Wayne State football suffered a 34–24 defeat to Northern Michigan University in the team’s final home game of the season at Tom Adams Field on Nov. 3.
On WSU’s opening possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Jake AmRhein’s 12-yard touchdown run gave the Warriors a 7–0 lead.
It wouldn’t take the Warriors long to add to their lead, as senior cornerback Malcolm Williams returned an interception 50 yards to put the Warriors up 14–0.
After a Wildcats field goal cut WSU’s lead to 14–3, both offenses stalled until WSU’s final possession of the first half. The 19-play drive, which took up the final nine minutes of the first half, ended as AmRhein was stopped short of the goal line on a fourth and goal.
WSU got off to a fast start after halftime as freshman safety Tieler Houston intercepted a pass on the opening play of the half and his 21-yard return put WSU at the Wildcats 14-yard line.
After two rushes by junior running back DeOntay Moffett took WSU inside the Wildcats 10-yard line, AmRhein’s quarterback scramble on third down was marked short of the first down marker, although television replays showed that AmRhein passed the line to gain.
Head coach Paul Winters said that the officials weren’t 100 percent certain of their call, but he would have liked to see AmRhein not leave the play in the official’s hands.
“It’s up to Jake to not make it close (and) he made it close,” Winters said. “Go down and take a hit if you have to but go get that first the first down (and) maybe even score.”
A field goal by graduate kicker Paul Graham extended WSU’s lead to 17–3. Northern Michigan later scored two touchdowns to pull ahead of WSU 20–17 with 11:55 left in the game.
WSU would reclaim the lead on the ensuing possession as junior running back James Hill’s three-yard touchdown gave the Warriors a 24–20 lead.
The Wildcats would reclaim the lead with a touchdown to go ahead 27–24 with 1:28 remaining.
On WSU's next possession, they picked up three first downs and drove to NMU’s ten–yard line before AmRhein’s pass on third down was intercepted and returned 97 yards for a touchdown to seal the win for the Wildcats.
A recurring issue for the Warriors throughout the season has been committing crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Winters said that the team has to stay focused in key situations.
“If a referee doesn’t call something or an opponent gets in their face or starts to push them or irritate them, we respond,” Winters said. “That’s an immaturity thing and we gotta correct that.”
Hill rushed for 179 yards and Houston added 11 tackles to go with his interception.
The loss dropped WSU’s record to 2–8 on the season and 1–6 in the GLIAC. The Warriors will conclude their season Nov. 10 on the road against GVSU at 1 p.m. Winters said that if the team is ready to compete in their next game, they can give the Lakers a close game.
“We showed last week against Ferris and the week before against Northwood (that) when we have our minds right and we’re where we should be, we’re unstoppable,” Winters said. “So we got to get our minds and be ready to go.”
Matt Williams is sports editor of The South End. He can be reached at email@example.com.