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NMU Makes Statement As UWW Looms

    

College Men

NMU Makes Statement As UWW Looms

Courtesy Cal Parrella.

It was a big game for Northern Michigan last week, and it gets even bigger this coming week.

NMU will play defending national DII champs Wisconsin-Whitewater this coming weekend, but that clash had to wait for the Mooesmen to get by rivals UW-Milwaukee this past Saturday.

That they did, winning 31-23.

"This was a big weekend," said club president Matt Hughes. "Our forwards dominated scrums and contested well in line-outs that gave the backs time and space, and so as a flyhalf I was able spread it wide and use kicks to expose the defense."

Up front Rudy Zelinski was dynamic and caused the UW-Milwaukee defense problems all day. He was powerful in defense and led the team in meters gaines. He also scored. 

"Rugby is a veteran and a great guy," said Hughes, who notched a try himself on a chip kick which he chased down to score. With George Rose and Tyson Oliver playing strong defense on the wing, the Milwaukee backs couldn't get enough space to answer.

Still, NMU trailed 13-10 at halftime. But in the opening 20 minutes of the  second half, the Moosemen scored three times to put the game away.

Hughes credits his team's opening warmup against Michigan State for getting the team prepared.

"That was a great learning experience for some new players and told our experienced players where we need to be in order to take this team to the next level," he said. "We are pleased with how our season has started and are going to continue with the momentum we have gained."

People have noticed, such as Whitewater coach Matt Pederson.

"NMU showed a lot of potential last year and travel well. They are playing tough right now," he said.