MIDLAND, MICH. – The Northwood University football team picked up a 21-14 win over rival Saginaw Valley State Saturday afternoon (October 24).
With the win, Northwood earns the "Axe," as the game is the annual Axe Bowl between the two teams.
Northwood is now 4-4 overall, 4-3 in the GLIAC. SVSU falls to 1-7 overall, 1-6 in the GLIAC.
The first stanza would see trades of possession, with the best chance to score came for SVSU with under 4:20 to play. SVSU had a 34-yard field goal attempt blocked by senior linebacker Mike Keith (Roseville, Mich./De La Salle). The game would be scoreless after one quarter.
Early in the second quarter, Northwood would get on the board first. The key play to the drive was a 55-yard pass from Mark Morris (Macomb, Mich./Dakota) to Devonta Elzy (Chicago, Ill./Simeon). Three plays later, Jared Briguglio (Saginaw, Mich./Swan Valley) found the end zone from two-yard out to put NU on top 7-0. That would prove to be the score at halftime despite scoring opportunities for both teams.
After getting another three-and-out, the Timberwolves went to work early in third quarter. Two big plays from Morris saw him find Andre Carter (Grand Ledge, Mich.) for a third down conversion then found Theron Wilson (Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) for a 55-yard pass, getting his team to the four yard line. Briguglio soon found the endzone again one play later, putting the home team up 14-0 with just over ten minutes left to play in the third.
A big swing in the game came late in the third quarter. NU drove down inside the SVSU 10 but missed a field goal. The Cardinals then capitalized on the opportunity, throwing an 80-yard touchdown pass on the next play to make the score 14-7 after three quarters.
Right at the end of the third quarter, a thunderstorm came through the area. The delay ended up being approximately one hour.
SVSU started with the ball after Northwood elected to punt on 4th and inches, a decision that would prove correct. Northwood stuffed SVSU again, getting the ball back and pulling off some trickery of their own.
Early in the fourth quarter, Northwood rolled the dice on a fourth down fake punt, as Morris found Dan Richmond (Hartland, Mich.) for 26-yards and a first down on fourth and nine from the NU 45. Two plays later, Morris scored on a 20 yard touchdown run to put NU up 21-7.
SVSU scored on the following drive to cut the lead to 21-14 with 6:30 remaining, but that is when the ball-control offense of Northwood took over. The Timberwolves ran out the rest of the time on the clock, converting three third-downs on the way to earning the win.
For the game, Northwood finished with a 408-290 advantage in total yards. NU ended up with 215 yards passing and 193 yards rushing. SVSU finished with 235 yards passing and 55 yards rushing. Northwood also ended up with a 32:16-27:44 advantage in time of possession.
Morris netting 215 yards in the game, moving him past the 4,000 mark for his career. He is the second player to reach that mark, joining Sleepie Tollie (4,442). Briguglio ran for both touchdowns, totaling 106 on the ground.
Northwood will travel Ohio Dominican next Saturday (October 31). Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.