HOUGHTON - Despite working through a few first-game kinks, Michigan Tech controlled all facets of Saturday's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference football contest against Tiffin, soundly defeating the Dragons 51-15 in front of 2,560 fans on a brisk autumn day at Sherman Field.
Seven different Huskies found the end zone, and Tech scored in just about every way, on offense, defense and special teams: a 79-yard pass, a 1-yard run, a punt return, a fumble return and a field goal.
"Any time you win big you feel pleased," Tech coach Tom Kearly said. "The nice thing is there's some stuff wrong that we didn't do real well, but it's a lot easier to fix something after a big win than it is after you lost a ballgame."
Michigan Tech senior running back Cedrick Barber fights through a tackle attempt by Tiffin’s Bryon McCorkle (32) in Saturday’s 51-15 Tech win at Sherman Field. Barber, who got the start at tailback, was one of four Huskies rushers with more than 30 yards on the ground. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
Tech's inexperienced defense surrendered 269 yards of offense and two long passing touchdowns to Tiffin's spread offense, but those occasional struggles came long after Tech had control of the game.
The Huskies broke open a 24-0 lead just 17:40 in, including a 79-yard touchdown from sophomore quarterback Tyler Scarlett to senior wide receiver Matt Curtain on Tech's second play from scrimmage.
"That was real nice to start the game like that. It got everyone pumped up - the fans, everybody - and as an opposing team that hurts you," Scarlett said. "The whole team came out right from the start and played well."
Tiffin 0 7 0 8 - 15
Tech 14 10 21 6 - 51
MT Matt Curtin 79-yard pass from Tyler Scarlett (Garrett Mead kick), 11:13
MT Alex Elsenheimer 28-yard punt return (Mead kick), 7:29
MT Mead 22-yard field goal, 14:13
MT Cole Welch 1-yard run (Mead kick), 12:20
TF Jeremy Armstrong 42-yard pass from James Capello (Seth Pekoe kick), 5:37
MT Cedrick Barber 10-yard run (Mead kick), 12:09
MT Bryan LaChapelle 12-yard pass from Scarlett (Mead kick), 6:14
MT Akeem Cason 6-yard run (Mead kick), 0:59
TF Bertram Marks 20-yard pass from Capello (Jeremy Ortiz run), 12:59
MT Paul Kuoppala 32-yard fumble return (Matt Bautch kick failed), 5:21
FIRST DOWNS 13 21
RUSHES-YARDS 26-7 47-218
PASSING YDS 276 262
Passes A-C-I 40-25-0 24-15-0
OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS 66-269 71-494
Punt Returns-Yards 1-10 3-68
Kickoff Returns-Yards 7-123 2-40
Interception Returns-Yards 0-0 0-0
Punts (Number-Yds) 10-385 5-208
Fumbles-Lost 3-3 0-0
Penalties-Yards 1-11 4-35
Possession Time 28:32 31:28
Third-Down Conversions 4-17 5-13
Fourth-Down Conversions 1-1 1-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards 1-7 7-32
RUSHING: Tiffin - Dominique White 7-18; Tyler Jones 1-6; Jeremy Ortiz 1-4; James Hall 6-3; James Capello 10-(-22). Michigan Tech - Charlie Leffingwell 13-81; Josh Hauswirth 10-55; Cedrick Barber 12-37, 1 TD; Akeem Cason 5-36, 1 TD; Ethan Shaver 2-9; Cole Welch 3-5, 1 TD; Tyler Scarlett 2-(-5).
PASSING: Tiffin - James Capello 25-40-2-262. Michigan Tech - Tyler Scarlett 15-23-2-276; Ray Wojtala 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Tiffin - Jeremy Armstrong 4-83, 1 TD; Obadiah Dykes 7-54; Marcus Beaurem 5-50; Bertram Marks 3-43, 1 TD; Ortiz 1-14; Pedro Correa 2-13; Mark Rogers 1-4; Colin Boone 1-1; James Hall 1-0. Michigan Tech - Matt Curtain 2-105, 1 TD; Alex Elsenheimer 4-67; Ethan Shaver 4-59; Bryan LaChapelle 4-37, 1 TD; Barber 1-8.
FUMBLES: Grand Valley - Capello 2-2; Ortiz 1-1. Michigan Tech - None.
Special teams made its impact felt when Alex Elsenheimer returned a short one-hop punt 28 yards to the end zone halfway through the first quarter.
"There was great blocking, so I saw my seam and I took it. It wasn't that long of a punt return, but a touchdown is a touchdown," said Elsenheimer, who was one of three Tech receivers with four catches in the game as well.
Garrett Mead kicked through a 22-yard field goal and Cole Welch tacked on a goal-line plunge to make the score 24-0 before Tiffin finally put a scoring drive together. Jeremy Armstrong caught a 42-yard pass from Dragon quarterback James Capello.
Tech all but clinched the win in the third quarter.
Cedrick Barber, one of four Huskies running backs with more than 30 rushing yards, added a 10-yard touchdown not even three minutes into the second half. Tight end Bryan LaChapelle added a beautiful 12-yard touchdown catch in the back right corner of the end zone six minutes later. Not even six minutes after that senior tailback Akeem Cason tallied a 6-yard touchdown run.
"I don't know if I've ever played four tailbacks in one game and they all ran well," Kearly said.
Tiffin's Bertram Marks caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Capello 2:01 into the fourth quarter, but Tech's defense had the last laugh against the Dragons' depleted offensive line (three linemen went out injured during the game).
Linebacker Dan Perrault, a L'Anse native who led the Huskies with nine tackles, forced a fumble while sacking Capello, and freshman linebacker Paul Kuoppala (Iron Mountain) returned it 32 yards to the end zone.
"We've got a lot of young talented guys in our linebacking crew this year. A lot of us are stepping up and playing good football," Perrault said. "We have great coaches, a great gameplan together for this week and we played them to a 'T,' kept our assignments and everything went well and went as planned. It was awesome."
The Huskies (1-0, 1-0 GLIAC) will make their only road trip of the month and longest trip of the season this Saturday when they visit GLIAC newcomer Walsh (1-1, 0-1 GLIAC).