Wildcats Fall To #18 Ashland

Wildcats Fall To #18 Ashland

MARQUETTE, Mich. --  Northern Michigan University scored on their first possession for the third game in a row as they faced the #18 team in the country, Ashland University, but were unable to come away with the upset.

Freshman Deandre Caldwell (Kankakee, Ill.) finished with a career-high, posting 88 yards on eight carries. 

Freshman quarterback Ryan Johnson (De Pere, Wisc./Ashwaubenon) threw for a touchdown on 16-28 from the pocket, totaling 169 yards.  Sophomore Ryan Knight (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern) led the receivers with six catches for 56 yards while redshirt freshman Ravon Johnson (Willowbrook, Ill. / Hinsdale South) posted three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Freshman kicker Dalton Ray (Clemont, Fla. / Lake Menneola) was good for two field goals, making it from 20-yards and 18-yards out.  Sophomore punter John Kwiecinski (Plymouth, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's) controlled his Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference punting, posting a long of 58 yards with two punts inside the 20-yard line, including one inside the five.  He finished with an average of 46.6 yards a punt.

Defensively, senior Pat Ryan (Linden, Mich.) paced the Wildcats with 11 tackles while senior Darryl Williams (Cooper City, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) finished with seven. Sophomore Woodly Sully (North Lauderdale, Fla./Coconut Creek) collected his first sack of the season, taking down the Ashland QB for a loss of three yards. 

On the opening drive, the Wildcats went 75-yards over 11 plays, fueled behind Johnson throwing for 60-yards on the drive.  However, NMU was unable to cross the goal line and Ray scored his first field goal of the game to give NMU a 3-0 lead. 

Unfortunately, the Eagles answered by scoring on all four possessions of the first half to take a 24-3 lead at the break. 

After intermission, the Wildcats took advantage of a big defensively play by junior Corey Brooks (Green Acres, Fla. / Palm Beach Gardens).  After a completed Ashland pass, Brooks reached in and stripped the ball from the receiver and returned it 53-yards to set up the offense on the Ashland 23-yard line.  The Wildcats drove down to the three-yard line, but were unable to find the end zone as Ray knocked in his second field goal of the afternoon.

Ashland answered with another touchdown to move it to 31-6 and grew the lead to 38-6 before the fourth quarter with another touchdown. 

In the final frame, NMU found the end zone as they marched 75-yards down the field.  From six-yards out, the Johnson to Johnson connection hooked up for a touchdown.  The score moved the game to its 38-13 final.

Northern Michigan fell to 1-4 on the season and 1-3 in the GLIAC while Ashland improved to 5-1, 4-0 in the league.  The Wildcats return to action on Saturday as they travel to Tiffin University to take on the 4-2 Dragons.