Football makes a comeback at homecoming game

Wide receiver Nsyir Minney-Gratz receives the ball off the kick return and runs for 50 yards toward the endzone, gaining an advantage for The Cards. Vanguard Photo | Brandon Hull

On Saturday afternoon, the football team recovered from last week’s loss against Wayne State to take down Northwood 55-29 in SVSU’s homecoming game.

The Axe Bowl is the annual matchup between Saginaw Valley and Northwood. This year is the first since 2013-2014 that The Cardinals have secured the win for two consecutive years.

Running back junior Nate McCrary lead SVSU offense to victory. McCrary saw a career-high 24 rushes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

“I just want to thank God for giving me these opportunities,” McCrary said. “Our coaches encourage us to be the best we can on and off the field. I hope to continue to be the best me I can be.”

Northwood scored the first touchdown of the game at 11:55 on the clock after a blocked kick. SVSU wasted no time with its response, scoring two back-to-back touchdowns from four and two yards out, both courtesy of McCrary.

“The offensive line was tremendous in the run game today,” McCrary said. “I wouldn’t see this kind of success without them.”

Northwood scored again in the second quarter to tie the game 14-14, but not for long. McCrary followed with his third touchdown of the day, a run from 47 yards out.

The SVSU lead only grew from there. Junior defensive back Marvin White pulled off his second pick-six of the season and returned the ball 92 yards to make the score 28-14.

“Our theme is always just to get the ball back to the offense,” White said. “We have a powerful offense, so once we do that, we get less plays, but that’s our goal.”

The Cardinals’ momentum carried them through the second half of the game.

Senior quarterback Ryan Conklin connected with junior wide receiver Chad Galliard on a five yard pass in the beginning of the third quarter, which Northwood answered with another score.

Conklin repeated the play and struck with senior wide receiver Michael King, who ran it in from 10 yards out to go into the final quarter up 42-21.

The fourth quarter saw junior running back Tommy Scott Jr. cap off a drive from 30 yards out, dodging several Timberwolf defensemen to get to the endzone.

Minutes later, freshman quarterback Tye Mintz contributed his first SVSU score with 4:41 on the clock.

Northwood managed one more touchdown, and the score climbed with a two-point conversion. SVSU received the final kickoff and kneeled out the clock for a 55-29 win.

Head coach Ryan Brady said he was impressed with the players.

“The kids came out with a lot of energy, and we got out to a fast start, which was huge,” Brady said. “We attacked and kept our foot on the gas the second half. The offensive line was able to run the ball and really control the game. Defense also played well. The team’s response this week has been awesome.”

White said the week’s practice set the team up for success on Saturday.

“The victory was huge,” he said. “The goal was to get out here and keep the Axe red. We had a great week of practice leading up to it, and our Friday was laserfocused. We just came out here to do what we do.”

The next game for The Cards is Battle of the Valley at Grand Valley State Univesrsity’s Lubbers Stadium.

Kickoff for BOV will be 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12.

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