HOUGHTON, Mich. — A record 4,684 fans witnessed No. 22-ranked Michigan Tech score four consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull within eight points, but No. 3-ranked Grand Valley State held on for a 51-43 victory at Sherman Field tonight. The Huskies trailed 37-7 at half and 51-14 with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter before mounting their comeback.
Time simply ran out on the hosts. Tech took over possession of the ball from its own two-yard line with 12 seconds left, but without a timeout could not advance past its own 20 before the clock expired.
"We lost the game in the first half," said head coach Tom Kearly. "We didn't play very well, and when you put yourself in that kind of a hole it's not going to be good.
"I'm proud of our effort. We never gave up and played hard to the bitter end."
Grand Valley scored with 3:51 remaining in the third quarter to make the score 51-14. The momentum turned on the next play. Akeem Cason received the kickoff on the two-yard line, slipped at tackle at the 20 and sprinted to the endzone.
After a Lakers punt, Tech quarterback Tyler Scarlett took over from there. He guided the Huskies on a 60-yard drive capped by a 20-yard pass to Matt Curtin with 9:13 to play. That pulled the Black and Gold to within 51-27.
After GVSU fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, Scarlett found Curtin again—this time from 15 yards out. Scarlett rushed for the two-point conversion to make the score 51-35 with 8:34 to play.
Tech's defense forced a punt on Grand Valley's next drive, and Scarlett marched the offense 80 yards in 10 plays. Scarlett's fifth touchdown pass of the day went to Pat Carroll on a slant in the endzone with 2:45 remaining. The Huskies again went for two, and again converted as Scarlett found Curtin. That left the score 51-43.
The Huskies defense had the Lakers in a third-and-five situation on their own 34 with just under two minutes remaining. GVSU then made the play of the game, a 41-yard completion down to the MT 25. That forced Tech to use its remaining timeouts and bled the clock down under 20 seconds.
The Huskies blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt, but got the ball at their own two-yard line after a Tech player attempted to recover the loose ball.
Scarlett completed his last pass for 18 yards to Bryan LaChapelle, but was unable to stop the clock with a spike before time expired.
Tech's QB finished 29-of-50 for 441 yards five touchdowns—a remarkable day for Scarlett considering he started by completing just one of his first eight passes.
Curtin set a school record with four touchdown receptions. The senior had 11 catches overall for 190 yards.
One of the night's main storylines was Tech's inability to run the ball. GVSU held the Huskies to 34 yards on 22 attempts.
Grand Valley State scored the game's first 34 points thanks in large part to the play of wide receiver Charles Johnson, who caught three touchdown passes. Four of the Laker's five scoring drives were longer than 50 yards, and the visitors amassed 388 yards of offense in the opening 30 minutes.
GVSU QB Isiah Grimes completed 17-of-27 passes in the game for 411 yards and four scores. The visitors were also able to run for 225 yards on 47 attempts.
The crowd of 4,684 was the most to ever witness a Michigan Tech home athletic event. It surpassed the previous Sherman Field record crowd of 4,332 and the hockey record crowd of 4,619.
"Our team owes this community and university a big thank you," said Kearly. "Their support was tremendous and the atmosphere here tonight was electric."
Michigan Tech (3-1 overall and 3-1 in GLIAC play) will travel to Northern Michigan next Saturday (Oct. 6) for a 1 p.m. kickoff. The annual Miner's Cup game will be played at NMU's Superior Dome.