Official GLIAC Release
(Video) 2018 MTU Football Season Preview
HOUGHTON, Mich. – The 2018 Michigan Tech football season is just around the corner with players getting ready to report for fall camp in just a matter of days. Steve Olson is set to embark on his second season as the Huskies' head coach when the ball is placed on the tee August 30th.
GLIAC Preseason Poll:
Michigan Tech is picked to finish 8th (19 points) in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Poll, announced Tuesday 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 five points with 61. GVSU had six first place votes with Ferris State receiving two. Ashland checked in at No. 3 with 54 points and one first place vote. All three programs advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs last season.
Northwood, Saginaw Valley State, and Wayne State all tied for fourth with identical point totals of 35. Northern Michigan was slated seventh with 20 points followed by Tech and then Davenport at No. 9 with nine points.
The offensive line led by seniors Jeremy Bell (2017 2nd Team All-GLIAC), Seth Malcolm, and Aaron Curtiss will help anchor the Huskies' attack. Tech averaged 136.6 yards per game on the ground last year and rushed for 15 touchdowns. In the backfield, senior James Henderson will play a pivotal role in the ground game. Henderson had 112 carries for two touchdowns and in the passing game reeled in 12 receptions for 89 yards.
Junior wide receiver Jacob Wenzlick (2nd Team All-GLIAC) is back after emerging as one of Tech's top receivers and kick returners during the 2017 campaign. Wenzlick led the Huskies with 41 total receptions and 444 yards, averaging 10.8 yards per catch with a pair of touchdowns. He hauled in a 75-yard touchdown catch in Michigan Tech's win over Northern Michigan in the annual Miner's Cup game.
In the return game, Wenzlick brought back 17 kickoffs for 526 yards, including a 93-yard touchdown. He averaged 30.9 yards per kickoff return at Sherman Field against Wayne State. Wenzlick was also a weapon in the punt return game as well, with 15 total returns for 122 yards. Wenzlick was named the GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week in week one against Truman State when he racked up 124 return yards. Wenzlick ranked third in the GLIAC in combined return yards (648) which was 35th most nationally in NCAA Division II.
Other key receivers who are back this season include senior Kevin Kirkland and junior Ben Hartley. Kirkland averaged a team best 19.2 yards per catch while hauling in two touchdown receptions. Hartley powered the Huskies with three touchdown catches in 2017.
The defensive line should be a strong point for the Huskies in 2018. Senior Cody Goldsworthy averaged 4.2 tackles per game, led the Huskies in sacks (3), and was second in tackles for a loss (9.5) in 2017. His tackles for a loss totals cost opposing offenses 48 yards and his three sacks resulted in a loss of 27 yards. Goldsworthy also recovered a fumble which setup a touchdown in Tech's win over Davenport. His tackle totals of 46 were a single season career high as well as his 9.5 tackles for a loss.
Goldsworthy will enter his senior season in 2018 with 106 career tackles, 7.5 sacks, and 18.5 tackles for a loss. Goldsworthy was named to the All-GLIAC 2nd Team and was selected as the Defensive Lineman of the Year when Tech football announced the end of the year team awards. He also was a Don Hansen All-Super Region Three 3rd Team honoree.
Garrett Ross racked up 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 8.5 tackles for a loss in 2017. He ranked third on the team in tackles for a loss and second on the Huskies in the sacks category.
At linebacker, junior Marvin Wright paced the 2017 Huskies' defense in tackles for the second consecutive season with 102.0. He also produced two sacks, had a team high 11 tackles for a loss, and three interceptions. He also had one of Tech's six blocked kicks last year on special teams. Wright ranked third in the GLIAC in total tackles per game 9.3 and 32nd in NCAA Division II. Through two seasons as a Husky, Wright has piled up 198.0 total tackles and four interceptions. Wright was a 2017 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honoree.
In the secondary, junior Travis Tidwell was third on the team a year ago in total tackles with 79 leading to a 7.2 tackles per game average. He recorded four tackles for a loss and led the Huskies with eight pass breakups. Tidwell has 141.0 career tackles with four interceptions and 20 pass breakups entering his junior season in 2018. Tidwell was a GLIAC Honorable Mention last year and was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 2016.
Senior Graham Hubbell produced 68 total tackles and was second on the team behind Tidwell with five pass breakups from the safety position in 2017. Hubbell played in all 11 contests and averaged 6.2 tackles each time he took the field.
The Huskies will play 10 contests which include two non-conference games with eight showdowns against Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opponents.
Tech's schedule will once again feature both non-conference games in the first two weeks of the season. The Huskies will kick off the 2018 campaign on the road at Truman State Thursday night August 30th beginning at 8 p.m. eastern time. The home opener for Tech is slated for the following week when the team entertains Hillsdale at Sherman Field starting at 1 p.m. The battle with the Chargers will be the first of five home games for the Huskies in 2018.
The other four home games for the Huskies this year will have Davenport (Sept. 15), Saginaw Valley State (Sept. 29), Wayne State (Oct. 13), and Northwood (Nov. 10) coming to Houghton. The annual Homecoming game is scheduled for week five against Saginaw Valley State with Hall of Fame Weekend set for week seven when Wayne State comes to town.
The 2018 GLIAC road schedule will take Michigan Tech to Grand Valley State (Sept. 22), Ferris State (Oct. 6), Ashland University (Oct. 20), and Northern Michigan University (Oct. 27). Eight of the ten opponents awaiting the Huskies had winning percentages near or over .500 a season ago.