MIDLAND, MICH. – The Northwood University football team opened their 2015 season with an emotional 20-7 win over Northern Michigan Saturday afternoon (September 5).
The win came in the first game for interim head coach Leonard Haynes, who took over for the late Pat Riepma this summer.
The Timberwolves came out and dominated the opening quarter, out-gaining NMU 133-67 while holding the ball for nearly 12 of the 15 minutes. But the Timberwolves could only manage two David Knudsen (St. Charles, Ill./West) field goals on three trips to the red zone, giving Northwood a 6-0 lead after one quarter.
NU then got to the Northern Michigan 26 on the opening drive of the second quarter only to turn the ball over. But the Timberwolves defense continued to play well, maintaining the 6-0 NU lead. Northwood eventually found the end zone in the final moments of the half. Mark Morris (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) found Terrance Stocker (Flint, Mich./Grand Blanc) for a four-yard touchdown to cap a 70 yard drive. That score came with 26 seconds left in the half and gave the Timberwolves a 13-0 lead at the break. Northwood out-gained the Wildcats 239-112 in the opening half and held the ball for nearly seven more minutes than NMU (18:21-11:31).
Both teams had chances to score in the third quarter, but were unable to put up any points.
Northwood got off to a good start in the fourth quarter with a key scoring drive. Coming off an interception by Nick Tripp (Detroit, Mich./Crockett) late in the third, Northwood went 35 yards in nine plays, capped by a Jared Briguglio (Saginaw, Mich./Swan Valley) one-yard run to make the score 20-0.
The Timberwolves nearly capped off their first shutout since the 2007 season, but NMU scored a touchdown on fourth down with just over three minutes remaining in the game. The Wildcats on-side kick was recovered by Northwood, capping the victory for the Timberwolves.
For the game, Northwood finished with a 372-285 advantage in total yards. NU had 206 yards rushing and 166 yards passing. NMU ended up with 90 yards rushing and 195 yards passing. Turnovers proved to be key in the game, as Northwood had two giveaways (one INT, one fumble) compared to five for Northern Michigan (three INTs, two fumbles).
Briguglio ended up with 120 yards rushing and a touchdown to lead the Northwood offense. Morris ended up 15-30 with 166 yards and a TD. Cody Ellwanger (Rochester Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) had a forced fumble and a blocked kick. Tripp, Nickens and Jerry Taylor (Macomb, Mich. /Chippewa Valley) all had interceptions for the Timberwolves.
Northwood will travel to Ferris State Saturday night (September 12) for a 7 p.m. contest.