MIDLAND, MICH. – The Northwood University football team earned a dramatic 35-33 win over Findlay Saturday afternoon (October 18).
Northwood improves to 4-3 overall, 3-3 in the GLIAC. Findlay also stands at 4-3 overall, 3-3 in the GLIAC.
Findlay got off to a strong start in the game, going up 14-0 early in the second quarter. That is when a key stretch in the game occurred. It started with a Mark Morris (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) to Theron Wilson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) 30 yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 14-7. Then on the first play on the following drive, Mike Keith (Roseville, Mich./Warren De La Salle) forced a fumble that was recovered by Keyon Whitfield (Chesterfield, Mich./Chippewa Valley) the put the ball on the Findlay four yard line. Jared Briguglio (Saginaw, Mich./Swan Valley) then found the end zone for a one-yard TD that tied the game 14-14 with 6:19 remaining in the second quarter.
The final moments of the first half proved to be eventful, which eventually led the game going to the break tied. Findlay scored a touchdown with 32 seconds left in the half, but Northwood came right back. After a Bryan Thomas (Pompano Beach, Fla.) kick return put Northwood at the 50 yard line, Morris found Wilson for a 43 yard gain to put the ball at the Findlay seven. Two plays later, Morris found Thomas four a seven yard touchdown to make the score 21-21 at halftime. Findlay held a 221-170 advantage in total yards in the half but had two turnovers while Northwood had zero.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, which set up a dramatic fourth quarter. Northwood took their first lead of the day on a Morris to Dan Richmond (Hartland, Mich.) 29 yard touchdown pass on third and nine to make the score 28-21. The Timberwolves then forced Findlay to punt, which set up a big play for true freshman Damian Nicholson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park). He found running room for a 79 yard touchdown, the longest offensive play of the season for the Timberwolves. That score put the Timberwolves up 35-21 with 9:27 remaining.
The Oilers bounced back in impressive fashion, going 82 yards on five plays while scoring a touchdown. But the extra point was missed, which proved to be a key play in the game, making the score 35-27.
Later in the quarter, on the first play of a drive, the Oilers scored a 52 yard touchdown to get within two at 35-33. However, the Northwood defense held, denying the two point conversion to keep the Timberwolves on top.
The Oilers eventually got the ball back with 1:18 remaining, but redshirt freshman Ayrn Curtis (Detroit, Mich./West Bloomfield) came up with another big play to clinch the win for the Timberwolves. Curtis, who had an interception at the end of the first half, picked off another pass on the second play of the final drive for Findlay to end the Oilers hope for a win. It was the fourth interception for Curtis in the last two weeks and his fifth on the season.
For the game, Findlay finished with a 501-388 advantage in total yards. Northwood finished with 237 yards passing and 151 yards rushing, while Findlay had 344 yards passing and 157 yards rushing. But Findlay finished with five turnovers to zero for Northwood. NU finished with a big advantage in time of possession – 34:54-25:06
Morris finished the game with 237 yards passing and three touchdowns, completing 20-25 attempts. Nicholson had 121 yards rushing, while Wilson finished with 73 yards receiving. Ryan Spicuzzi (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) and Michael Fisher (Rochester, Mich./Adams) each had nine tackles to lead the Northwood defense.
Northwood will travel to Saginaw Valley State for the annual Axe Bowl game next Saturday night (October 25). Kickoff is schedule for 7 p.m.