Football Falls to No. 23 SVSU 55-35
HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech stood toe-to-toe with No. 23-ranked Saginaw Valley State through 30 minutes, but the Cardinals outscored the Huskies 34-14 after intermission to earn a 55-35 victory at Sherman Field today. SVSU, the GLIAC North Division leaders, improved to 8-1 overall and 8-0 in league play while Tech fell to 4-4 (both overall and in league).
The third quarter proved to be the difference in the game. The visitors scored on all four of their drives in the period while the Black and Gold punted three times and threw an interception.
Jonathan Jennings rushed for two scores and passed for two more during a 34-0 Cardinals' run spanning halftime.
The game was marked by big shifts in momentum. SVSU scored on its first two drives to take a 14-0 advantage just 6:45 into the contest. Tech answered with a quick strike. Back-to-back completions from Tyler Scarlett to Jordan McConnell—a 47 yarder and a 20 yarder—put the Black and Gold in the endzone at the 1:23 mark of opening quarter.
Scarlett and McConnell hooked up for a five-yard pass in the second quarter to tie the score. The play capped a 94-yard drive that milked 7:47 off the clock.
After a Cardinal fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Scarlett put the Huskies on top 21-14. The Huskies' quarterback called his own number on a draw play from five yards out.
Saginaw Valley scored with 1:14 remaining in the half to pull back even at 21-all. Tech drove down to the Cardinals' 16-yard line in less than a minute before Garrett Mead missed a 33-yard field goal attempt. The score remained 21-all at the break.
Tech punted to start the second half, and Saginaw Valley went to work offensively with scores on five straight possessions to leave the score 48-21 with 8:31 to play.
The Huskies fought back with a 75-yard drive in 3:04 to pull within 48-28, then blocked a punt on the next possession and recovered in the endzone to draw within 48-35.
After recovering the on-side kick attempt by Tech, SVSU secured the victory with a 47-yard run from Jennings with 1:58 to play.
"We took a swing at them," said head coach Tom Kearly. "We outgained them in the first half and missed a field goal that would have given us the lead. But until they change the rules and make the game 30 minutes, you've got to play 60 and we didn't."
SVSU receiver Jeff Janis entered the game ranked second in the nation in receiving yard per game at 143.1. Tech held him to just three catches for 44 yards. The Cardinals went to the ground instead, amassing 316 yards rushing including 217 from Norman Shuford.
"They're a good football team and can beat you a lot of ways. We tried to play a lot of coverages against the pass, and they saw that, ran inside the tackles and pounded us pretty good."
Scarlett finished with 326 yards passing and three touchdowns on 27-of-43 attempts. McConnell was the recipient of eight of those for 122 yards and two scores.
Charlie Leffingwell was Tech's leading rusher with 50 yards on eight carries.
Brett Gervais led Tech's defense with a game-high 11 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
Michigan Tech will play its final road game of 2013 next Saturday (Nov. 9) at Hillsdale. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.