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PREVIEW: Huskies Entertain Northwood Saturday for Senior Day

Defensive Line celebration

Michigan Tech Game Notes (PDF)    Northwood Game Notes (PDF)
Sat., Nov. 16, 2019 • 1:00 p.m. (ET) • Sherman Field at Kearly Stadium (3,200)
Michigan Tech (4-5, 2-5 GLIAC) vs Northwood (1-9, 1-6 GLIAC)
Radio Broadcast: WKMJ 93.5 FM (Josh Ylitalo)
Audio Webcast:
Live Stats:

Michigan Tech suffered a tough loss at Wayne State 35-14 in the final Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference road game of the year last Saturday afternoon. The Huskies and Warriors were deadlocked at 7-7 through one quarter, but Wayne State went up 28-7 at halftime and stopped a late charge by the Huskies in the fourth quarter.

Freshman Steele Fortress completed 25 of 44 passes for 283 yards and one touchdown to help guide the Michigan Tech offense on Saturday. Sophomore William Marano recorded a team high 76 yards on seven carries leading to a 10.9 yards per carry average. Marano had one rushing touchdown and also caught two passes for 25 yards and another touchdown. Senior Jacob Wenzlick was the leading receiver on Saturday with six catches for 96 yards. As a team, the Huskies had 386 yards of total offense.

Sophomore Braxton Blackwell and senior Travis Tidwell each tallied seven total tackles to pace the defense. Blackwell had one tackle for a loss and one pass breakup while Tidwell collected 1.5 tackles for a loss. Sophomore linebacker Clayton Lynn had five solo tackles which included a sack and two tackles for a loss. As a team, the Huskies ended the day with one sack and nine tackles for lost yardage.

The Michigan Tech football program will honor the 2019 seniors prior to Saturday's kickoff against Northwood. Nels Anderson, Jeremy Bell, Michael Betz, Logan Brunette, Jimmie Cannon, Xavier Ciardo, Jeff Ford, Evan Gornick, Ben Hartley, Mattias Hoehnen, Max Maloney, Brandon Oja, Marshael Ryan, Travis Tidwell, Tyler Urban, Glacier Wallington, Jacob Wenzlick, and Garrett Young were undefeated against Northern Michigan and have been integral in the success of the program during the course of their careers.

The Huskies are nearing a single season team record going into the final game of the 2019 season. The record is sacks which stands at 30, compiled during the 2007 campaign. Tech currently owns 28 this year and has recorded at least one sack in eight of the nine games that are in the books so far. The Huskies have six team sacks in a game twice this year, accomplishing that feat in back to back weeks against Saginaw Valley State and Grand Valley State. The Huskies also had four sacks in each of the first two games at Hillsdale and McKendree. Tech is currently ranked second in the GLIAC in total sacks going into the final week of the season, one behind Ferris State who has a bye this week. Junior Nate LaJoie paces the Huskies and is second in the conference with 7.5 of those sacks.

The Michigan Tech offense has been very diversified with multiple players making contributions game in and game out as the 2019 season has moved along. In Saturday's game at Wayne State, the Huskies had four players with at least six rushing attempts and 10 players had one or more receptions in last weekend's game. Marano carried the ball seven times and had one touchdown while catching two passes with one of them resulting in another score. Four of the 10 receivers were either tailbacks or fullbacks on passes in the flats or on effective screen plays both to the middle and the outside of the formations. Four different wide receivers reeled in passes and tight end Lucas Marion grabbed three tosses his direction. Steele Fortress completed a season high 25 passes against the Warriors and made some good reads to distribute the ball effectively.

Northwood University enters the final game of the 2019 season with an overall record of 1-9 and 1-6 in the GLIAC. The Timberwolves have been involved in a number of close games so their record can be very deceiving. Northwood fell to Hillsdale in overtime 37-30 and narrowly lost to Ashland University 31-28. The Timberwolves notched their lone victory on November 2 at home against Northern Michigan 28-10. Northwood fell behind 10-7 early in the second quarter before scoring 21 unanswered points on the way to the win. The Timberwolves are averaging 19.9 points per game, but are surrendering 30.9 points per game to their opponents in 2019. The offense is pretty balanced as evidenced by a 136.3 yards rushing per game average and a 147.3 yards per game passing average.

