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Opener full of good omens/Inside the Huskies

September 11, 2012
By Stephen Anderson - DMG Sports Writer (sanderson@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

In hindsight, Michigan Tech's 51-15 football victory over Tiffin on Saturday should have been quite predictable. But, how the Huskies reached that outcome could not have been any more unpredictable.

The Dragons lost by an eerily similar 51.6-14.2 average score last year. They also gave up 489.3 yards per game in 2011, compared to Tech's 494 yards Saturday.

Of course it's a new season and those results ultimately boil down to a convenient statistical coincidence for journalists like myself, but it goes to show both teams are in a pretty similar place as last season.

And for the Huskies, who lost 10 regular defensive starters from last year's unit, it comes as a bit of a relief. Tech's defense will be hard pressed to limit Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference powerhouse teams to a pair of touchdowns, but there's only one way to improve an inexperienced defensive unit.

"The only way you get experience is to play," Tech coach Tom Kearly said before last Saturday's game. "You cross your fingers on the depth."

While the offensive line and defensive secondary still have depth concerns, which will "be a concern for quite some time," according to Kearly, Tech's depth was on full display at many other positions.

Four Huskies running backs - Charlie Leffingwell, Josh Hauswirth, Cedrick Barber, Akeem Cason - tallied at least 30 rushing yards. Four Huskies wide receivers - Matt Curtin, Alex Elsenheimer, Ethan Shaver, Bryan LaChapelle (a tight end) - tallied at least 30 receiving yards.

Four Huskies defenders - Dan Perrault, Paul Kuoppala, Taylor Ziolkowski, DeShawn Nelson - earned at least six tackles. Of course the best stat of all: Seven Huskies scored touchdowns in the game, five on offense, one on defense and one on special teams.

Have fun game planning for that this Saturday, Walsh.

Kearly said it may be the first time he's ever featured four running backs, and they all ran well. In the preseason he said he will feed the hot hand. For now, they all have a hot enough hand.

"None of them jumped (up the depth chart), and none of them have taken themselves out. They all have roles," Kearly said.

It's certainly a similar situation at wide receiver.

"We have five seniors and honestly, we didn't know who was going to start coming into the game," said Elsenheimer, who tallied a punt return touchdown in Saturday's win. " We've been cycling through pretty well. It's week to week."

Of course it certainly helped the Huskies to take some starters out in the third quarter and get even more inexperienced players some more experience.

"We got a lot of kids some repetitions, so a lot of young people saw some playing time, which I thought was key," Kearly said after Saturday's game.

Ultimately, Tech got just about everything it could have possibly wanted out of its opener: a win, player experience, tangible success in all three facets of the game and enough mistakes on film to prevent overconfidence.

Stephen Anderson can be reached at sanderson@mininggazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at @steander.

 
 

 

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