COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Michigan Tech football team faced its first road test of the season on Saturday and came away with a hard fought 17-10 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory at Ohio Dominican University. The Huskies had some big plays on offense and key stops defensively in the second half to secure the win.
"We played well enough to win and we made some big plays on offense, defense, and special teams," Michigan Tech Head Coach Tom Kearly said. "It was a well-executed game by both teams and there weren't a lot of possessions. Neither side turned the ball over and played well defensively. Ryan VanGoethem had a huge punt for us in the third quarter which we downed at their one-yard line. Our defense made the stop and we got the ball at their 30 and took it in for what would be the game winning score. In the fourth quarter, our defense made another crucial stop on fourth down inside our 15-yard line to get the ball back to our offense. We had some big runs on that final drive to move the chains and run out the clock to get a victory today."
The longest play of the drive was a 19-yard pass to senior wide receiver David Walter that set the ball at the Panther 30-yard line. A six yard run by Williams brought the ball to the two where junior fullback Alex Sherbinow powered the ball to the end zone for a 7-0 Tech lead.
Ohio Dominican came right back on their first possession of the afternoon, moving the ball in position for a 29-yard Justin Bonchek field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. The Huskies defense was on the field for 16 plays, but didn't break by halting the Panthers at the 12. Freshman defensive back Travis Tidwell broke up a potential touchdown pass by quarterback Grant Russell when he swatted the ball away from Cory Contini in the end zone.
The score remained unchanged until the second quarter when the Huskies extended the gap back to seven points at 10-3, courtesy of a Josh King 34-yard field goal. The drive covered 62 yards and chewed up 5:35 off the clock. A 22-yard pass from Cowie to junior wide receiver Ian Fischer followed by a 16-yard strike to Walter were key plays in the drive. A roughing the passer penalty called on the Panthers put the ball deep inside Ohio Dominican territory.
Unfortunately, the Huskies 10-3 halftime lead didn't last long into the third quarter. The Panthers countered quickly on the opening drive of the second half to knot the game at 10-10. Russell found wide receiver Jacob Mercier on a 22-yard pass completion down the sideline to cap the drive and with the extra point by Bonchek the score was deadlocked at 10-10.
Michigan Tech failed to score on the next possession, but moved the ball far enough to flip the field in terms of positioning. Senior punter Ryan VanGoethem turned in one of the biggest plays of the game when he pinned the Panthers on their own one-yard line with a 46-yard punt. Junior defensive back Derek Cingel kept the ball in play and downed the ball before it bounced into the end zone for a touchback.
The defense then forced the Panthers to punt which set the offense up in great field position at the ODU 30-yard line. Following a three yard run by senior tailback Kevin Miller and a seven-yard pass reception by Fischer, Cowie tossed what would be the game winning touchdown to Miller on a perfectly executed screen play from 19 yards out.
The Huskies would keep the Panthers off the board the rest of the afternoon. The Panthers best chance to tie or take the lead came late in the fourth quarter, but they were halted inside the Huskies 15-yard line. Facing a second and one at the MTU 10-yard line, Ohio Dominican running back Justin Davis was stopped for no-gain on back to back plays by the Huskies defense. Then on fourth down and one at the 10, Russell tried running to his left and was stopped behind the line of scrimmage by linebackers Marvin Wright and Spencer Moran to thwart the drive and put the ball back into the hands of the offense. Tech was then able to run out the clock and preserve the victory.
Williams led the ground attack for MTU, carrying the ball 18 times for 74 yards. He also hauled in two passes for 13 yards. Cowie was 18 of 24 through the air for 172 yards and one touchdown on the afternoon. Walter, Fischer, and junior wide receiver David Falish each caught four passes with Walter leading the way in yardage with 55 yards. Miller caught two passes for 20 yards and the touchdown.
As a team, the Huskies generated 301 total yards with 129 coming on the ground. They were also 3 for 3 in red zone scoring opportunities and possessed the ball for 32:17.
Wright had 11 tackles for the Tech defense followed by senior defensive back Nick Brajak, junior defensive lineman Hilding Beaudoin, sophomore defensive back Jaylyn Williams-Boone, and Moran with seven tackles apiece.
Russell powered the Ohio Dominican offense with 60 yards rushing on six carries and was 19 of 34 through the air for 163 yards and one touchdown. Dar Stanford caught five passes for 45 yards to lead the receiver corp. The Panthers generated 300 yards of total offense on the afternoon. Their defense was paced by Tre McIntyre who recorded 10 tackles in the contest.
The Huskies will be back on the field Saturday when they head to Hillsdale for another GLIAC contest which is slated for 4:30 p.m.