Tech comes up short vs. Northwood 29-24

MIDLAND, Mich. — The Michigan Tech football team saw a two-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday, losing 29-24 to the Northwood Timberwolves at Northwood.

The Huskies overcame a 14-0 first half deficit to take the lead 24-23 with 8:35 to go in the fourth quarter. However, the Timberwolves would score on their final drive with 1:17 showing on the clock to get the win.

“When we take a look at the film we are going to see opportunities that were there to win the football game,” Michigan Tech head coach Steve Olson said. “We had a tough start to the third quarter, giving up the safety and then the touchdown. We needed to do a better job there, especially coming out to start the half. We have to bounce back this week and get ourselves ready for Ashland. We have great kids who are hard workers and they’ll figure it out this week and be ready to play against Ashland next weekend.”

Saturday’s game followed a similar script to last week with Northwood (3-3, 1-3 GLIAC) jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first half. The Timberwolves were able to stop the Michigan Tech (3-3, 2-2 GLIAC) offense on the opening possession of the game and then go 62 yards on seven plays for the first touchdown of the day with 10 minutes, 34 seconds on the first-quarter clock. Dominick Giovinazzo carried the ball in from 17-yards out to put Northwood in front.

The score remained at 7-0 until early in the second quarter when Northwood found the end zone again. The Timberwolves started the scoring drive at their 13-yard line and went down the field, using a 22-yard pass by Joe Garbarino, a 31-yard run by Andrew Carter, followed by a 15-yard run courtesy of TJ Schepperly. Carter capped the drive with a touchdown from four yards out to make it a 14-0 game with 11:23 left on the second quarter clock.

Needing to answer, the Huskies were able to do just that on the ensuing drive. The Tech offense engineered an 11-play 68-yard drive to cut the deficit in half on a 1-yard touchdown run by fullback Alex Sherbinow with 6:54 to go in the half.

Tech quarterback Jake Brown would find sophomore wide receiver Ben Hartley open on a pass for 18 yards followed by a pass interference penalty against the Timberwolves. Henderson added runs of 7 and 12 yards on the ground to put the ball at the four. With seven seconds on the clock and a third-and-goal at the four, Hartley capped the drive when he hauled in a touchdown pass from Brown right before time expired. The score enabled the Huskies to go into the locker tied 14-14 with Northwood.

Unfortunately, the game wouldn’t stay tied for long as a safety by the Northwood defense with 11:44 left in the third made it a 16-14 score.

Vashon Nutt returned the ensuing free kick 64 yards to the Tech 19-yard line and eventually Andre Carter got into the end zone on a three-yard touchdown run. Suddenly, the Huskies found themselves down 23-14 with 9:09 left in the third quarter.

Just like earlier in the game when faced with a two score deficit, the Huskies answered the bell again on their very next drive by marching the ball into the red zone against Northwood. The drive stalled on a third and goal, but the Huskies were able to come away with three-points and make it a one-possession contest again. Sophomore kicker Evan Gornick connected on his fourth field goal of the season from 29-yards out to make it a 23-17 score with 3:07 to play in the third.

Brown hit junior wide receiver Kevin Kirkland on a 12-yard pass play followed by a Williams rush of 12-yards. Tech picked up 15 more yards on a pass interference penalty which generated a first and goal at the Northwood 8 yard-line. The Huskies lost 3 on the first two places and were left facing a third-and-goal from the 11. The Tech offense was able to beat a Northwood blitz when Brown fired a pass over the middle that was pulled in by Wenzlick for the touchdown. The extra point by Gornick gave the Huskies a 24-23 edge with 8:35 to play.

Northwood’s defense then rose to the challenge by forcing the Huskies to punt after three plays. The Timberwolves took over at their 20-yard line to begin what would be the game winning drive. Facing a third down and 10 from the 30, Garbarino made the play of the game for the Northwood offense.

He scrambled back to his 20-yard line and just before being sacked, lobbed the ball down field to Justin Cook who caught the ball for 19-yards and a first down. From there, Northwood drove the ball down to the two where running back Cory Burdick dove across the goal line for the touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt failed leaving 1:17 on the clock and the Huskies down 29-24.

The Huskies got the ball back at their 25-yard line and pushed it forward to the 36 on an 11-yard scramble by Brown. However, on the next play, Brown’s pass was deflected up in the air at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Chase Harrington to seal the win for Northwood.

Brown finished the day completing 10 passes for 113 yards with two touchdowns on the afternoon. Williams paced the running attack with 107 yards on 24 carries followed by Henderson with a season best 62-yards on 11 touches for a 5.6 yards per carry average. Kirkland had three receptions for 36-yards while Ferguson, Wenzlick, and Hartley reeled in two catches apiece for 24, 22, and 22 yards respectively. Wenzlick and Harley each had their second touchdown receptions of the 2017 season.

As a team, the Huskies generated 323 yards of total offense with 210 of those coming on the ground. They converted 22 first downs and were 9 of 16 on third down conversions.

The Huskies will look to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to 18th-ranked Ashland University. Ashland defeated Northern Michigan 38-13.