DETROIT, Mich. (WLUC) – Northern Michigan University Football scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes to defeat Wayne State University 34-24 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup. The Wildcats also broke a school record in the victory.
Sophomore Latrell Giles (Chicago, Ill./Leo Catholic) scored from the one yard line with 1:28 to go to put NMU ahead, 27-24. As WSU was driving down the field at the end, freshman Anthony Ladd (Columbus, Ohio/Grand Rapids Christian) intercepted the Warrior quarterback and ran it back 97 yards for the first interception return touchdown since September 18, 2016 against Angelo State University.
ANOTHER RECORD FALLS
Last week on Senior Day against Michigan Technological University, senior Jake Mayon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield East) set a new school record for rushing yards in a career. This week, NMU entered the game just 185 away from the NMU single season rushing record. The Wildcats ran for 236 yards and have now tallied 2,561 yards on the ground this season. The previous record was held by the 1976 team with 2,510 yards over 11 games. NMU still has one game left to play this year to push the record even higher.
Mayon ran for 179 yards on 36 carries, averaging 5.0 yards per carry and a touchdown. The senior entered the game 237 yards away from the single season rushing record. With one game left, Mayon is now just 58 yards away from the record of 1,469 yards.
Giles added 40 yards and scored two touchdowns, including the game-winner.
Through the air, Giles threw for 147 yards on just six completions. Redshirt freshman Benjamin Loutsis (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) had four catches for 117 yards, averaging 29.3 yards per catch. Sophomore Dallas Dixon (Phoenix, Ariz./Tolleson) added a catch for 27 yards while junior Michael Akinlade (Birmingham, England/St. Matthew Academy) also had a catch.
Sophomore Brady Hanson (Kewaskum, Wis.) and freshman Isaac Darkangelo (Brighton, Mich./Detroit Catholic Central) both finished with ten tackles to led the way. Darkangelo also had 1.5 tackles for loss. Junior Troy Mayon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield East) had one tackle for loss and senior Jalen Saunders (Auburn Hills, Mich./Avondale) chipped in on a Darkangelo tackle for loss and also forced a fumble.
Ladd finished with six tackles in addition to his first career interception.
GETTING ON THE BOARD
After falling behind 14-0, NMU used the run game to get the first score of the game as Mayon and Giles combined for 44 yards, and Giles hit Loutsis for a 22-yard completion to set up freshman kicker Daniel Riser (Ada, Michigan/Forest Hills Central) for the field goal and made the score 14-3.
On their second possession of the third quarter, Mayon scored from five yards to move NMU closer. Starting from their 12-yard line, Mayon took it 26 yards on two carries before Giles hit Loutsis for 41 yards to put the Wildcats on the Wayne State 21-yard line. Mayon used two more carries to put NMU on the five-yard line then finished the drive for his 13th touchdown of the season and made the score 17-10.
ANOTHER 3 POINTS
After stopping the Warrior offense, NMU added three more points with another Riser field goal to make it 17-13.
Taking over from their 27-yard line, Mayon used three carries to move the Wildcats to the NMU 45. Giles then rushed for seven yards which Mayon followed with a 37-yard gain to put the Wildcats inside the WSU ten-yard line. Scott Tripp (Marquette, Mich.) brought the offense to the one-yard line, but NMU was unable to get into the end zone and Riser put it through to make it 17-13 with 3:46 to go in the third quarter.
START THE QUARTER RIGHT
Taking over with 2:23 to go in the third, Mayon and Giles helped the offense with 13 yards on three carries, plus a WSU penalty moved the team into Warrior territory but the offense was forced into a fourth down at the WSU 34-yard line. On the fourth down play, Giles connected with Loutsis again, this time for 16 yards and a first down to end the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with NMU on the WSU 18-yard line and Tripp used two carries to go nine yards, then Mayon and Giles took it down to the one-yard line. On 2nd and Goal, Giles ran into the end zone to give NMU the lead 20-17 after the Riser extra point.
GETTING THE LEAD
After Wayne State scored on their next possession, NMU was facing a 24-20 deficit with 8:25 to play. On 2nd and 25, Giles hit Loutsis for a 38-yard gain and moved NMU onto the WSU side. After the next three plays, the Wildcats faced 4th and 1 from the 27-yard line when Giles took it for two yards and the first down.
On the next carry, Mayon got 12 yards and followed it for three yards to put NMU on the 10. Giles then connected with Akinlade on 2nd and 7 for three yards. After a Mayon carry got three yards, the team again faced 4th and 1 again, but another two-yard gain from Giles put NMU on the Warrior two-yard line.
Mayon was stopped on the next play, but another Wayne State penalty gave NMU an automatic first down and the ball at the one. On 2nd and goal, Giles found the end zone for the second time of the game, and his sixth of the year to move NMU on top, 27-24 with 1:28 to play.
Wayne State took over on their 21-yard line forced to score. After two incompletions, WSU connected for a 49-yard gain and took over at the NMU 30. A six-yard gain, then a five-yard gain had WSU with a first down at the 19-yard line. After an incompletion, Ladd intercepted the quarterback and ran it back 97-yards for the TD with 10 seconds left.
Wayne State was able complete one more pass for 19 yards, but it wasn't enough and NMU captured the 34-24 victory and the first road win of the Kyle Nystrom era.
The 2018 season will conclude at Ashland University Saturday, November 10, at 1 p.m. NMU enters the game looking to break the third rushing record of the season. At 3-7 on the year, the Wildcats have lost four of their contests by a combined total of just 12 points.