NORTH CANTON, Ohio - Hitting the road for the second time in three weeks to start the 2016 season, the SVSU football team traveled to North Canton, Ohio to face the Walsh University Cavaliers in league action against the GLIAC South Division opponent. The Cardinals pulled out at tough road victory, overcoming a late Walsh push and forcing a couple key turnovers in claiming a 27-17 victory.
Saginaw Valley opened the game's scoring when Jacob LeClair finished-off a 14-play, 96-yard drive by finding Frank Heimkreiter from six yards out to take a 7-0 lead after an Alex Kenrick PAT with 3:03 showing on the clock in the opening quarter.
Walsh would take advantage of a muffed punt return and make the score 10-3 with 28 seconds left in the quarter after a Jacob Maloy 24-yard field goal.
The Cardinals would push the lead back out to seven points when Kenrick converted on a 20-yard field goal with 9:04 on the clock in the second. That score capped a 12-play, 77-yard drive.
The Cavaliers knotted the score at the 3:07 mark of the second when Antonio Tate took a punt return 64 yards to find paydirt to make the score 10-10 after the extra-point, which is where the score would remain heading into the halftime break.
David Nay had 18 first half carries in a run-heavy attack for SVSU in the first half. He racked-up 127 yards in the opening 30 minutes, surpassing the career-high of 116 he posted in last week's game against Northwood.
Kenrick helped the Cards take advantage of an interception by Joe Newman and put some more points on the board. He drilled a career-best 50-yard field goal to put the visitors up by a 13-10 count at the 12:21 maker of the third quarter.
Early on in the fourth, LeClair found Nay from 10 yards out on a passing score that pushed the lead out to 20-10 after a Kenrick point after with 13:03 on the clock.
The Cavs responded quickly, using a 50-yard pass hook-up for a score with 10:38 left to play to cut the deficit to 20-17.
The home squad had another great scoring look at the SVSU two-yardline, but on second down Zack Hadorn forced a fumble that was recovered by Kyle Camfield to end the threat.
After a quick SVSU three-and-out, Walsh was set up with great field position after a punt, sitting at the Cardinal 38-yardline.
That's where SVSU would be the benefactor of another takeaway, as Brad Meredith forced another fumble, which was scooped-up by Matt McKoy and taked 60 yards to the house for a touchdown. Another Kenrick PAT and the Cards led 27-17 with just 1:19 showing on the scoreboard.
The Cavalilers would get 11 plays off in their final effort, but it was not near enough as the Cardinals closed-out the the 10-point win.
Inside the Boxscore
- Heimkreiter's touchdown in the first quarter was the first of his career on what was just his second-ever reception.
- McKoy earned Meijer "Player of the Game" honors in the win. He posted his third straight game with 11 tackles, adding the fumble recovery and return for a touchdown. He added a pair of pass break-ups as well in the contest.
- Nay finished with 177 yards on 28 attempts, including a long run of 43 yards. He hauled-in four catches for 21 yards and a score.
- Marq Johnson led the receiving with six catches for 47 yards.
- LeClair went 17-of-23 through the air, tossing a pair of touchdowns to Heimkreiter and Nay.
- Kenrick connected on both of his field goal tries, including the 50-yarder. He was also 3-for-3 on his extra-point tries.
- Joe Craven and Bryan Jones each had eight tackles for SV, with Craven notching a sack as well.
- Dillon Dixon chipped-in with seven stops.
- Saginaw Valley had 319 yards of total offense compared to 154 for Walsh and posted a 19-12 edge in first downs.
Saginaw Valley returns home to host Ohio Dominican University on Saturday (Sep. 24) in another matchup against a GLIAC South Division opponent. The Panthers are coming off a 17-10 home loss to Michigan Tech. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at Wickes Stadium.
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