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Huskies Host #12 Grand Valley State in NCAA Division II Showcase Game

Huskies Host #12 Grand Valley State in NCAA Division II Showcase Game

Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)    Grand Valley State Game Notes (PDF)
Sat., Sept. 16, 2017 • 1:00 p.m. (ET) • Sherman Field (3,200)
Michigan Tech (1-1) vs. #12 Grand Valley State (1-1)
Video/TV: ESPN3 (Dave Armstrong, Rich Baldinger)
Radio Broadcast: WKMJ 93.5 FM (Josh Ylitalo, Brad Isaacson)
Audio Webcast:
Live Stats:

Michigan Tech will look to bounce back in the friendly confines of Sherman Field this week after a tough loss at Hillsdale. The Huskies carried a 27-10 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Chargers rallied with 21 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes to pull out the win on their home field.

Sophomore placekicker Evan Gornick is a perfect 3 for 3 in field goal attempts to start the 2017 season. He has connected on kicks from 25, 27, and 34 yards, including two last week at Hillsdale in the second half. He also has not missed an extra point. Through two weeks, Gornick ranks third in the GLIAC and 11th in NCAA Division II in field goals per game (1.5).

Junior wide receiver Kevin Kirkland had a breakout game for the Huskies last week at Hillsdale. Kirkland reeled a career high four catches for 102 yards, including catches for 44 and 31 yards. Kirkland powers the receiveing corp with six receptions for 127 yards so far this season. He caught a touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Brown in the week one win against Truman State. Kirkland is averaging 63.5 receiving yards per game and 21.2 yards per catch.

Quarterback Jake Brown has been outstanding through his first two games under center for the Huskies. The junior signal caller has completed 28 of 41 pass attempts for 325 yards and one touchdown. His completion percentage is second best in the GLIAC and 15th in the national statistical rankings.

The Michigan Tech defense has created havoc in the backfield for opposing offienses through two games. The Huskies registered three sacks last week at Hillsdale with linebacker Marvin Wright picking up his second in as many games. Tech had nine tackles for a loss against the Chargers which amounted to a loss of 53 yards. Combined with eight TFL's against Truman State, the Huskies have 17 total tackles for a loss through two games. Tech is ranked second in the GLIAC in tackles for a loss and 30th in NCAA Division II. The Huskies are 18th nationally in total defense, allowing just 264.5 yards per game.

The Huskies return home this week to Sherman Field where they are 27-10 dating back to the 2010 season. Tech won a season opener for the eighth straight time with the 38-14 win over Truman State in week one. Four of those eight games were played at Sherman Field. Not only has Tech won eight straight season openers, they have won eight straight home openers. The last time Tech lost a home opener was on Sept. 19, 2009 against Northern Michigan.

Senior running back John Williams leads the GLIAC and is tied for the top spot in NCAA Division II with five rushing touchdowns through the first two games. Willams had two last week at Hillsdale after picking up a career high three against Truman State. He is also first in the GLIAC in total TD's (5) and second nationally.  Williams leads the GLIAC in rushing yards (265) and is 10th nationally. He is averaging 132.5 yards per game which is thrid best in the GLIAC and 15th best in NCAA Division II. Other statistical rankings of note inlcude sophomore kick returner Jacob Wenzlick. He is 2nd in the GLIAC and 5th nationally in kickoff return average (40.7). As a team, the Huskies lead the conference in fewest tackles for a loss allowed (3.0) and fewest sacks allowed per game (0.5).

Grand Valley State rebounded from a tough loss in week one with a 48-0 win in the home opener last Saturday against Davenport. The Lakers ran for 208 yards and passed for 215 yards on their way to 423 yards of total offense. Quarterback Bart Williams completed 17 of 25 passing attempts for 187 yards and two touchdowns while running back Marty Carter carried the ball 16 times for 106 yards a two scores. Wide receiver Brandon Bean hauled in eight receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown. Williams is averaging 245 yards per game with five TD passes while Bean already has 15 catches for 159 yards and two scores this year. Carter is averaging 81.5 yards per game on the ground with a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, a trio of players had six stops each, including Demetrius Farmer, Kyle Short, and Tyler Bradfield. Short along with Garrett Pougnet pace the Lakers with 11 total tackles while Tyler Bradfield anchors the defensive backfield with seven tackles and one interception.

Grand Valley State enters the game with a 25-4-0 record in the all-time series with Tech. The two teams did not meet last season and last played each other on October 10th, 2015 in Allendale. The Lakers prevailed that day 38-21. Tech's most recent triumph over GVSU was during the 2014 campaign. The Huskies won 35-14 at Sherman Field, striking for all 35 points in the first half. Running back Charlie Leffingwell carried the ball 23 times for 202 yrds and a touchdown for the Huskies that day. Quarterback Tyler Scarlett completed 15 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns. DeShawn Nelson had 11 tackles and an interception to power the defense which held the Lakers to just two second half scores.

Saturday's game is an NCAA Division II Football Showcase game that will be broadcast live on WatchESPN and the ESPN App. Dave Armstrong and Rich Baldinger will announce the game. The game will be accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices through the ESPN app. The network is currently available nationwide at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. It is also available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

Michigan Tech Athletics has teamed up with Keweenaw Chevrolet for the first of three exciting promotions this season.  Saturday, one lucky fan will have a chance to kick a field goal during halftime and win a $25,000 vehicle from Keweenaw Chevrolet. The fan must be 18 years or older and currently not playing high school or college football in order to participate in the contest.

Huskies' team captains for the 2017 season are defensive lineman Cayman Berg-Morales, running back John Williams, quarterback Jake Brown, and defensive back Mitchell Ryan.

Michigan Tech is picked to finish 6th (38 points) in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, announced at the beginning of August by the conference office. Grand Valley State and Ferris State are at the top of rankings at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. The Lakers edged the Bulldogs for the top spot by two points with 77 points. Ashland (#3, 67 points), Wayne State (#4, 54 points), and Saginaw Valley State (#5, 41 points) round out the top five in this year's poll.

New Head Coach Steve Olson takes the reigns of the program after serving as an assistant coach under Tom Kearly for six seasons, including the past three as defensive coordinator. Olson's defenses have been some of the best in the GLIAC year in and year out in multiple statistical categories.

The Michigan Tech coaching staff went through some transition during the offseason. Steve Olson was named the head coach after serving as the defensive coordinator during the 2016 campaign. Dan Mettlach returned to Tech to join the coaching staff after an outstanding career as a player. He was named the offensive coordinator after Eric Iueter joined the staff at the University of Florida. Former Husky running back Phil Milbrath returned to Tech as the new running back's coach earlier this month and Ken Klein returned as an assitant coach on the defenisve side of the ball. Bryan Thomas and Josh Wood were promoted to co-defensive coordinator roles. David Sartin continues in his role as offensive line coach with Tim Callahan assisting on the offesnive side of the ball while Michael Donnelly is an assistant coach for the defense.

The Huskies will be back on the road next week when they travel downstate to play GLIAC foe Saginaw Valley State. The Cardinals travel to Wayne State to open their GLIAC schedule this weekend.