Finlandia Lions Football drops tight battle to Northwestern College

Lions forced five turnovers
Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 10:41 PM EDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (WLUC) - It was a battle from start to finish as the Finlandia University football team (0-4, 0-1 UMAC) lost 16-13 to Northwestern (Minn.) (1-4, 1-0 UMAC), Saturday afternoon at Reynolds Field.

On Northwestern’s first possession, freshman KeJuan Sanders forced a fumble that was recovered by senior Dave Carlson.  The Eagles would get a touchdown and a safety for a 9-0 lead, with 12:53 left in the half.

Senior McEwen Stapleton picked off a pass and returned it 18 yards to the Finlandia 30.  The Lions capped off a 70-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to freshman Raiden Toldness.  That made it 9-6.

FinnU put pressure on Northwestern with two drives inside the NW 25-yard line in the third quarter.  The Eagles got a score about five minutes into the final quarter to make it 16-6.

Finlandia drove all the way down to the NW 20-yard line before being stopped.  The Lions forced Northwestern to punt with 1:32 left.  Freshman Zaquantay Bickham passed FinnU down the field.

The big play was a 37-yard reception by senior Joshua Eve.  Bickham fired a six-yard pass to freshman Isaiah Roberson for a touchdown with four seconds left in the game.  Following the extra point, Finlandia tried an outside kick but fate was not on their side.

Offensively, Finlandia was balanced with 180 yards in the air and 153 on the ground for 333 yards.  Bickham was 19-of-42 for 180 yards and two touchdowns.  Freshman Byron Owens had 10 catches for 99 yards.  Freshman Jaheim Hooks had a strong day with 98 yards rushing.

Defensively, takeaways were key as the Lions recovered two fumbles and picked off three passes.  FinnU held the Eagles to 58 yards in the air, the fifth lowest total in school history.  Sanders had eight tackles with two for a loss and a sack.  In addition to Stapleton, freshmen Nathan Erva and Andrew Lara also picked off passes.

Finlandia is back home, Saturday, Oct. 9 taking on UM-Morris.  The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.

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