UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Cardinal football team improved to 4-2 overall on the season and in GLIAC play after posting 563 yards of total offense, including 416 yards on the ground in a 41-13 victory over Northern Michigan University on a Homecoming Saturday (Oct. 8) at SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium.
Saginaw Valley jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and carried a 13-7 edge into the halftime break. The Cards then broke through for 28 second half points, including 21 of those in the final 15 minutes of play, to seal a 41-13 victory.
SVSU's first score came with 2:28 to play in the opening quarter, when Alex Kenrick drilled a 28-yard field goal to make the score 3-0.
After a Northern Michigan touchdown early in the second, the Cardinals capped a seven play, 71 yard drive with a David Nay one-yard touchdown that got the lead back for the home squad at 10-7. Another Kenrick field goal, this one from 31 yards out, would put the count at 13-7 at the 2:22 marker of the first half and into halftime.
The lone score of the third quarter came off a Dillon Dixon forced fumble that was scooped-up by Joe Newman, allowing Jermaih Johnson to find paydirt from 60 yards out on the fourth place from there. Kenrick's PAT made the score 20-7.
The fourth quarter would see De'Juan James scoring from 56 yards out at the 6:58 mark and another Johnson touchdown scamper (60 yds) on the second play after a Dixon interception to push the lead to 34-7 with 5:33 showing on the clock.
The Wildcats rushed one in from four yards out to cut the deficit a bit with 2:27 left, but would trail 34-13 after Bryan Jones blocked their extra-point attempt.
On SVSU's final drive with the team just looking to run some clock, Myrick El Jr. ran the ball three times, the third resulting in a 51-yard touchdown for his first-ever score. Another Kenrick point after made the count 41-13, which is where it would stand after the clock struck zeros.
Inside the Boxscore
- The 416 yards on the ground are the most since the team posted a record 673 on Halloween of 1998 in a 69-0 home shutout versus Mercyhurst.
- Johnson was named the Meijer Player of the Game for his career night. He finished with 11 attempts for 169 yards and two scores. He had touchdown runs of 60 and 61 yards in the victory.
- James and El each had a career-best 76 yards rushing, adding 50-plus yard touchdown runs as well. James had his first eight career rushes for the Cards against the Wildcats and both had their first touchdown.
- Nay added to the attack as well, punching-in a score and rushing for 72 yards with a long of 48.
- Ryan Conklin came on in relief of the injured starting quarterback Jacob LeClair and completed 5-of-13 for 98 yards. LeClair was efficient in his early action, going 6-of-9 for 49 yards through the air.
- Alfonso Vultaggio led the receiving corps with 68 yards on three catches.
- The SVSU defense held the Northern Michigan team that was averaging 37.2 ppg to just 13, forcing four turnovers in the contest. The Cardinals are ranked third in the league, allowing just 19.7 ppg.
- The Cardinals owned a 35:34 to 24:26 edge in time of possession on the game.
- Matt McKoy and Dillon Dixon each led the way defensively with eight tackles and an interception. Dixon added a forced fumble as well.
- Michael Alexander had seven, including a sack strip of the quarterback.
- Marvin White added his first-ever interception to go along with four stops from the corner back position.
- Kenrick is now 6-of-8 on the season in field goal attempts and 14-of-15 in extra points.
Postgame Press Conference
SVSU has a bye week this Saturday and will resume its 2016 slate with a road game at Wayne State on Saturday, October 22. The Warriors (5-1, 5-1 GLIAC) are coming off a 37-21 road victory over Findlay on Saturday and host winless Walsh on the 15th.
@svsu_football | #svsufball