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PREVIEW: Huskies Host Northwood Saturday in Season Finale

PREVIEW: Huskies Host Northwood Saturday in Season Finale

Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)    Northwood Game Notes (PDF)
Sat., Nov. 10, 2018 • 12:00 p.m. (ET) • Sherman Field (3,200)
Michigan Tech (4-5, 2-5 GLIAC) vs Northwood (2-7, 2-5 GLIAC)
Radio Broadcast: WKMJ 93.5 FM (Josh Ylitalo)
Audio Webcast:
Live Stats:

Michigan Tech maintained possession of the Miner's Cup for the ninth consecutive season, defeating rival Northern Michigan 35-33 two Saturday's ago in the Superior Dome. The Huskies rallied from a 14-0 deficit to take a 35-21 lead in the second half. The Wildcats battled back to get within two, but Tech stopped the Northern Michigan offense on a two-point conversion with 49 seconds to play to seal the win. Tech prevailed with big plays in all three phases of the game, in what was a complete team victory with contributions from multiple players.

The Michigan Tech football program with honor the 2018 seniors prior to Saturday's kickoff against Northwood. Weston Butler, Austin Chmura, Aaron Curtiss, Doug Fabry, Cody Goldsworthy, James Henderson, Graham Hubbell, Tyler Jacqmain, Michael James, Emmanuel Kirkland, Kevin Kirkland, Nathan Kriger, Seth Malcolm, Cal McCarty, Andrew Rose, and Garrett Ross were undefeated against Northern Michigan and have been integral in the success of the program during the course of their careers.

3 FOR 1
It was all hands on deck for the Huskies, especially when it came to the passing game as three different players fired touchdown passes in the win at Northern Michigan. Wide receiver Ben Hartley produced the first of five touchdowns on a 36-yard strike to wide receiver Jacob Wenzlick with 3:42 left in the first quarter. Hartley has completed 3 of 4 passes this season for 186 yards, including a season long pass of 67 yards. He also powered the Huskies in receptions and yards in the win at NMU, reeling in a career high 12 receptions for 136 yards and one touchdown.

With time winding down in the second quarter, quarterback Kyle Wood connected with wide receiver Jordan Janssen on a five-yard touchdown pass to put the Huskies in front 28-21. It was Wood's first career touchdown pass and Janssen's third TD catch of the 2018 campaign. Quarterback Will Ark returned to the field in the third quarter and delivered a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hartley to create a 35-21 lead for the Huskies. It was a pivotal score with the Wildcats storming back with 13 fourth quarter points. Ark goes into the 2018 season finale against Northwood with 10 touchdown passes this season.

Tech's offense certainly made some big plays in the passing game, but the rushing attack was also on point in the Miner's Cup win. The Huskies found the end-zone twice on the ground as Ark scrambled in from three yards out in the second quarter followed by a four-yard run from running back Jared Smith in the second quarter. Ark leads the Huskies with four touchdown runs and Smith now has three on the year. Smith paced the Huskies with 153 yards on 25 carries while Tyrik Wicks had some key runs in the fourth quarter, adding up to 36 of Tech's 204 rushing yards on the day.

Michigan Tech's defense came up with some timely stops, including on the two-point conversion play that helped seal the win. Linebacker Marshael Ryan filled the running lane to stop NMU quarterback Isiah Wright from finding the end zone. Ryan had some help courtesy of defensive back Brand Oja to make sure Wright was stopped in his tracks. The Huskies defense also had two sacks and five tackles for a loss in the victory. On special teams, Wenzlick had a 45-yard kickoff return to setup the Hartley touchdown pass and defensive lineman Garrett Ross fielded an onside kick with 49 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. It was the first onside kick the special teams unit had faced in 2018.

Linebacker Marvin Wright and defensive back Graham Hubbell have emerged this season as two of the premier defenders in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Wright and Hubbell rank second and third in the conference with 9.6 and 8.4 tackles per game respectively. Hubbell led the Huskies against the Wildcats with 10 stops, which was preceded by a 12 tackle performance the week before at Ashland. Meanwhile, Wright has 86 total tackles this year and 284 for his career going into the final game of the year Saturday against Northwood. Wright is currently seventh in school history in career tackles with the final game this year and next season still to go. Nick Sturm, who played for the Huskies from 1995-99, is the all-time leader with 405 career tackles. Wright finished his sophomore year with 102 tackles and as a freshman in 2016 recorded 96 stops.

Northwood enters the final game of the year with an overall record of 2-7 and 2-5 in the GLIAC. The Timberwolves have dropped two in a row, falling at Wayne State 55-21 two weeks ago followed by a 31-10 setback at home against Saginaw Valley State last week. Northwood got off to a rough start in 2018, losing the first five games before notching a 27-24 win at Northern Michigan on October 6th. The Timberwolves other victory was a 30-22 triumph over Davenport the following week.

