MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) – October 20, 2018
MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Football ran past Lawrence Technological University 65-7, rushing for 444 yards for their largest win since 2009.
APPROACHING THE RECORD
Senior Jake Mayon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield East) rushed for 121 yards on 12 carries and scored three touchdowns to tie for his career high. He is now just 90 yards away from tying the school record for career rushing yards with NMU Sports Hall of Famer Steve Avery.
The Wildcats rushing game proved too much for the LTU defense, as NMU finished with 444 yards rushing, the most of the Kyle Nystrom era and just 33 shy of the school's single game record. Their 24 rushing touchdowns were a school record, breaking the old mark of 22 rushing first downs set in 1968 and again in 1988 against Northwood Institute (now Northwood University).
Leading the way was sophomore Deandre Caldwell (Kankakee, Ill.) with 171 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Mayon added his 121 and sophomore Scott Tripp (Marquette, Mich.) chipped in with 68 yards and two touchdowns while redshirt freshman Kole Stealy (Cooper City, Fla./Chaminade-Madonna) posted 60.
The NMU defense featured a team effort as no one had more than seven tackles, with Wyatt Goodwin (Marquette, Mich.) leading the way. In total, 14 players had multiple tackles. Sophomore Deantae Young (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) finished with a team-best five solo tackles.
Senior Alex Hamilton (Chesterfield, Mich./Anchor Bay) notched his first sack of the season as well, getting the Blue Devil quarterback down for a four-yard loss.
Senior Terrell Johnson (Maywood, Ill./Montini Catholic) picked up a fumble while senior Brad Gustafson (Felch, Mich./North Dickinson) picked off the LTU QB for his first career interception, returning it for 13 yardS
DOMINATING THE FIRST QUARTER
On the first drive of the game, Mayon started the drive by rushing for 10 yards then followed it with a 15-yard carry. On the third play, Stealy found redshirt freshman Connor Bruinius (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Northern) for a 38-yard catch and run to put NMU on the LTU 14 yard line. Mayon then went for six yards and capped off the drive with a three-yard plunge into the end zone.
The Wildcat then defense forced a punt and Knight returned it 22 yards, with a penalty by the Blue Devils to help NMU start the drive on the LTU 33-yard line. Mayon rushed for 16 yards, then eight, and finished the drive with a nine-yard rush to put NMU up 14-0 after the second extra point kick by freshman Daniel Riser (Ada, Mich./Forest Hills Central).
After the NMU kickoff, Gustafson picked off an LTU screen pass for the team's second interception of the season, returning it 13 yards to put NMU on the visitors 12-yard line. On the very first play, Stealy connected with redshirt freshman Benjamin Loutsis (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) for a 12-yard touchdown pass. After the extra point, the Wildcats were ahead 21-0 with over nine minutes to go in the first quarter.
The defense forced a three and out on the next LTU drive. On the fourth down punt, the Wildcats got through and blocked the punt with the ball rolling out of the back of the end zone for the first safety since 2010.
The safety forced the Blue Devils to kickoff from their 20-yard line and NMU started their drive from their own 35-yard line. Mayon started the drive with two carries for 12 yards but an NMU penalty placed NMU back to their 31-yard line. Stealy answered with a 19-yard carry followed by two more Mayon carries for 22 yards to put NMU on the LTU 27-yard line. However, another NMU penalty pushed them back again, this time to the LTU 42. Caldwell rushed for 11 yards and after a one-yard gain by Stealy and after another penalty, Stealy went for seven yards, placing NMU on the LTU 20. On the next play, Mayon found the end zone for the third time of the game.
At the end of the first quarter, NMU held a 30-0 lead.
THE SECOND QUARTER
LTU scored their lone touchdown of the game early in the second quarter, but NMU scored on the next drive after a 20-yard kickoff return from Loutsis. Freshman quarterback Isiah Wright (Milwaukee, Wis./Milwaukee Bay View) came in and started the drive with an eight-yard carry then Caldwell ran twice for 12 yards. After a false start, Wright hit sophomore Dallas Dixon (Phoenix, Ariz./Tolleson) for a 33-yard gain putting NMU on the Lawrence Tech 25-yard line. On the next play, Caldwell ran away from the defense to score his second TD this year.
The NMU defense forced another three and out to give the offense the ball back on their 47-yard line. Caldwell ran for 14 yards and then for 18 yards. After losing a yard, Wright hit sophomore Ravon Johnson (Willowbrook, Ill./Hinsdale South) for a 36-yard touchdown to give Wright the first touchdown pass of his career. The TD also moved NMU ahead 44-7 with 6:32 to go in the half.
THE FINAL 30 MINUTES
NMU kept the Blue Devils from scoring plus added three more scores. On their first drive of the third quarter, Stealy rushed for six yards, but NMU was stopped for a loss of six yards on the next play. Stealy then carried for 15 yards followed by a Caldwell rush for 12 yards. Tripp came into the game for two carries and nine yards which Stealy followed with a four yard gain of his own. After a loss put NMU on the LTU seven-yard line, Tripp took the carry and rushed seven yards to get his first collegiate touchdown and put NMU ahead 51-7 after the extra point.
On the next NMU drive, Stealy ran for seven yards and followed it with a completion to Johnson for 28 yards, putting NMU at their 49-yard line. On the next play, Caldwell broke through the Blue Devil defense for 41 yards. With the ball on the LTU 10-yard line, Wright ran into the end zone on the next play for his first rushing TD and made the score 58-7.
LTU got the ball with 14:22 early in the fourth quarter. After picking up a first down, Terrell Johnson recovered a fumble to give NMU back the ball at the LTU 35-yard line. Tripp ran for four yards before Wright hit Dixon for a 14-yard gain. After Wright carried it for five yards down to the LTU 12, Tripp scored his scored touchdown and the final score of the game to make it 65-7.
The 65 points are the most points since NMU scored 66 points against Findlay University in 2014. The 58-pt difference is the most since a 62-0 victory over Tiffin University in 2009. NMU will now return to Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action next week and host their final game in the Superior Dome this season as they celebrate Senior Day by taking on rival Michigan Technological University for the Miner's Cup.