HOUGHTON - The Michigan Tech football team made quick work of Tiffin and Walsh, who are now both 0-3, but the Huskies made it look just as easy Saturday against the potent offense of the previously 2-0 Findlay Oilers.
Tech dominated time of possession (38:12-21:48) and made big defensive plays when it counted to earn a 35-10 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference win on a blustery 47-degree day at Sherman Field.
"We beat a good football team today. That team is going to win a lot of ballgames. I really believe that," Tech coach Tom Kearly said.
Michigan Tech senior linebacker Greg Pedersen (38), and defensive linemen Nelson Wienke (behind Pedersen) and Justin Blake celebrate Pederson’s sack of Findlay quarterback Clay Belton in Saturday’s 35-10 Huskies win over the Oilers at Sherman Field. Tech held Belton to 20 completions on 48 attempts, while forcing two interceptions from the defending Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
"When you look at their total offense, they had some yards on us, but by and large we kept them out of the end zone, which was huge."
The Oilers put up 347 yards, including 219 passing yards from quarterback and defending GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week Clay Belton, but the Huskies (385 total yards) opened up a big first-half lead and held UF to 6 of 15 on third-down conversions (8 of 12 for Tech) and 1 of 6 on fourth down (2 of 2 for Tech).
Senior running back Cedrick Barber, one of four Huskies with 40-plus rushing yards, helped set the tone offensively for Tech, capping off two 10-play drives with rushing touchdowns of 3 and 4 yards, on either side of a Findlay 24-yard field goal. His second TD was set up by a 24-yard run by quarterback Tyler Scarlett on third-and-23 and a 29-yard catch by tight end Bryan LaChapelle on fourth-and-nine.
Findlay 3 0 7 0 - 10
Tech 7 14 7 7 - 35
MT Cedrick Barber 3-yard run (Garrett Mead kick), 6:46
UF Seth White 24-yard field goal, 0:48
MT Barber 4-yard run (Mead kick), 12:13
MT Cole Welch 1-yard run (Mead kick), 0:16
UF White 10-yard pass from Clay Belton (White kick), 11:23
MT Charlie Leffingwell 1-yard run (Mead kick), 3:34
MT Akeem Cason 19-yard run (Mead kick), 14:53
FIRST DOWNS 23 26
RUSHES-YARDS 26-128 56-228
PASSING YDS 219 157
Passes A-C-I 20-48-2 14-21-1
OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS 74-347 77-385
Punt Returns-Yards 1-3 1-19
Kickoff Returns-Yards 4-41 1-3
Interception Returns-Yards 1-18 2-45
Punts (Number-Yds) 1-49 3-91
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-1
Penalties-Yards 1-10 2-20
Possession Time 21:48 38:12
Third-Down Conversions 6-15 8-12
Fourth-Down Conversions 1-6 2-2
Sacks By: Number-Yards 0-0 1-17
RUSHING: Findlay Daiquone Ford 9-52; Monterae Williams 11-52; Clay Belton 6-24. Michigan Tech Charlie Leffingwell 21-83, 1 TD; Tyler Scarlett 8-64; Cedrick Barber 14-42, 2 TD; Akeem Cason 5-42, 1 TD; Cole Welch 4-5, 1 TD.
PASSING: Findlay Belton 20-48-1-219. Michigan Tech - Scarlett 14-21-1-157.
RECEIVING: Findlay Seth White 6-57, 1 TD; Harold Jones-Quartey 5-51; Jaryd Brown 3-40; Lloyd Henry 2-22; Ford 1-17; Nathan Morris 1-17; Williams 2-15. Michigan Tech Alex Elsenheimer 4-47; Bryan LaChapelle 3-43; Ethan Shaver 1-36; Matt Curtin 5-24; Pat Carroll 1-7.
INTERCEPTIONS: Findlay Josh Lee 1-18; Michigan Tech Jeremy Mims 1-8; Paul Kuoppala 1-37.
FUMBLES: Findlay- None. Michigan Tech Shaver 1-0; Leffingwell 1-0; Curtin 1-1.
"Whoever is hot, we'll feed," Barber said. "We know one guy can't carry the whole team on his back, so we spread it out. We want to make sure we have all three of us (running backs) going the rest of the season."
Barber's 42 yards were matched by Akeem Cason, who scored Tech's final touchdown, and sophomore back Charlie Leffingwell added 83 yards and a third-quarter touchdown of his own. Quarterback Tyler Scarlett, who completed 14 of 21 passes for 157 yards in the game, also ran for 64 yards in the game, bringing Tech's rushing total to 228 yards.
Fullback and short-yardage specialist Cole Welch also added a rushing touchdown for the Huskies, who made the score 21-3 heading into halftime.
But the game quickly got tighter in the second half.
"We goofed off on (the opening) kickoff and we were fortunate to get (the botched catch back), and then we drive it right down and we put it on the turf (with a fumble by wide receiver Matt Curtin). They drive down and score," Kearly said. "I thought that was key right after that when we answered."
After Seth White's 10-yard touchdown catch from Belton cut Tech's lead to 21-10, Leffingwell's 1-yard touchdown extended the lead back to 18 points, wrapping up a drive that took 16 plays, 70 yards, and, most importantly, 7:49 off the clock.
Shortly after Findlay's second turnover on downs, Cason scored a 19-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
From there, Findlay tallied 128 yards during three fourth-quarter drives, but each drive ended in a turnover on downs.
"Defensively we bent but we didn't break," said senior safety Emmett Bjorn, a Calumet native who led the Huskies with 10 tackles. "That was the key to our success today. We made some big plays when it counted (including interceptions by Jeremy Mims and Paul Kuoppala) and kept them out of the end zone except for one."
Tech (3-0, 3-0 GLIAC) answered the bell against two average teams in the first two weeks, and a good team on Saturday, but the Huskies will now face an even bigger test when they welcome No. 3 Grand Valley State (4-0, 3-0 GLIAC) to Houghton for the second night game in Sherman Field history at 6 p.m. this Saturday.