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Davenport gets first home win with 31-21 victory over Northern Michigan

The Panthers will host former GLIAC member Northwood next Saturday in their homecoming game set for 2:00 PM.

CALEDONIA, Mich. — After a bye week, the Davenport Panther football team looked fresh and ready as they defeated Northern Michigan 31-21 in non-conference action at Farmers Insurance Athletic Complex on Saturday. The Panthers used a solid rushing attack with 181 yards on the ground led by Caleef Jenkins. He rushed for a career-high 104 yards on 12 carries and scored twice in the first quarter. Six different Panthers carried the ball on the afternoon with Kyshawn Richards also rushing for 51 yards on seven carries.

Northern Michigan carried the ball 33 times for 112 yards (3.4 yards per rush) as the Panther defense limited the Wildcats to 279 total yards. Davenport finished with 301 total yards and completed 11-of-20 passes. The two-quarterback system of Johnny Saavedra and Jason Whittaker led the offense. Saavedra was 3-of-7 for 45 yards and got the start. Whittaker completed 8-of-13 passes for 75 yards and found Roy Livingstone late in the third quarter for a five-yard touchdown pass.

Jenkins carried for a two-yard score at 8:07 of the first quarter as DU responded to NMU's opening drive for a touchdown with one of their own. Jenkins again reached paydirt at 1:08 of the first quarter from eight yards out for a 14-7 lead. A big momentum play happened with 7:05 left in the second quarter as Shaq Floyd picked off Drake Davis and returned it 40 yards for a 21-7 lead. He was the last Panther to return one for a score coming against Gannon on March 20, 2021.

The Panthers allowed just seven points after halftime and it came in the third quarter as Tyshon King caught a seven-yard pass from Davis with 7:25 left capping off a six-play, 75-yard drive to make it 24-21. With a three-point lead, Whittaker found Livingstone in the back of the end zone on third-and-four from the NMU five-yard line to make it 31-21.

The Wildcats trailing 31-21 started at their own one-yard line after a Sy Barnett 68-yard punt with 11:49 left in the fourth quarter. Northern Michigan held the ball for 15 plays and gained 86 yards in 6:17 but came away with no points as kicker Daniel Riser hit the right upright with a 31-yard field goal attempt. Davenport took over at 5:32 remaining and grinded out 45 yards in nine plays to advance to the NMU 33-yard line before taking a knee to end the game.
Davenport converted 8-of-12 on third down and went 3-for-3 for touchdowns in the red zone. Jalen Robinson led the defense with nine tackles. Payton Mitchell recorded six tackles as did Elysee Mbem-Bosse. The Panthers will host former GLIAC member Northwood next Saturday in their homecoming game set for 2:00 PM.

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