BY: GRIFFIN SCHROEDER/TRAVIS MCCURDY - GONORTHWOOD.COM
MIDLAND, MICH. - The Northwood University football team picked up a 16-7 win over Walsh Saturday afternoon (October 3).
On a frigid and rainy homecoming weekend, it was an all-business matchup in Midland. Looking to build on their big win against Wayne State last week, the team looked to come out firing. After holding Walsh down on their first drive, the team got on the board first.
Grinding 6:20 off the clock with a 12-play drive that was entirely on the ground, senior quarterback Mark Morris (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) and running back combination of Vashon Nutt (Chicago, Ill./Perspectives) and CJ Patton (Baton Rouge, La./Southeast La. U.) paved the way for sophomore kicker David Knudsen's (St. Charles, Ill/West) 33-yard field goal to give the first three points of the contest to the home team.
The transition into the second quarter saw the Cavaliers and Timberwolves go back and forth with unsuccessful drives. The key play of the quarter proved to be a misplayed punt by Walsh, which gave the ball to Northwood at the WU 22. Four plays later, Nutt found the end zone from two yards out to make the score 10-0.
The score remained 10-0 at halftime. Neither team was able to move the ball effectively in the rainy, windy conditions. Each team ran 28 plays, with Northwood outgaining the Cavaliers 122 total yards to 67.
The second half appeared to put life back into the Cavaliers. Hit as he threw, Morris was picked off by Walsh, snapping a streak of 93 passes without an interception. Four plays later, the Cavs were in the end zone, cutting the Northwood lead down to 10-7.
With momentum going towards Walsh, a key moment in the game came deep in Northwood territory. The Cavaliers were called for a pair of personal fouls, turning what would have been 2nd and nine from the NU 21 into 1st and 39 from the Walsh 49. A 50-yard field goal attempt with the wind was blocked by the Northwood defense, leading to a three-point scoring drive of their own. With under six minutes to go, Morris hit Nutt through the air for a 22-yard strike to set up Knudsen's second field goal of the game with 2:48 left to put the Timberwolves up 13-7 going into the last quarter of regulation.
After the Northwood defense stuffed Walsh on fourth down to end the next drive, Northwood rove down the field again looking to wear down Walsh. Morris hit fellow senior Bryce Lindberg (Howell, Mich.) on a wide-open 37-yard pass to bring Northwood into the red zone again. Knudsen hit his third field goal of the game, this time from 21 yards out, giving Northwood a 16-7 lead nearing ten minutes to play.
With around nine minutes to go, Walsh was at the Northwood 10 yard line with a first and goal to go. However, junior safety Marco Nickens (Detroit, Mich./Old Redford Academy) picked Worstell off in the endzone, ending the drive and giving the ball back to Northwood.
Getting the ball again, Northwood went on a clock-crunching drive, with two big plays coming from running back Andre Carter (Grand Ledge, Mich.) to convert on third downs to keep the drive alive. In all, Northwood's final possession took up 63 yards but more importantly all of the final 8:40 of the clock.
For the game, Northwood finished with a 297-245 advantage in total yards. NU ended up with 216 yards rushing and 81 yards passing. Walsh totaled 101 yards rushing and 144 yards passing. Northwood finished with a 34:50-25:10 edge in time of possession, thanks in large part to holding the ball for 11:53 of the 15 fourth-quarter minutes.
Patton ended up with 83 yards on 30 carries. Nutt totaled 54 yards on 11 carries, while Carter had 47 yards on six carries. Nickens ended up with five tackles, an interception and two pass breakups.
Northwood will travel to Michigan Tech next Saturday (October 10). Game time is set for 1 p.m.