Wildcats fall in triple overtime to the Rams

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Tyler Blackburn booted a 49-yard field goal with no time left on the clock to send the Northern Michigan football team to overtime for the second-straight week Saturday at the Superior Dome.

But Angelo State thwarted the Wildcats' bid to win back-to-back bonus time games in triple overtime. After Fred Lawrence picked off a Shaye Brown pass in the end zone, Josh Stevens scored a one-yard touchdown on the Rams' next possession to seal their 47-44 victory.

The Wildcats overcame a 20-3 deficit by scoring three unanswered touchdowns on three-straight possessions. The momentum began to swing in Northern Michigan's favor when Julian Hornback intercepted a Jesse Drummer passed and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown with 5:09 left in the third quarter.

After the defense forced Angelo State to go three and out, the Wildcats scored on their next drive to cut the deficit to a field goal with 1:04 left in the third quarter. Walter Jackson hauled in a 43-yard pass while draped with a defender to set up Brown's one-yard quarterback keeper score.

Northern Michigan took its first lead of the game at 14:44 of the fourth quarter when Aaron Harris connected with Julian Munday for a 69-yard trick touchdown.

Angelo State took advantage of a fumble recovery deep in the Wildcat end to regain a 27-24 lead, with Trey Green capping the truncated drive with a 10-yard touchdown run.

Northern Michigan gained possession with 2:10 left on the clock and marched down the field, bolstered by two pass interference penalties on Richard Franklin. With three seconds left on the clock, Blackburn was called out to kick a 44-yard field goal. The Rams proceed to take all three of their timeouts in an attempt to ice Blackburn, and a Wildcat false start penalty added five yards to his try. But Blackburn calmly sent the ball through the uprights, sending Northern Michigan and Angelo State to overtime.

In overtime, the teams traded touchdowns. Jaranta Lewis kicked off the scoring by catching a 22-yard pass from Brown, but Jake Faber answered with a 16-yard touchdown to Ricky Pelzer. Then, Jake Mayon, the overtime hero at Lake Erie, answered Trey Green's three-yard touchdown run with a 25-yard score of his own to send the teams to triple overtime.

Brown, who broke Tom Bertoldi's career passing yards record during the game, finished the game with 238 yards on 24 for 49 passing. Munday (69), Lewis (54) and Jackson (51) all exceeded 50 receiving yards.

John Kwiecinski's punts consistently set Angelo State up with bad field position. Five of the freshman's 11 punts fell within the 20, and two pinned the Rams on their own one-yard line. One of those punts that was downed at the Angelo State one-yard line ended in Hornback's game-changing interception.

Darryl Williams led the Wildcats with 14 tackles, including three for a loss. Will Pretty (9), Matt Boonstra (8) and Jared Vuksan (8) rounded out the top three.

Northern Michigan returns to GLIAC play next weekend, taking on Grand Valley State at 7 p.m. in Allendale, Mich.

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