The Huskies will see an "Old School" style of offense on Saturday from the Timberwolves in the form of a double wing option attack. It's similar to the offenses currently employed by Georgia Tech and the Naval Academy at the Division I level. Playing solid assignment football on defense will be a necessity on Saturday to stop the Timberwolves. A total of 17 players have at least one carry for Northwood in 2018, led by Abdul Levy with a team high 349 yards on 78 carries. Quarterback Christian Martinez has 206 yards on 93 touches, boasting a team high three touchdowns. Martinez has completed 19 passes for 471 yards with four TD's and three interceptions.  His top target this season has been Gary Landless, who owns 15 receptions for 474 yards and three scores. The Timberwolves passing attack is based heavily in play-action.

On defense, the Timberwolves play a base 4-3 with four down linemen and three linebackers. Linebacker Travis Wiltjer has 62 total tackles, one sack, and 6.5 tackles for a loss to help pace the defense. In addition, he has forced a fumble and owns one pass breakup. In the secondary, Dimitri Abro is not far behind with 59 tackles on the season. Two of the stops have resulted in lost yardage, he has forced two fumbles, intercepted one pass, broken up seven passes, and blocked a kick on special teams. Northwood is giving up 37.7 points per game while scoring 17.6 points per contest.

Saturday's game will be the 45th overall meeting between the two programs with Northwood holding a slight two game edge at 23-21 following last year's 29-24 win in Midland. Michigan Tech had won six straight against the Timberwolves prior to falling in the last two contests. The Huskies most recent victory came on October 10th, 2015, the last time the game was played in Houghton, by a final score of 30-14. Tech quarterback Brandon Cowie completed 21 of 30 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. John Williams had 99 rushing yards followed by Kevin Miller with 88 yards, helping guide Tech to 439 yards of total offense in the win. With the game tied 7-7 through one quarter, the Huskies pulled away in the second with 17 unanswered points. Four of the last five games in the series have been in Midland.

The Huskies continue to lead the GLIAC in blocked punts with three, ranking fifth in NCAA Division II. Tech is also the least penalized team in the conference in terms of yards per game (30.78) and tops in NCAA Division II. Through nine games, senior wide receiver Jacob Wenzlick continues to pace the GLIAC and is fourth in all of NCAA Division II in all-purpose yards per game at 186.22. He is also third in the conference in total receiving yards (824), second in receiving yards per game (91.6, 21st nationally), and in receptions per game (5.3). Sophomore quarterback Will Ark is fourth in the conference in passing yards (1,604), passing yards per game (178.2), completions per game (14.33) and fifth in passing touchdowns (10). Junior linebacker Marvin Wright is fifth in the GLIAC in tackles for a loss per game (1.3) and second in tackles per game average (9.6).

Single VIP tickets are available for the 2018 season finale Saturday at Sherman Field against Northwood beginning at 12 p.m.. Tickets are $30 apiece and includes food and beverages provided by Michigan Tech Dining Services. Questions about VIP tickets can be directed to Gary Kruzich, Tech's Director of Athletic Partnerships and Ticket Sales, at 906-487-1604. Tickets may be purchased online at or by phone at 906-487-2073.

The Michigan Tech Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) will be collecting new or gently used hats, mittens, and other winter apparel for donation to the Salvation Army in Hancock at Saturday's game. SAAC will also be collecting these items at the November 30 hockey game against Bemidji State. In addition to these collection events, donation bins will be placed in the administration building by the elevators and at the SDC by the ticket office beginning November 12. These bins will be in these locations until December 14 to collect donations.

The Huskies named their four captains for the 2018 season at the end of August. This year's captains, selected by a team vote, are offensive lineman Jeremy Bell, defensive lineman Cody Goldsworthy, defensive back Graham Hubbell, and wide receiver Jacob Wenzlick.

Michigan Tech Head Coach Steve Olson will embark on his second season at the reigns of the program when the Huskies kick off their season Thursday night at Truman State. Olson guided Tech to a 4-7 overall record in 2017, which included the key win in the annual Miner's Cup game against Northern Michigan. This will be Olson's eighth overall season as a coach at Tech. He served as the defensive coordinator for three seasons prior to being named the head coach for the 2017 season.

Michigan Tech had a couple of new additions to the coaching staff for the 2018 campaign. Laurence Treadaway and Mitchell Ryan both join the staff as graduate assistants. Treadaway will be working primarily with the secondary and defensive backs. Treadaway graduated from Valparaiso University where he played defensive back from 2007-12. He was a Team Captain and named the team MVP during his senior season in 2012. Ryan will be working primarily with the wide receiver's under Offensive Coordinator Dan Mettlach. Ryan played defensive back at Tech for five seasons (2013-17) and helped lead the Huskies to the 2014 NCAA Division II Playoffs. Ryan was a Team Captain in 2017 and was the recipient of the 2017 Ted Kearly Award, which goes to a player who exhibits passion, pride, and integrity on and off the field. The remainder of the staff is back and in their same roles as 2017.