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Saturday November 17, 2018
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: Wildcats Fall In Illinois

LEBANON, Ill.---The Northern Michigan University Wildcat football team battled injuries, penalties, and turnovers, and came up short in its battle with the McKendree Bearcats, 34-28, Saturday afternoon in suburban St. Louis. 

The Wildcats lost starting quarterback Ryan Johnson to an injury on the second play of the game, and Latrell Giles filled in at the QB spot before he also left in the fourth quarter.

NMU took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Jake Mayon rushed in from four yards out. But the Bearcats evened the score in the second quarter as quarterback Reece Metcalf hooked up with Matt Cole on a 52-yard touchdown pass.

NMU had its chances later in the half.  Jacob Dudeck put on a huge hit to force a fumble that was recovered by Troy Mayon, and the Wildcat offense drove deep into Bearcat territory.

The Wildcats had the perfect chance to take the halftime lead when they had the ball 4th-and-Goal from just inside the one yard line with 1:50 left in the half. The Bearcat defense stopped the run just shy of the goal line, so it stayed 7-7 at the break.

NMU got the opening kick of the second half, but could not move it.

McKendrie expanded its lead to 17-7 when Metcalf threw another TD, a nine-yarder with 28 seconds left in the third quarter. The Wildcats, however, struck quickly as Giles threw a bullet to Benjamin Loutsis for a 66-yard catch-and-run.

The Wildcats had the hosts in a 3rd-and-9 situation, but Metcalf threw this third touchdown of the game, a 31-yarder to Preston Thompson.

Trailing 24-14, Giles engineered a nice drive downfield, and as the McKendree defense keyed on Mayon, Giles scored on a three-yard run to make it 24-21.

But the Wildcat defense couldn't slow the Bearcat offense. Thompson finished the Bearcat drive with a ten-yard run with 3:27 left to make it 31-21.

NMU's third string quarterback, Kole Stealey, then threw an interxeption that led to a McKendree field goal. The Wildcats scored a touchdown on the last play of the game as Sealey found Ryan Knight in the corner of the end zone for a 17-yard score.

But there was no time to try an on-side kick. The game was over.

Jake Mayon led the ''Cats with 173 yards rushing on 27 carries, while Loutsis led the way receiving with five catches for 117 yards. Giles completed 10-of-18 for 176 yards.

Troy Mayon led the way defensively with eight tackles and a fumble recovery.

NMU hosts Texas-Permian Basin in the home-opener next Saturday at 1:00.

The game will be broadcast on WUPT-FM (100.3 The Point), WCHT-AM (NewsTalk 600), and on-line at www.rrnsports.com and www.radioresultsnetwork.com.

Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos, videos, and listen to interviews with Jake Mayon, Trainer Jon Bauers. Also hear the radio replay of the first touchdown of the season.










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