Wildcats rally to win wild Homecoming game over Wayne State

Trailed 19-0 in third quarter
 (NMU Graphic)
(NMU Graphic) (WLUC)
Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 10:58 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Northern Michigan University football team (3-2, 1-0 GLIAC) put on a show in the Superior Dome for Homecoming Weekend as they came back from being down 19-0 to take a 26-19 win over Wayne State University.


The visiting Warriors were in control on offense for the most part of the first three quarters.

Wayne State scored three unanswered touchdowns to take a 19-0 lead with 8:22 left in the third quarter of the game.

The setback put the Wildcats in a position to make a big comeback which the team started on in the third quarter.


A nine-play drive that took 4:14 of game time led NMU to the first score for the home team.

The drive started with a Drake Davis rush for seven yards to put the team at its own 42.

Three complete passes moved the Wildcats to the opposition’s 16-yard line.

After a rush was negated by a penalty call, an incomplete pass turned positive as WSU was called for pass interference which moved NMU 13-yards out from the end zone.

Zach Keen came in at quarterback and rushed for 12 yards to the Warriors’ one-yard line.

The following play Drake Davis returned at QB and ran the ball in for a touchdown.

A successful two-point conversion pass from Drake Davis to Wyatt Davis made the game 19-8.


The next Wildcat score came in the form of a field goal.

A 15 play drive marched NMU up the field 59 yards with a Drake Davis pass to Yale Van Dyne moving the Wildcats into the redzone at the WSU 15.

Three incomplete passes stalled the drive but the ‘Cats were able to secure three points after Daniel Riser nailed a 24-yard field goal. The score set at 19-11 with 3:24 left in the game.


The game continued to go the Wildcats’ way as on the ensuing kickoff the Wayne State returner muffed the reception. Tyquan Cox recovered the ball for NMU at the WSU 12-yard line.

It only took the Wildcats four plays to find the end zone again.

A Cox rush kicked off the drive and went for five yards followed by a Drake Davis rush that went for one.

NMU took to the air on the next play but it was broken up by a Warrior defender.

Facing fourth down and four to go, Drake Davis completed a touchdown pass to Isaiah Popp that brought the Wildcat faithful on their feet inside the Superior Dome.

The ‘Cats went for two and were successful which put them tied 19-19 with 1:59 left in the game.


The visiting team’s drive after the NMU score was stopped very quickly by a stout defensive showing from the Wildcats.

The home team got the ball with 1:19 left in the game after a five-yard put return by Josh Shodipo.

When NMU snapped the ball to start the drive at the 50-yard line the play call was a DJ Stewart run. The call was successful as Stewart took the ball down the side of the field for a Wildcat touchdown.

The Daniel Riser extra point made the score 26-19 in favor of NMU and ended a 26-0 run that lasted from the third quarter to the end of the game.

It was a Wildcat win as the ‘Cats defense stopped the Warrior’s final drive and won 26-19.


Drake Davis threw for 165 yards and one touchdown on a 21-36 day through the air. He also added 30 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown.

Stewart led the NMU rushing attack with 90 yards. His 50-yard touchdown run was the longest of the game for either team.

Isaiah Popp caught the touchdown pass for the ‘Cats and had 22 receiving yards. Yale Van Dyne led the team in receiving yards with 50 on five targets. He had an average of 10 yards per reception.

Will Borchert led all defensive players with nine total tackles while Antonio Howard Jr. had a game-high six solo tackles. Howard also had a team-high two pass breakups.

Three Wildcats were part of two sacks in the game. Hasan Jackson registered a solo sack for a three-yard loss while John McMullen and Edward Pierson combined for a one-yard loss on another quarterback takedown.

McMullen was also responsible for two quarterback hurries on the day.

Brady Hanson, Jackson, Tavion McCarthy, and Shodipo also tallied pass breakups.

The win also marks 2021 as the first season NMU has had three wins in its first five games since the 2015 season.


NMU is traveling to Davenport University on Saturday for a rematch of the earlier 20-14 Wildcat win. The game will kick off at 12 p.m.

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