UNIVERSITY CENTER -- Despite falling behind early in the 45th edition of the Axe Bowl, the Cardinal Football team bounced back quickly and had a steady dose of ground game in registering a 55-29 home victory over Northwood University at Wickes Stadium on Saturday (Oct. 5) afternoon.
The Cardinals racked-up 476 yards of total offense and 308 rushing, using up 35:47 in the time of possession category in sealing the second straight win over the Timberwolves in the rivalry matchup. Junior running back Nate McCrary had a career-high 24 rushes for 152 yards and matched a career-best with three touchdowns to lead the way in the victory.
Northwood took a 7-0 lead at the 11:55 marker on a blocked field goal after Northwood blocked a kick and Dimitri Abro scooped it up and returned it 95 yards for a score.
Saginaw Valley responded with two straight touchdowns after that to take a 14-7 lead, using McCrary scores at the 6:52 and 0:02 points of the first quarters. The first touchdown came from four yards out while the second was a drive capper from the two yard line.
The T-Wolves bounced back with a touchdown of its own as 10:38 remained in the second quarter, rushing in a touchdown to knot the score at 14-14.
McCrary's third touchdown of the half came as 6:07 showed on the second quarter clock of a 47 yard scamper, giving the home team the lead for good at 21-14. Then with 2:03 left in the first half, Marvin White had his second pick-six of the season, picking-off a pass and taking it 92 yards to the house for the 28-14 Cardinal lead.
After carrying that two-touchdown lead into the half, the Cards never looked back in the second half.
Ryan Conklin struck for two touchdowns, connecting with Chad Gailliard on a five yard pass and Michael King from 10 yards out in the third quarter. Those were wrapped around a Northwood score, putting the Saginaw Valley lead at 42-21 as the teams entered the final quarter of play.
Tommy Scott Jr. capped an SVSU scoring drive at the 13:19 marker of the fourth with an amazing 30 yard touchdown run, dodging Timberwolf defenders and eventually finding paydirt for the 49-21 Cardinal lead.
Tye Mintz had his first SVSU score on a short run as 4:41 remained in the game, putting the lead at 55-21.
A late Northwood touchdown and two-point conversion came with 1:04 to play to trim the lead to 55-29, which is where the final remained after the Cards kneeled-out the clock when they received the final kickoff.
Inside the Boxscore
- McCrary's performance garnered him Meijer "Player of the Game" honors for the third straight week. He has had three straight games with over 100 yards and leads the GLIAC with 7.4 yards per carry and is second with 107.8 yards per game.
- Scott added 60 yards on seven rushes with a touchdown while Mintz had the other rushing score.
- Conklin connected on 12-of-17 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
- King had four catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
- Gailliard had the other receiving score and had two catches for 16 yards.
- Nick Whiteside had a team-high six tackles with a pass breakup.
- David Still added five tackles while White had four stops, a tackle-for-loss and an interception returned for a touchdown.
- Nysir Minney-Gratz returned four kickoffs for 104 yards and added 47 yards on five punt returns.
Postgame Interview - Ryan Brady
Postgame Interview - Marvin White
The Cardinals begin a three week road stretch this upcoming Saturday (Oct. 12), beginning at Grand Valley State University. Saginaw Valley will square-off with the Lakers in a 7:00 p.m. contest from Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. Stay tuned to svsucardinals.com for full details.
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