UNIVERSITY CENTER, MICH. – The Northwood University football team dropped a hard-fought 16-14 game at Saginaw Valley State Saturday night (October 25).
The game was the 40th annual Axe Bowl between the two teams. Northwood falls to 4-4 overall, 3-4 in the GLIAC. The Cardinals are now 2-6 overall, 2-5 in the GLIAC.
SVSU got on the board on their opening drive of the game, kicking an 18 yard field goal to go up 3-0. The Cardinals then made it 10-0 on a third down run, but that is when Northwood fought back. The Timberwolves went 75 yards on four plays, the key play of which was a 63-yard Damian Nicholson (Manassas, Va./Osbourn Park) reception. The drive was capped off by a Cory Goble (Davison, Mich.) three-yard touchdown reception, cutting the SVSU lead to 10-7.
Both teams had scoring opportunities the remainder of the half, but the lone points came in the final moments on a SVSU field goal in the final seconds to make the score 13-7 at halftime. Northwood threw an interception in the end zone, while SVSU had a field goal blocked. Saginaw Valley held big advantages on the stats sheet, finishing with a 236-101 advantage in total yards while holding the ball for 20:25.
Northwood got off to a fast start in the second half, taking the opening drive of the half 88 yards on eight plays. The key play of the drive proved to be a 58-yard reception by true freshman Vashon Nutt (Chicago, Ill./Homewood-Flossmoor) on third down and eight. Nicholson capped off the drive with a seven-yard TD run, giving Northwood their first lead of the day at 14-13 early in the third quarter. That is where the score would remain heading to the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves controlled the play in the quarter, finishing with a 152-39 edge in yards. NU also held the ball for 10:25 compared to 4:35 for SV.
SVSU got a turnover on the opening play of the first of the fourth quarter and took advantage. The Cardinals went 57 yards on 11 plays, capped off by a 24 yard field goal to put the Cardinals back on top 16-14 with 9:34 remaining.
The key part of the game came early in the fourth quarter, as the Timberwolves drove deep into SVSU territory. But on fourth down from the SV 33, Northwood fumbled and gave the ball back to the Cardinals. SVSU then drove down for a field goal, putting Saginaw Valley State back up 16-14. Northwood had three chances to go take the lead in the final minutes of the game, but were unable to score.
For the game, SVSU finished with a 339-272 edge in total yards. Northwood finished the game with 172 yard passing and 100 yards rushing. The Cardinals finished the game with a 34:41-25:19 edge in time of possession.
Morris finished the game throwing for 172 yards, while Briguglio had 60 yards rushing. Michael Fisher (Rochester, Mich./Adams) led the Northwood defense with 14 overall tackles and three tackles for loss.
Northwood will host Ohio Dominican Saturday (November 1). Game time is set for 1 p.m.