HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech football team wrapped up the 2017 season on Saturday at Sherman Field, falling to 11th ranked Ferris State 49-7 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest. The game was tied 7-7 through one quarter, but the Bulldogs took off in the second quarter and never looked back from there.
"Ferris State did a really good job," Michigan Tech Head Coach Steve Olson said. "They did what we wanted to be able to do and that was stop the run and run the ball effectively on offense. They were able to shut down our run game and were able to run which setup some big plays in the play action passing game. It was a close hard fought game in the first half and then in the second half we gave them some short fields and they took advantage. We'll have meetings on Monday and wrap up some things there, and we'll start to set the tone for what we'll do as we move forward to get ready for 2018."
Michigan Tech honored the 2017 Seniors prior to Saturday's kickoff. Hilding Beaudoin, Cayman Berg-Morales, Jake Brown, Derek Cingel, Antwon Curtis, Derrick Diver, David Falish, Adam Francis, Josef Iwanicki, Sam Kitts, Spencer Moran, Carl Pietila, Mitchell Ryan, Luke Schulz, Alex Sherbinow, Cory Williams, and John Williams. This group of seniors went unbeaten against Northern Michigan and helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA Playoffs in 2014.
Both offenses were a little sluggish out of the gate on Saturday on a cold and snowy day at Sherman Field. Ferris State (9-1, 8-1 GLIAC) and Michigan Tech (4-7, 3-6 GLIAC) both went three and out on their first possessions of the contest.
With 8:31 on the first quarter clock, the Bulldogs took over at their 20-yard line following a Tech punt and eventually went 80-yards for the first touchdown of the game. Quarterback Travis Russell found Robert Thomas on a pass completion for nine yards to pick up a first down on third and eight, which set the ball at the Tech nine. Russell then took off on the ground for a nine yard-touchdown run to make it a 7-0 score with 3:10 to play in the quarter.
It didn't take the Huskies long to respond thanks to a six play 65-yard scoring drive following the ensuing kickoff. Junior running back James Henderson picked up a quick nine yards on first down and then freshman quarterback Garrett Young found junior wide receiver Kevin Kirkland on a 50-yard pass play, setting the Huskies up at the Ferris State six. On fourth and goal from the one, Young was able to sneak across the goal line to knot the score at 7-7 with 42 seconds left in the quarter.
Unfortunately, it would be the only time the Huskies would make it to the end zone the rest of the afternoon. The Bulldogs grabbed the lead back in the early moments of the second quarter on a touchdown pass of eight yards from Russell to Davontae Harrington with 12:09 to go in the first half.
Both teams then turned it over on each of the next two possessions with Ferris State getting an interception followed by Tech's defense forcing a fumble when sophomore defensive back Glacier Wallington took it away from wide receiver Keyondre Craig inside the Huskies' 20-yard line.
Ferris State eventually found the end zone again when Russell fired a 19-yard touchdown strike to Lindrell Mitchell. Wyatt Ford's extra point was good to make it a 21-7 score with 4:22 remaining in the first half. Sophomore linebacker Marvin Wright kept the Bulldogs from adding more points when he intercepted a Russell pass at the two-yard line. It was Wright's third interception of the season.
Leading 21-7 at the outset of the third quarter, Ferris State posted two touchdowns in each of the final two quarters. Russell tossed two more touchdown passes in the third followed by backup quarterback Bret Mooney linking up with Jevon Shaw twice for touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Young completed six passes for 82 yards and recorded his first career rushing touchdown to guide the Tech offense. Senior running back John Williams had 13 carries for 24 yards while Kirkland led the receivers with two catches for 55 yards. The Bulldogs' defense limited the Huskies' offense to 145 total yards Saturday.
Defensively, Wright had a season high 15 tackles, including two for a loss to go along with his third interception of the season. Wright wraps up the year as the Huskies leading tackler with 102 total stops. Senior defensive back Spencer Moran and sophomore defensive back Travis Tidwell each chipped in 10 tackles apiece on Saturday afternoon. Senior defensive lineman Hilding Beaudoin recorded five tackles and had a sack for Tech.
Russell completed 15 of 24 passes for four touchdowns and added another with his feet to power the Ferris State offense on Saturday. Harrington and Shaw each caught two touchdowns while Walker hauled in three receptions for 71 yards and one score. Robert Thomas was the leading rusher with 65 yards on 11 carries. Nine different players had carries for the Bulldogs offense which recorded 494 total yards in the contest.
Linebacker Nick Huckabay had 10 total tackles followed by Zach Sieler with eight tackles, a sack, and two tackles for a loss. KC Zenner picked up four tackles and intercepted a pass on Saturday.
Michigan Tech will now head into the offseason and begin preparations for the 2018 season.