Four different players have attempted passes this season for Northwood with Joe Garbarino leading the way with 76 completions on 146 attempts. He's thrown three touchdowns compared to 10 interceptions. Nate Gomez is listed as the starter on this week's depth chart and he has played in nine of the games this year. Gomez is 38 of 82 passing for 568 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The Timberwolves have three players with three or more rushing touchdowns this season, led by Jalen Lewis and Gomez with four apiece. Cashual Goldsmith averages 46.4 yards rushing per game and has found the end zone three times. Noah Koenigsknecht has a team high 23 receptions for 250 yards at the wide receiver position. Christian Martinez and Alex Spicuzzi guide the Timberwolves with two touchdown receptions apiece. Defensive back Dimitri Abro powers the defense with 113.0 total tackles, including one sack and five tackles for a loss. Erik Santiago has 71 stops with a team high two interceptions.

Saturday's game will be the 46th overall meeting between the two programs with Northwood holding a slight three game edge at 24-21 following last year's 26-23 win in Houghton. Michigan Tech had won six straight against the Timberwolves prior to falling in the last three contests. The Huskies most recent victory came on October 10th, 2015 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. Touchdowns were scored that day by Williams, Cowie, Eric Kostreva, and David Walter. Four of the last six games in the series have been in Midland.

In last year's game, the Huskies fell behind 20-10 late in the third quarter before battling back to regain the lead early in the fourth quarter. Kyle Wood fired a 24-yard touchdown pass to Ozzy Corp and then Glacier Wallington returned a Northwood fumble 29 yards for a touchdown to make it a 23-20 score with 14:09 to play in the game. Unfortunately, the Timberwolves got back into the end zone one more time when Gary Landless caught a 15-yard pass from Joe Garbarino with 2:19 to go, creating what would be the final score of 26-23.

The Huskies named their four captains for the 2019 season prior to the start of the regular season. This year's captains, selected by a team vote, are offensive lineman Jeremy Bell, defensive back Travis Tidwell, wide receiver Jacob Wenzlick, and linebacker Marshael Ryan. All four players are entering their senior year with the Huskies.

Michigan Tech is second in the GLIAC and is 16th in NCAA Division II in sacks (28), fourth in passing yards per game (205.7), is second in time of possession (31:50), second in fumble recoveries (7), second in fourth down conversions (15-29), sixth in punting (39.2), and first in punt return average (9.7). The Huskies are third in the GLIAC in fewest sacks allowed (14) and first in tackles for a loss allowed (43) (32nd NCAA II). Nate LaJoie is second in the conference (25th NCAA II) in total sacks with 7.5, LaJoie is second in tackles for a loss (12.0) (45th NCAA II), and Will Ark is first in the conference (14th NCAA II) in punting (41.7) and is fourth in the conference in passing yards per game (187.7).

Michigan Tech Head Coach Steve Olson is getting set to embark on his third season at the reigns of the program when the Huskies kickoff their season Saturday at Hillsdale. The Huskies went 4-6 in 2018, but retained the Miner's Cup for the ninth straight year with a 35-33 win at Northern Michigan. This will be Olson's ninth overall season as a coach at Tech. He served as the defensive coordinator for three seasons prior to being selected as the head coach for the 2017 season.

The Huskies welcomed Jace Daniels to the coaching staff as the new offensive line coach during the offseason. Daniels, a native of Escanaba, Michigan, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Huskies staff. Over the past two seasons at Northern Michigan, Daniels led an offensive line that created running lanes for Jake Mayon who earned Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Back of the Year honors in back-to-back seasons. Three of his offensive linemen garnered All-Conference accolades during his two seasons. Daniels helped coach a Northern Michigan offense that ranked second in the GLIAC during the 2018 campaign in rushing yards per game (241.8), yards per carry (5.0), rushing touchdowns (29), and first downs gained on the ground (146). The total offensive yardage for the Wildcats this past season was the third most in the GLIAC at 381.1 yards per game.