Alpena, MI – 09/01/22 – The Marquette Redmen traveled to Alpena this week, hoping to take home their first victory on the year against the Wildcats! Luke Ghiardi was live from Wildcat Stadium on Fox Sports Marquette, 105.1-99.9!
Q1: Marquette won the toss and opted to defer, giving Alpena the first crack at things. The Wildcats struggled on their first possession and after an 11 yard sack by Theo Adams, Alpena was forced to punt. A penalty on the punt buried Marquette deep in their own territory to start the drive, but a defensive pass interference gifted the Redmen a first down. After failing to convert on a short 3rd down, Marquette sent out the punt team and Alpena took possession once again. The Wildcats were unable to get anything going on the series though, and after a botched snap Wyatt Lakenen was able to fall on the rock and set the Redmen up inside of Alpena’s 30. The Wildcats defense was staunch, and on a 4th and short they got behind the Redmen offensive line for a drive-ending sack on Quinnell. As the first quarter drew to a close, Alpena began their march down the field on a trio of nice receptions from Nicholas Geister and Brady Pagels.
Q2: Marquette’s defense was strong to start the quarter, but an offsides call against them gifted the Wildcats a first down. Kaleb Donajkowski followed the penalty with a brutal ten yard rush, and a mammoth reception to secure Alpena’s first points of the season. Marquette’s special teams came up big on the PAT, flying past the Wildcat front and blocking their attempt. With the ball back in their possession Marquette had a tough drive, only managing 7 yards in 3 plays, and were resigned to punt once more. The Wildcat’s hoped to capitalize on their momentum, but that was quickly stifled at the hands of Jan van den Ende as he tore the ball from Alpena’s clutches and recovered the loose ball. A crushing hit and another huge sack started the Redmen drive on the wrong foot, and after throwing up a prayer on third, Marquette once again was forced to punt away possession to Alpena.
The Wildcat’s rushing attack was threatening on their ensuing possession, but with a 4th and 1 inside of Marquette territory Jacob Zann was unable to convert on the QB sneak and Alpena turned over possession to the Redmen. Following a big gain from Nate Benninger, Marquette pushed their way into Wildcat territory on the back of a Tucker Welch reception. A pair of rough downs left the Redmen facing a 3rd and long, which was quickly dealt with by a 23 yard connection between Quinnell and Closner. MacPhee snagged a short gain of his own to follow, and with Wildcat defenders hanging off of him Peter Closner bulldozed his way into the endzone to tie things up. Marquette easily buried the PAT between the uprights, taking their first lead of the night, 7-6. With less than 2 minutes remaining, Alpena put together a furious drive, and in just 4 plays they managed to cover 72 yards and retake the lead, 12-7. After a failed 2 point conversion, Marquette was back in possession. The Redmen followed Alpena’s example, and quickly drove downfield to secure a field goal as the half came to a close, cutting the Wildcat lead to just 2 points.
HALFTIME: Marquette 10 – Alpena 12
Q3: Marquette was forced into a quick 3 and out to start the half, punting possession back to the Wildcats. Their drive was shortlived however as the Redmen defense once again yanked the ball out of their hands, setting Marquette up just outside of Alpena’s redzone. The Redmen struggled to find their footing after the change in possession, but on a critical 4th down Jacob MacPhee managed to pull down a miraculous catch to keep the drive alive. On the following play, Peter Closner took a brutal hit but managed to keep driving until he found paydirt, giving the Redmen their first lead of the season. The Wildcat’s were able to get a hand in the way to block the attempted PAT, keeping things close. Neither Marquette nor Alepna managed to find the endzone for the rest of the quarter, but as time expired the Wildats managed to pick off Quinnell and put themselves in control to start the 4th.
Q4: As the final quarter of play began Marquette was clinging to a slim lead. Some big plays from Nledzwiecki and Pagels had the Wildcat’s threatening to find the endzone once again, but a disastrous trick play resulted in Marquette taking over on their own 16. Alpena’s defense gave Marquette nowehere to go on the next drive, and in short order they were forced to punt. Wyatt Lakenen had another big play on the Wildcat’s series, diving in front of a would-be touchdown pass, but his effort was for naught when Alpena converted on 4th down. A series of big plays by Rensberry, Pagels, and Donajkowski preceded a short QB sneak that put the Wildcats back on top. The Redmen once again came up big on special teams, stopping the Wilcat 2 pointer twice due to a defensive pass interference call. With little time left on the clock and a narrow deficit, Marquette was back in possession. A backbreaking holding call set Marquette back at the start of the drive, and despite some magic from Quinnell, Closner, and Houghton, they were unable to convert a critical 4th and long with 46 seconds left. Alpena took back possession, and with a quick knee the game came to it’s end.
FINAL SCORE: Marquette 16 – Alpena 18
Marquette’s defense and special teams have been staunch in their first two outings this season, but they were unable to convert on a few key plays tonight and that reflected in the final stat line. Alpena secured their first win, and the Redmen will go into their home opener next week looking to get some momentum going for the rest of the season. Marquette will host Gaylord on Friday night, and you can find all the action here on Fox Sports Marquette, 105.1-99.9 or listen online!