves. Three plays later, Briguglio had a 46-yard touchdown to with 45 second remaining to put the game away.
The story of the game proved to be the return to ball-control offense for Northwood. A year after ranking near the bottom in Division II in time of possession, the Timberwolves held the ball for 41:14, compared to 18:46 for Northern Michigan. NU finished the game with 353 yards of total offense, compared to 260 yard for NMU. The biggest part of that advantage came in rushing, where Northwood held a 254-46 edge in rushing yards.
Briguglio finished the game with 165 yards rushing on 28 carries with pair of touchdowns. Keith led the defensive effort with 11 tackles.
Northwood will host their home opener next Saturday (Sept. 13) against Ferris State. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.