HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech football team returned to Sherman Field on Saturday and fell to 12th ranked Grand Valley State 42-7 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener. The Huskies jumped in front first late in the opening quarter, but the Lakers would go on to score 42 unanswered points through the final 45 minutes.
"Grand Valley State is a very good football team, but we are a better team than what we showed today," Michigan Tech Head Coach Steve Olson said. "We have to be able to execute better on the offensive side of the ball to finish drives and on the defensive side of the ball we have to be better at not giving up the long plays."
Michigan Tech (1-2, 0-1 GLIAC) had the ball first and drove into Grand Valley State (2-1, 2-0 GLIAC) territory. A 20-yard run by senior tailback John Williams and a Laker penalty helped move the ball down to the 41, but the Huskies were forced to punt on a fourth and four play.
The Lakers took over at their own four-yard line after sophomore punter Michael James pinned the ball deep with a 37-yard boot. Grand Valley State moved down the field, eventually setting up on the Huskies five-yard line. Tech's defense stood strong though and after running back Marty Carter got to the one, senior defense back Mitchell Ryan dislodged the ball which bounced out of the end zone for a touchback. The play kept the Lakers out of the end zone and gave Tech the ball back at the 20-yard line.
That play by the defense ignited a 14 play 80-yard drive for the Huskies offense which culminated in a touchdown run by Williams from eight yards out. Quarterback Jake Brown completed three passes on the drive with one going to junior wide receiver Kevin Kirkland for 16-yards. Williams had a carry for 10-yards earlier in the possession before bolting to the end zone for his sixth touchdown of the season.
Unfortunately, it would be the only score for Tech the rest of the way. Grand Valley State pulled even with 9:55 left in the second quarter when Carter found a seam up the field for a 68-yard touchdown run. Defensive lineman Demetrius Farmer then picked off a pass and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown on the Huskies next possession to make it 14-7. Carter then added a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick Keizer with 1:38 to play in the second quarter, extending the lead to 21-7 at the break.
The Lakers got the ball first to start the second half and quickly made it a three possession game on an 8 play 65-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Bart Williams found wide receiver Brandon Bean for a three-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone to make it 28-7. Williams tossed 16-yard touchdown pass to Keizer in the fourth quarter and a Michael Pettis interception return with 10:26 to go accounted for the final seven points.
Williams powered the Tech offense 129 yards rushing on 21 carries leading to 6.1 yards per carry average Saturday afternoon. Brown completed 10 passes for 73 yards and found sophomore Jacob Wenzlick six times for 33 yards. Kirkland added two more receptions for 31 yards. As a team, the Huskies generated 274 yards of total offense with 193 coming on the ground. They picked up 21 first downs and had the ball for 37:10.
Defensively, senior Spencer Moran had nine tackles followed by sophomore Travis Tidwell and junior Graham Hubbell with five tackles apiece. Ryan had a pair of solo stops and the forced fumble on Saturday.
Carter paced the Lakers with 177 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries with the addition of the touchdown pass. Williams completed 16 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns with his favorite target being Bean. He reeled in 6 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown followed by Keizer with five receptions for 63 yards and two scores. The Lakers had 420 yards of total offense with 231 on the ground and 189 through the air.
On defense, Garrett Pougnet had 10 tackles followed with Collin Schlosser with nine tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and two quarterback hurries.
The Huskies will look to get back on track next weekend when they travel to Saginaw Valley State for their second GLIAC contest of the season. The kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.
"Saginaw Valley State will be another tough opponent," Olson said. "We'll get our film work in, work hard in practice, turn the page, and get ready to go play Saginaw."