MARQUETTE, Mich. — For the second time this season, Garrett Mead was the hero. The senior kicker split the uprights on a 39-yard field goal as time expired to give Michigan Tech a 34-31 win at Northern Michigan. The Huskies keep the Miner's Cup for the fifth consecutive year.
NMU drove 50 yards in seven plays to tie the score with 1:47 remaining. Quarterback Shaye Brown hit Marcus Tucker in the back corner of the endzone to pull his squad within 31-29. The Wildcats then used a reverse pass to Brown as a receiver for the conversion to tie it.
Tyler Scarlett needed nine plays to get Mead into position for the game winner. Brandon Cowie's ninth catch of the game converted a third-and-10 to keep the drive alive. Mead hit his second 39-yarder of the game for the winner.
"This game had all the ebbs and flows," said coach Tom Kearly. "We're fortunate to get the win. I want to give a lot of credit to Northern Michigan. They played hard and played well.
"It's a great rivalry. The Miner's Cup is worth about 12 bucks, but it's priceless to have. We've got it for another year."
Tech held a comfortable first-half lead at 21-7 after receiving touchdowns from Andrew Clark and Cowie to go with Charlie Leffingwell's first rushing TD of the season.
NMU came back with a score just 13 seconds before halftime to climb within 21-14 at the break.
A muffed punt gave the Wildcats the ball at the Tech 11 early in the third quarter. It also put the momentum on the NMU sideline. The hosts scored on the next play, then took the lead 23-21 on a safety after Tech's center-to-punter snap went awry near the goal line.
The ensuing free kick saw Kollin Long make a critical open field tackle to keep NMU at their own 30. The Huskies' defense forced a three-and-out, and Tech marched 68 yards to reclaim the lead. Leffingwell had a brilliant 31-yard run to cap the drive, going the final 15 yards after contact.
Mead added to the lead with his first 39-yard field goal, leaving the score 31-23 with 11:34 to play.
NMU missed a 35-yard field goal on its next possession, but got the ball back with five minutes to go and scored to pull even.
Scarlett rushed four times and threw four times on the game-winning drive, the key play being a 23-yard completion to Cowie on third-and-10 at midfield.
"We were going to punt if we didn't hit that," said Kearly. "We didn't really have a choice.
"Garrett had a bad week last week, but I said we were going to stick with him. He's never lost us a game, and he's won us three or four. Now it's four or five."
Scarlett finished 22-of-34 for 302 yards and a touchdown. Cowie was the recipient of nine passes for 135 yards. Leffingwell gained 81 yards and two scores on 21 attempts.
Ben Tauchen paced the Black and Gold defense with eight tackles. DeShawn Nelson had his second interception in as many games in the third quarter.
Total offense showed a 458-to-307 advantage for Michigan Tech.
The Huskies, who remained undefeated at 4-0, now have a bye week on their schedule. Their next game is Oct. 11 at Northwood.
Notes: Michigan Tech now leads the all-time series with NMU 42-41-5 … The Huskies have won 10 of the 13 Miner's Cup games since its inception in 2002.