Football Huskies Head to Ohio to Tackle Walsh
Saturday, September 15, 2012 • 12:00 p.m. (EDT)
Michigan Tech (1-0, 1-0 GLIAC) at Walsh (1-1, 0-1 GLIAC)
RUSHING DEFENSE RANKS SECOND NATIONALLY
After holding Tiffin to just seven rushing yards in a 51-15 win over the Dragons last Saturday (Sept. 8), Michigan Tech ranks second in NCAA Division II in rushing defense (behind Oauchita Baptist which held its week one opponent to minus-21 yards). The Huskies' school record for fewest rushing yards allowed is minus-32 vs. Northland in 1955.
RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE
Charlie Leffingwell paced Tech with 81 yards on 13 carries in last week's win. The sophomore was one of four running backs used by the Huskies. Starter Cedrick Barber carried 12 times for 37 yards and a touchdown. Akeem Cason (five car., 36 yds, TD) and Josh Hauswirth (10 car., 55 yds) were two other tailbacks who toted the ball. Add in at least two carries apiece for fullback Cole Welch, wide receiver Ethan Shaver and quarterback Tyler Scarlett, and Michigan Tech compiled 218 yards on the ground. The Huskies rank fifth in the GLIAC in rushing with their 218.0 yards per game average.
KUOPPALA POSTS FIRST FUMBLE RETURN TD SINCE 2002
Almost 10 years to the day after Chad Blake returned a fumble for a touchdown vs. Saginaw Valley State (Sept. 14, 2002), freshman linebacker Paul Kuoppala repeated the feat. The 6-2, 240-pound Kuoppala picked up a loose ball at the 32-yard line and raced to the endzone. Fellow linebacker Dan Perrault caused the fumble by sacking the Tiffin quarterback.
ELSENHEIMER RETURNS PUNT FOR TD
It wasn't his longest punt return of the day, but a 28-yard run back by Alex Elsenheimer in the first quarter vs. Tiffin was the only one to go for a touchdown. The 5-9 senior took a the ball on a bounce after it was punted from the endzone and found a seam to pay dirt. The play was Tech's first punt return TD since Bobby Slowik's vs. Ferris State at home on Oct. 6, 2007. Elsenheimer totaled 68 yards on three punt returns on the day including a 31-yard return in the third quarter. Incidentally, the last two players to return punts for touchdowns for Tech (Elsenheimer and Slowik) both wore jersey No. 20.
TECH NATIONALLY RANKED IN SEVERAL STAT CATEGORIES
After week one, Michigan Tech is ranked among the nation's top 10 in five different statistical categories: first in sacks (7.0 per game), second in rushing defense (7.0 yards allowed per game), sixth in tackles for loss (11.0 per game), eighth in scoring offense (51.0 points per game) and ninth in pass efficiency (186.6 rating). Individually, quarterback Tyler Scarlett ranks sixth nationally in pass efficiency with a 194.71 rating and Alex Elsenheimer ranks seventh in punt returns at 22.7 yards per return.
CURTIN THE NEW DEEP THREAT?
Wide receiver Matt Curtin proved his big play potential with a 79-yard touchdown reception on Tech's second play from scrimmage last week. The Huskies could use a deep threat after losing Steve Worthy to graduation following his team MVP season a year ago. Curtin, who entered his senior campaign with 73 career receptions for 774 yards and four touchdowns, added two catches for 105 yards last Saturday for his first career century game.
LINEBACKERS DO THE JOB
Tech's top three tacklers from last week were all linebackers and none of them were senior linebacker and captain Justin Armstrong (who played sparingly to recover from injury). Dan Perrault (nine tackles), Paul Kuoppala (seven) and Taylor Ziolkowski (seven) combined for 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.
Michigan Tech head coach Tom Kearly is in his seventh season as head coach and 13th overall with the Huskies program. The skipper owns a 38-26 record (.594 winning percentage) and has coached Tech to two of the eight eight-win seasons in school history. Kearly, a Hancock native and 1979 Winona State graduate, coached at Central Michigan for 19 seasons before returning to the Copper Country in 2000. He was the GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2010.
NEW GLIAC AND REGIONAL ALIGNMENTS
With the addition of Walsh and Malone as members of the GLIAC, the league has revised its divisional groupings from a year ago. Changes to the North Division are the loss of Indianapolis (to the Great Lakes Valley Conference) and the addition of Hillsdale and Wayne State (both in the South Division a year ago). The South Division will add Notre Dame College as an associate member for 2012. The GLIAC has moved from NCAA Super Region 3 to NCAA Super Region 4. Super Region 4 will include the GLIAC, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Lone Star Conference and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Still only six teams from each region will be selected to the NCAA Playoffs.
Michigan Tech has an all-time football record of 341-331-17 (.507 winning percentage) 90 seasons of intercollegiate football. The Huskies are 58-36 over the last 10 seasons (.617 winning percentage).
SERIES VS. WALSH
There are three new members to the GLIAC in football for 2012: Walsh, Malone and Notre Dame. All three are located in Ohio, and the Huskies have just Walsh on their schedule. Tech has never faced the Cavaliers.
Michigan Tech's team captains for the 2012 season are senior linebacker Justin Armstrong, senior defensive tackle Jake Clark, senior tight end Bryan LaChapelle and senior offensive lineman Chris Mullen.
Michigan Tech leaves the Upper Peninsula just once in its first six games of the 2012 season. That once is this Saturday at Walsh. Of the other five games in that stretch, four are at home and the other is at Northern Michigan … The Huskies improved to 13-2 in its last 15 GLIAC openers with a win over Tiffin last Saturday.
SUPERIOR PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Superior National Bank sponsors the Superior Player of the Game. Following each football game, a player is chosen. A list of the 2012 Superior Players of the Game is below.
Sept. 8 vs. Tiffin Dan Perrault (9 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble)