HOUGHTON - Michigan Tech's playoff hopes had faded after two straight losses, but 17 Huskies seniors had every reason to smile walking away from their final game at Sherman Field Saturday, a dominant 42-14 win over Hillsdale.
"I thought we played well, maybe as well as we've played top to bottom O(ffense), D(efense) and (special) teams all year," Tech coach Tom Kearly said. "We made very few mistakes. I thought we answered the bell offensively when we had to, we stopped them when we had to defensively - it seemed like we made the big plays when we had to."
Tech sophomore quarterback Tyler Scarlett threw for 247 yards and four touchdowns - three to senior tight end Bryan LaChapelle - resetting his own school records for passing yards (2,427) and touchdown passes (25) in a season.
Michigan Tech quarterback Tyler Scarlett throws a pass while under duress from Hillsdale’s Brett Pasche during the Huskies’ 42-14 win Saturday at Sherman Field. Scarlett reset his own school records for passing yards (2,427) and touchdown passes (25) in a season. (DMG photo by David Archambeau)
"We just came out and played loose and played good. I couldn't tell you what's different (from the last two weeks), but we just kept it rolling once we got it started," said LaChapelle, who caught five passes for 74 yards in the game.
"I'm going to miss it," he added after his last career home game. "That's all I could think walking up the hill is how bad I'm going to miss it."
Tech sophomore cornerback DeShawn Nelson intercepted two passes, the first in the end zone to end a third-quarter Charger possession and the second an 80-yard pick-six that capped off the scoring in the fourth quarter.
Hillsdale 7 7 0 0 - 14
Michigan Tech 14 14 7 7 - 42
MT - Bryan LaChapelle 9-yard pass from Tyler Scarlett (Garrett Mead kick), 13:05
HC John Haley 33-yard pass from Anthony Mifsud (Colin McGreevy kick), 10:20
MT LaChapelle 19-yard pass from Scarlett (Mead kick), 3:28
MT LaChapelle 5-yard pass from Scarlett (Mead kick), 7:54
HC Joe Glendening 2-yard run (McGreevy kick), 2:51
MT Cole Welch 1-yard run (Mead kick), 0:31
MT Pat Carroll 56-yard pass from Scarlett (Mead kick), 11:07
MT DeShawn Nelson 81-yard interception return (Mead kick), 14:01
FIRST DOWNS 15 20
RUSHES-YARDS 33-86 40-192
PASSING YDS 182 247
Passes A-C-I 25-13-3 24-18-1
PLAYS-YARDS 58-268 64-439
Punt Returns-Yards 1-34 1-9
Kickoff Ret.-Yards 6-101 3-67
Int. Returns-Yards 1-3 3-112
Punts (Number-Yds)4-32.5 2-36.5
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-20 5-48
Possession Time 27:43 32:17
3rd-Down Conversion3-12 9-14
4th-Down Conversions 2-5 1-1
Sacks by: No.yards 0-0 3-16
RUSHING: Hillsdale Joe Glendening 21-74, 1 TD; Anthony Mifsud 8-7; Lou Cangelosi 1-6; Sam Landry 2-0. Michigan Tech Charlie Leffingwell 18-63; Akeem Cason 6-62; Scarlett 6-47; Cedrick Barber 5-24.
PASSING: Hillsdale Mifsud 12-22-3-171, 1 TD. Michigan Tech Scarlett 18-24-1-247, 4 TD
RECEIVING: Hillsdale John Haley 3-59, 1 TD; Brett Miller 3-32; Andrew Mott 2-26; Evan Bach 2-21; Mike Carter 1-12; Glendening 1-9. Michigan Tech Bryan LaChapelle 5-74, 3 TD; Alex Elsenheimer 5-35; Pat Carroll 4-106, 1 TD; Ethan Shaver 4-32.
INTERCEPTIONS: Hillsdale Brett Pasche 1-3. Michigan Tech DeShawn Nelson 2-103, 1 TD; Taylor Ziolkowski 1-9.
"We played tough, had good coaching this week and guys wanted it, seniors wanted it, captains wanted it," said Nelson, who also led Tech with seven tackles in the game. "This is a big win for the team."
It took less than two minutes into the game for the Tech offense to heat up in the 30-degree temperatures, scoring on a 9-yard strike from Scarlett to LaChapelle, which was set up by a 62-yard run by senior Akeem Cason.
Hillsdale's John Haley caught a 33-yard touchdown pass to answer less than three minutes later, and it looked like it could be reminiscent of the 56-49 Tech loss at Ferris.
But unlike in that game, the Huskies defense stepped up and Taylor Ziolkowski hauled in the first of three Tech interceptions on the day, which ultimately led to LaChapelle's second TD reception, a 19-yarder this time.
LaChapelle's third of the day came only midway through the second quarter to give Tech a 21-7 lead, but Hillsdale running back Joe Glendening made it 21-14 with a 2-yard touchdown run five minutes later.
In the game, Glendening became the Chargers' all-time leading rusher, and he now has 4,561 career yards, but Tech was able to hold him to just 74 yards on the ground, including a long run of 9 yards.
"We just didn't let him have big plays," Kearly said. "He's a good back, and he had some fives, sevens, eights, nines, but he didn't pop one big and go to the house on us."
Tech fullback Cole Welch pounded a touchdown in from a yard out with 31 seconds left in the first half and the Huskies added a 56-yard TD catch by Pat Carroll and Nelson's interception return touchdown in the second half.
Perhaps more importantly in the final two quarters, Tech's defense held Hillsdale's potent offense scoreless thanks to a variety of timely stops. The Chargers only converted three of 12 third downs and two of five fourth downs, while Tech converted nine of 14 third downs and its only fourth-down attempt.
"It was just people being disciplined, doing what they needed to do and getting off the field when we needed to," said Tech senior linebacker Justin Armstrong, who had six tackles.
After ending its two-game season losing streak and three-game losing streak to Hillsdale (6-4, 6-3 GLIAC), Michigan Tech (6-3, 6-3 GLIAC) will wrap up its season next week at Wayne State (5-4, 5-4 GLIAC).