UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich - The Saginaw Valley State University football team defeated the Northern Michigan University Wildcats this evening (11/5) in a 48-26 shootout in front of 7,068 fans. The Cardinals improve to 7-2 on the season and in conference, while Northern Michigan falls to 4-6 overall and 3-6 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Cardinals lit up the scoreboard on a Scott Stanford (Novi, Mich.) 22 yard field goal that capped off an eight play, 67-yard drive after the Cardinal defense forced a Wildcat punt to start the game. SVSU would extend its lead to 10-0 less than a minute later when Noah Sumpter (Lansing, Mich./Waverly HS) returned an interception 18-yards for a touchdown.
Northern Michigan would cut the Cardinals advantage to 10-6 behind two field goals by Rockne Belmonte from 40 and 21 yards, respectively.
On the first play of the second quarter, Jonathon Jennings (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville South HS) connected with Ronnie Lark (Flint, Mich./Powers Catholic HS) on a 10-yard pass to extend the Cardinals advantage to 17-6. Jennings would finish the game 18-of-24 for 274 yards and three touchdowns on the evening.
The Cardinal defense found the endzone for the second time in the game when Meijer "Player of the Game" Brian Johnson (Muskegon, Mich./Muskegon Catholic Central HS) intercepted a Carter Kopach pass and returned it 47-yards for a touchdown to extend the SVSU lead to 24-6. Johnson finished the contest with four tackles and the interception return.
Saginaw Valley continued to put points on the scoreboard in the first half as Jennings hit a wide open Jeff Janis (Tawas City, Mich./Tawas Area HS) from 25 yards out to give the Cardinals a 31-6 advantage.
The two teams would exchange field goals to close out the half with a 34-9 Cardinal lead.
SVSU opened the scoring in the second half as Jennings hooked up with Janis for the second time in the contest, this time from 13 yards to extend the lead to 41-9. Janis would finish the evening with three catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns.
The Wildcats then took advantage of a Cardinal turnover on special teams when Jared Buss scored on a short run to cut the lead to 41-16.
On the next possession, Saginaw Valley running back Tim Hogue (Inkster, Mich.) was nearly taken down after a short gain but managed to break the tackles and rumble 51 yards to paydirt and extend the lead to 48-16.
Northern Michigan recorded the final two scores of the night on a rush by quarterback Carter Kopach and a 41-yard field goal by Rockne Belmonte.
The Cardinal defense was lead by Darius Middlebrooks (Indianapolis, Ind./Indiana State University) who recorded nine tackles, including two tackles-for-loss and two pass breakups. Junior Jeff Heath (Lake Orion, Mich.) finished the victory with eight tackles and a tackle-for-loss, while senior Paul Webb (Royal Oak, Mich.) added seven tackles. On the evening, the Cardinal defense combined for eight tackles for loss, five pass break-ups, two interceptions and one sack.
SVSU set a new single-season attendance record for Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium at 32,864 for five home games, besting the previous mark of 27,730 set during a six-game home schedule in 2003.
Saginaw Valley will finish out the regular season portion of their schedule as they attempt to capture atleast a share of the GLIAC title on the road against rival Grand Valley State. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.