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Huskies Tripped up by Saginaw Valley State Saturday

HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech football team suffered a tough 17-16 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference loss at the hands of Saginaw Valley State on Homecoming Saturday afternoon at Sherman Field. The Cardinals used a pair of big plays in the fourth quarter to overtake the Huskies who had built a 13-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.

"It's a Great Lakes Conference football game that was tough and physical and everybody can beat everybody in this league," Michigan Tech Head Coach Tom Kearly said. "I really believe this and have said it often that we are good enough to beat everybody we play. However, we're not good enough that we can just show up and win if somebody plays better than us, especially against a good team like Saginaw Valley State. We still have five chances to win a ballgame this season and we'll prepare and work hard every week so that when we come out on Saturday's we have a chance to get a win."

Michigan Tech (2-3, 2-3 GLIAC) got on the board first Saturday afternoon and posted what would be the only touchdown of the first half midway through the opening quarter. Following a 37-yard punt and a 10-yard return by junior Ian Fischer, the Huskies found themselves in great field position at their 47-yard line.

The scoring drive would only be three plays and senior running back Kevin Miller would touch the ball on all three. Miller reeled of carries of five and four yards before breaking free for a 44-yard touchdown run. It was the longest touchdown run of the season to this point for the Huskies. Unfortunately, a costly blocked extra point by Bryan Jones of Saginaw State would keep it a 6-0 score.

Saginaw Valley State (3-2, 3-2 GLIAC) had its first scoring chance late in the second quarter, but the drive was thwarted by the first of two interceptions from the Tech defense. With the Cardinals sitting at the Huskies' 30-yard line first and 10, junior defensive back Antwon Curtis leaped in the air and intercepted a Jacob LeClair pass in the end zone to end the scoring threat.

The Huskies were unable to move the ball during their next two possessions though and it left time on the clock for the Cardinals to get three points before the break. Matt McKoy and Joe Craven caused a fumble on a sack of senior quarterback Brandon Cowie, allowing Heath Williams to recover the ball on the Tech 37-yard line. Saginaw Valley moved 14 yards on seven plays to setup a 41-yard field goal attempt by Alex Kenrick, who connected to make it a 6-3 score. The Huskies had missed a field goal opportunity of their own earlier in the second quarter.

Neither offense could get much going in the third quarter, but they found their rhythm a bit more in the fourth. The Huskies took possession of the ball at their 40-yard line with 14:17 to play and constructed their longest scoring drive of the game. Cowie completed a pass for 11 yards to senior wide receiver David Walter and then a 29-yard run by Miller took the ball down to the four-yard line. Two plays later Cowie found junior fullback Alex Sherbinow in the end zone on a play-action pass to give Tech a 13-3 lead.

However, the Cardinals answered right back and on the first play from scrimmage following the kickoff when LeClair found wide receiver Marq Johnson for an 82-yard touchdown pass. The extra point brought Saginaw Valley back to within three points at 13-10 with 8:56 to play.

The Huskies would extend their advantage to six points with just over four minutes remaining on the fourth quarter clock. Junior defensive back Derek Cingel setup the scoring drive on his team leading third interception of the season, stepping in front of a LeClair pass at the Cardinals 39-yard line. The Huskies would march the ball down to the 12-yard line where junior kicker Josh King connected on a 29-yard field goal to make it a 16-10 game.

Saginaw Valley then delivered the second big play of the fourth quarter when Marvin White took the ensuing kickoff two yards deep in the end zone and returned it for what would be the game winning touchdown. The Huskies offense turned it over on downs on their next drive and the Cardinals were about to run the majority of the remaining time off the clock. The Huskies got the ball back with 10 seconds left at their own 13-yard line, but were unable to get past the 27-yard line as time expired.

Miller had a career high 138 yards on 13 carries to power the Tech offense on Saturday afternoon. He had one touchdown and averaged 10.6 yards per carry. Junior running back John Williams had a solid day as well, adding 75 yards on 16 carries for the Huskies. Williams was also the leading receiver on the team, hauling in four catches for 37 yards. Cowie completed 15 passes for 118 yards and one score while catching one pass from Walter for 22 yards. As a team, the Huskies had 352 total yards with 212 coming in the ground.

Senior linebacker Ben Tauchen powered the defense with 12 tackles, including one for a loss to go along with three pass breakups. Freshman linebacker Marvin Wright had 10 stops with two pass breakups while teammate freshman defensive back Travis Tidwell tallied nine tackles with two pass breakups. Curtis had two tackles plus his interception and Cingel made four tackles to go along with his pick. The Huskies led the GLIAC with six interceptions as a team on the season and now own eight in 2016.

Running back David Nay had 55 yards rushing for the Cardinals while LeClair completed 17 of 43 pass attempts for 215 yards and one touchdown. Johnson caught seven passes for 133 yards and one touchdown. Saginaw Valley State had 333 yards of total offense on Saturday. Dillon Dixon and Matt McKoy each had 11 tackles followed by Bryan Jones with 10 tackles and the blocked extra point to lead the defense.

The Huskies will look to regroup during the upcoming bye week before returning to the field on Saturday October 15th at Tiffin University. The kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 PM.