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Football Wins Back Axe - Timberwolves defeat Saginaw Valley 35-21

Football Wins Back Axe - Timberwolves defeat Saginaw Valley 35-21


Northwood Timberwolves 35, Saginaw Valley State Cardinals 21
RECORDS: Northwood (6-4, 4-4 GLIAC), Saginaw Valley (5-5, 3-5 GLIAC)
LOCATION: Hantz Stadium - Midland, Mich.
RECAP: Northwood out-scores SVSU 28-0 in the final 19:11 of the game, giving the Timberwolves a comeback 35-21 win Saturday afternoon (November 4).


  • The defenses were the story of the game early, as the game was scoreless past the halfway mark of the second quarter. Saginaw Valley drew first blood with 6:42 left in the second stanza. Keyed by a crucial pass from deep in their own territory, the Cardinals marched 83 yards down the field. They capped the drive with a four-yard passing touchdown for the first score of the game to go up 7-0.
  • On the ensuing drive, the Timberwolves answered with a lengthy march of their own. Needing a key conversion on fourth down in Saginaw Valley territory, Joe Garbarino stepped up with a 16-yard run down to the eight-yard-line. Trying to finish the drive with a rushing touchdown, Garbarino fumbled. However, Gary Landless picked up his teammate by falling on the loose ball in the end zone to unconventionally tie the game 7-7 heading into halftime.
  • On their first drive of the second half, Saginaw Valley took initiative and grasped the lead back. In a swift drive that took just three plays, the Cardinals converted on a 62-yard pass over the middle for six to go up 14-7 just 2:38 into the third quarter.
  • Breakaway plays became a short-term theme for the Cardinals. Stuffing the Timberwolves on their ensuing drive, Saginaw Valley posted six more on a 66-yard rushing touchdown straight though the middle of the field. With 5:53 left in the third, the Cardinals had a 21-7 edge.
  • At this point in the game, Northwood had gained a total of 195 yards in just under 41 minutes of play. But The Timberwolves's offense got rolling at this point, starting with their next possession.
  • Primarily getting most of his yards on the ground throughout the day, Garbarino connected with high school teammate Alex Spicuzzi for his biggest completion of the day. A 30-yard connection for six cut the deficit for Northwood to seven just 1:42 after the Cardinals went up by two scores.
  • After a stop on defense, the Timberwolves made it a brand new ballgame with eight seconds left in the third. Providing a theme for the drive, Garbarino and Vashon Nutt made key 15 and 18-yard gains respectively on the ground. These two plays set up a 13-yard scamper by Andre Carter for six to tie the game 21-21 heading to the fourth quarter.
  • Northwood then made it three straight touchdown drives on their next possession.  Staying on the ground, the Timberwolves received contributions from Corey Burdgick and Carter in the forms of 23 and 16-yard rushes. Taking advantage of a pass interference penalty in the end zone, Garbarino took matters into his own hands and held on to the football. Forcing his way over the goal line for two yards, the Northwood quarterback put his team ahead 28-21 with 12:00 left in the game.
  • Carter would add another touchdown on the ground to his resume to ice the victory for the Timberwolves. Aided by a 4th-and-6 conversion on a John Hall reception, Carter found daylight two plays later. A 21-yard sprint for six made it 35-21 Northwood with 6:32 left in the game.


  • FIRST DOWNS: Saginaw Valley 17, Northwood 22
  • RUSHES-YARDS: Saginaw Valley 32-151, Northwood 60-336
  • PASSING YARDS: Saginaw Valley 218, Northwood 50
  • TOTAL OFFENSE, PLAYS-YARDS: Saginaw Valley 68-369, Northwood 70-386
  • TIME OF POSSESSION: Saginaw Valley 28:33, Northwood 31:27


  • Garbarino: 185 yards rushing, 30 yards passing, rushing TD, passing TD
  • Carter: 67 yards rushing, 2 TDs
  • Spicuzzi: 43 yards receiving, TD
  • Samuels: 2 interceptions, pass break-up
  • Cameron Fritts: 1.5 sacks, 2.0 tackles for loss
  • Charles Williams: 6 tackles, two tackles for loss, forced fumble


  • Prior to this game, eight of the last nine matchups between the two teams had been decided by eight points or less.
  • Northwood has now won two of the last three matchups after losing four straight from 2011 to 2014.
  • Chad Samuels vaulted himself into the top-3 among GLIAC interception leaders with his two pics today.
  • Andre Carter's two rushing touchdowns moved into the top ten among GLIAC rushers with six scores on the year.
  • Garbarino passed his rushing total of 442 yards in ten games last season. He now has 499 in just eight this season.
  • Williams now has 17.0 tackles for loss for Northwood, the most for an NU player since Kyle Clement in 2005 (17.0).


  • The Timberwolves will travel to Northern Michigan on Saturday (November 11) for a GLIAC matchup against the Wildcats to close out the regular season. Game time is set for 1 p.m.