October 26, 2013

Ferris Edges Tech 30-27 in GLIAC Football

HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech football couldn't hold off a second half Ferris State surge in a 30-27 loss to the Bulldogs at Sherman Field today. The Huskies held a 27-10 lead midway through the third quarter before FSU scored 20 consecutive points to close the contest.

The game's key sequence came in the fourth quarter. Ferris quarterback Jason Vander Laan threw a 15-yard touchdown pass with 11:40 showing on the clock to put the visitors ahead for the first time, 30-27.

Tech was forced to punt on its ensuing drive, but got the ball right back on a fumble at the Bulldogs' 20-yard line. Three plays later, the Huskies faced a fourth-and-one at the 11 and went for it. Quarterback Tyler Scarlett rolled right and threw into the endzone incomplete, just missing his intended receiver who had fallen down as the ball was in flight.

FSU took over on downs with 7:10 left. Tech never got the ball back. The Bulldogs ran 15 plays including a back-breaking fourth-and-one conversion with 1:25 to play to ice the comeback victory.

"We always want to play to win," said head coach Tom Kearly. "We talked about trying the field goal attempt to tie the score, but they'd still get the ball back with lots of time. We thought we could get a yard, and if we couldn't we'd be able to get the ball back again in seven minutes.

"Credit Ferris. They're tough between the tackles, and if you look at their stats, nobody's really able to stop them from running."

The Huskies held the Bulldogs eight points and 60 yards below their season averages. Still, Ferris compiled 431 yards of total offense with 300 on the ground. Tech totaled 306 yards of offense with 158 rushing and 148 passing.

The Black and Gold played a superb opening half. Charlie Leffingwell finished off a 78-yard opening drive with an 18-yard run for a 7-0 lead. After a defensive stop, Jordan McConnell hauled in a seven-yard touchdown strike from Scarlett for a 14-0 advantage.

Ferris State answered with 10 straight points to make it 14-10 before two Scarlett touchdown runs—one before half and one after—made it a 27-10 margin.

The Bulldogs scored twice in the third quarter. The second was on a short field after an interception and pulled them within 27-23.

The game-winning points came with 11:40 remaining on a Vander Laan pass for the final margin of 30-27.

Vander Laan, the 6-4, 236-pound quarterback, accounted for 218 yards with his feet and another 131 with his arm.

Leffingwell posted 111 yards on the ground. Scarlett completed 13-of-23 passes for 116 yards with a touchdown pass and two TD runs.

Taylor Ziolkowski had a strong defensive performance for Tech with a game-high 12 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Fellow linebacker Dan Perrault also tied for game-high honors in tackles with a dozen.

Michigan Tech fell to 4-3 with the loss and has GLIAC North-leading Saginaw Valley State coming to Sherman Field next Saturday (Nov. 2). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.