Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mining Journal: Little things paying off for NMU

Little things are paying off for NMU

By BILL HARRIS Journal Sports Writer
POSTED: October 16, 2009

Zac Nichols

MARQUETTE - Doing the little things right is paying off in a big way for the Northern Michigan University football team, and the Wildcats hope to continue their winning ways on Saturday against Hillsdale College.

After six games, the Wildcats are 5-1, have knocked off a pair of American Football Coaching Association Division II top 25 teams (Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State), and have broken into the poll themselves with a No. 23 national ranking for the first time since AFCA poll was started in 1992.

NMU coach Bernie Anderson said that if the poll was started after the first five games it would be more realistic, but knows that's not the reality.

"Once you do get into the second half of the season the ratings become more meaningful, even though it's based on a win-loss record, but that is the ultimate measure," Anderson said.

And being ranked is a good thing for everyone involved.

"It's good for our players, our program and the university, and we'll take it," Anderson said. "It's nice to fly under the radar a little bit, but when you're 5-1 and you've beaten some good football teams, you're going to get recognized."

And Northern has beaten good football teams, the latest being SVSU and WSU, who have learned that things are starting to come together for the Wildcats.

Offensively, Northern's passing attack has upped its game to complement the run, and Anderson said that the combination of the two adds a new dynamic to Northern's offense.

"We're more two-dimensional, which is a good thing," he said. "We have the ability to run - we have three good backs - but have a couple good wide receivers and a good quarterback to get them the ball, and it's making us more productive offensively."

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