MIDLAND, Mich. – The Saginaw Valley State University football team fell to Northwood University today (Sept. 25), 30-26, in the 37th annual Axe Bowl.
The Timberwolves were the first to strike as they connected on a 28-yard field goal with under a minute and a half remaining in the first quarter. Northwood would later add a touchdown early in the second quarter to take a 10-0 lead over the Cardinals.
With 7:45 remaining in the first half, the Cardinals would finally find paydirt on a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Chuck Dowdell (Ft. Wayne, Ind. / Northrop HS) to Meijer "Player of the Game", senior wide receiver Andrew Beaver (Dearborn Heights, Mich. / Dearborn HS), however a blocked field goal attempt would hold Saginaw Valley's score at six. Northwood would again find the endzone with 0:31 on the game clock and entered the locker room with a 16-6 advantage.
The Cardinal offense started the second half strong, chipping away at Northwood's ten point lead as sophomore running back Ronnie Lark (Flint, Mich. / Powers Catholic HS) found the endzone on a one-yard plunge. Lark would finish the game with 11 caries for 70 yards. Saginaw Valley would take their first lead of the contest, 20-16, on a 25-yard Dowdell pass complete to Beaver, who ended the game with 14 catches for 172 yards and two scores. Northwood would respond with a 41-yard touchdown pass, re-gaining the lead 23-20 with 0:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Northwood would add to their lead midway through the fourth quarter on a 25-yard run into the endzone. The Cardinals would strike back quickly, scoring just 30 seconds later, when Dowdell would find sophomore wide receiver Jason Fleet (Dewitt, Mich. / Dewitt HS) from 18-yards out, however Saginaw Valley was only able to regain possession of the ball for one play as time expired with a score of 30-26 in Northwood's favor. Fleet would end the contest with two receptions for 21 yards and a score.
The SVSU defense was led by sophomore linebacker Thomas Stalter (Portland, Mich. / Portland HS), who posted nine tackles on the afternoon, one for loss. Senior defensive back Rick Evans (Jacksonville, Fla. / Sandalwood HS), junior defensive back Carlton Downs (Detroit, Mich. / Denby HS) and sophomore linebacker Grant Caserta (Holland, Mich. / West Ottawa HS) all added eight tackles while Caserta had one sack on the afternoon.
With the loss, Saginaw Valley falls to 1-3 overall on the season, 1-2 in the GLIAC while Northwood moves to 2-2 overall on the season and 2-1 in the GLIAC. The Cardinals will return to action next week (Oct. 2) when they travel to take on the Chargers of Hillsdale College in a GLIAC match-up. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.