HOUGHTON - It didn't take overtime this time around, but the Michigan Tech football team suffered its second straight heartbreaking defeat Saturday. A week after the Huskies fell 44-41 in overtime to Saginaw Valley State, the Hillsdale Chargers poured salt on Tech's wounds with a 13-7 windy-weather win in front of 1,658 bundled-up fans at Sherman Field.
The Huskies fought not only a gritty Hillsdale squad, and steady 30-mile-per-hour winds, but also their own mistakes.
Tech lost two fumbles, threw one interception, had a punt blocked and had four offsides penalties that kept Hillsdale's offense on the field.
Michigan Tech’s Jesse Vandenberg sacks Hillsdale quarterback Anthony Mifsud during Saturday’s game at Sherman Field as Drew Vanderlin (99)?arrives on the scene. Tech lost 13-7. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
"Same as last week, we played hard, but we made too many mistakes to win a football game. ... I think they did a better job of controlling clock and staying on the field than we did," Huskies coach Tom Kearly said. "When you total it all up, one or two plays and you get beat by less than a touchdown."
The first half was particularly rough for Michigan Tech.
Hillsdale outgained the Huskies 200-43, holding Tech to just 12 yards rushing. Tech never had a drive longer than 25 yards or four minutes, and had four punts and a fumble to show for five first-half drives. Hillsdale more-than-doubled Tech's time of possession (20:25-9:35), which Kearly listed as a key coming into the game.
Hillsdale 0 6 7 0 - 13
Michigan Tech 0 0 0 7 - 7
HC - McGreevy 19-yard field goal, 13:0
HC - McGreevy 27-yard field goal, 9:06
HC - Glendening 1-yard run (McGreevy kick), 3:33
MT - Scarlett 2-yard run (Mead kick), 6:49
FIRST DOWNS 14 11
RUSHES-YARDS 49-211 31-69
PASSING YDS 83 98
Passes A-C-I 23-10-1 22-10-1
PLAYS-YARDS 72-294 53-167
Fumble Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Punt Returns-Yards 3-29 1-5
Kickoff Returns-Yards 1-15 3-39
Int. Returns-Yards 1-0 1-0
Punts (Number-Avg) 4-152 6-200
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 4-24 4-22
Possession Time 32:41 27:19
Third Down 9 of 19 5 of 14
Fourth Down 2 of 4 1 of 2
Red Zone 3-3 1-1
Sacks: Number-Yards 3-14 3-14
RUSHING: Hillsdale-Glendening 36-108, 1 TD; Anthony Mifsud 9-98; Brad Spencer 2-7. Michigan Tech-Leffingwell 9-34; Akeem Cason 11-21; Scarlett 8-11, 1 TD; Ethan Shaver 1-5; Cedrick Barber 2-(minus-2).
PASSING: Hillsdale-Mifsud 10-23-1-83. Michigan Tech-Scarlett 10-21-1-98.
RECEIVING: Hillsdale-Ben Bergquist 4-33; Nick Hixson 2-19; Glendening 2-1; Evan Bach 1-24; Evan Sassack 1-6. Michigan Tech-Worthy 4-56; Matt Curtin 3-37; Justin Springer 1-9; Barber 1-(minus-2) Leffingwell 1-(minus-2).
For all the offensive struggles, the Huskies' defense bent, but didn't break in the game's first 30 minutes. The Chargers turned the ball over on downs, settled for a Colin McGreevy 19-yard field goal after an 81-yard drive had them at 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, and were limited to a field goal again after taking over at Tech's 27 after Tech's first fumble.
Trailing just 6-0 at the half, Tech had its chances and made some adjustments at halftime, yet the Huskies still never got in the red zone through three quarters.
The Chargers extended the lead to 13-0 with 3:33 left in the third quarter. Hillsdale's Daniel Pittman blocked a Jordan Ledvina punt and Isaac Spence recovered it at Tech's 26-yard line. Six plays later, the nation's leading Division II scorer got on the board, as Joe Glendening scampered in on a fake-right, pitch-left 1-yard run.
Michigan Tech only managed 167 yards of offense in the game, but nearly half of it came on the first drive of the fourth quarter, when something suddenly clicked for the Huskies' offense.
Freshman running back Charlie Leffingwell ran seven times for 37 yards, freshman quarterback Tyler Scarlett completed three passes for 35 yards and Scarlett capped off a 15-play, 80-yard, 8:19-long drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Garrett Mead's extra point cut the lead to six.
With 5:18 left, Scarlett completed a 23-yard pass to Steve Worthy - who led Tech with four catches for 56 yards - but the Huskies stalled from there. After sacking Scarlett on 4th and 15, Hillsdale milked the remaining 2:44 off the clock for the win.
"That one hurts a lot. Defensively we did all we could. It's a frustrating loss, especially the way we lost, and at home, and by that score," said Huskies' senior linebacker Ian Coughlin, who led Tech with a season-high 15 tackles.
Michigan Tech's chance of making the playoffs is all but eliminated after the loss to Hillsdale, but the Huskies hope to finish the season strong, with four games remaining, three of which are on the road. Tech's lone home game will be Nov. 5 against Ferris State.
"There's maybe some things we lost (Saturday) that we can't get back, but the next four weeks will determine what kind of football team we are," Kearly said.