MTU falls late to Midwestern State
WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Midwestern State’s Melik Owens picked off Will Ark and took it 52-yards across the line to steal victory from Michigan Tech football 28-21 Saturday.
The Huskies led for 49 minutes but allowed the Mustangs to score 21 points in the fourth quarter as they fell to 1-2 in non-conference play.
The longest road trip in team history began well for Michigan Tech. The Huskies held the Mustangs to 13 yards passing in the first half, recovered a fumble, and staked a 14-7 lead. Hunter Beuchel recorded his first career interception nearing the end of the first quarter and Ark connected with Brandon Michalak for a 43-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play, 91-yard drive, which burned 6:15 off the clock.
Darius Willis hauled in an 11-yard touchdown reception on the Huskies’ next possession before Midwestern State quarterback Dillon Sterling-Cole answered with a 1-yard keeper. Michael Bates Jr. also nabbed an interception in the second quarter near midfield. MTU kicker Drew Wyble hit the right upright on a 43-yard field goal attempt at the half.
The Huskies made it a two-score game in the third quarter on a memorable run by Will Marano. Taking a handoff from Ark, Marano bounced out to his left, stutter-stepped, and evaded multiple defenders into the endzone for 11 yards.
Finding more success through the air in the second half, the Mustangs narrowed the score when Sterling-Cole found Terance Norman Jr. for a 35-yard score by the pilon in the right side of the endzone.
The Huskies worked the clock and stalled Midwestern State on their second turnover on downs, but were forced to punt with 3:35 to play in the fourth quarter, leaving the door open. Sterling-Cole zipped a pass up the middle seem between a pair of Tech safeties to Ja’Marzeyea Arvie tying the game 21-21 with 43 seconds remaining. Following a 60-yard kickoff return by Darius Willis, Ark tossed a pair of incomplete passes before Owens intercepted his next attempt and went untouched for the game winning score.
“I thought our guys came out tonight and we played extremely hard,” said head coach Steve Olson. “We got a 14-point lead and had some chances to extend that. Then we had opportunities to get off the field late in the game that we didn’t make. But overall, I was proud of their effort. We just have to make sure we don’t let this result affect us in the future. We must bounce back, learn from what we can learn from and simply go forward to the next game.”
Midwestern State improved to 2-1 on the year and won the first ever meeting between the two teams. Ark completed 16 of 28 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns, one interception, and 22 yards rushing. Brandon Michalak was his top target with 77 yards receiving on four receptions and one touchdown. Willis finished with 65 yards and one touchdown as the Huskies posted 331 total yards, including 98 net yards on the ground.
Will Marano carried 18 times for 54 yards and one touchdown while Emmett Boehler measured 11 yards on four carries. Marc Sippel led the defense for the third straight week, posting 15 tackles and one tackle for loss. Braxton Blackwell also made it to double figure tackles with 12, along with one pass broken up.
The Mustangs managed 491 of total offense. Sterling-Cole completed 20 of 33 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Devin Cross ran it 19 times for 94 yards and Arvie received seven passes for 91 yards and one touchdown.
The temperature at kickoff exceeded 90 degrees with humidity in the mid-60’s and a south breeze. The Huskies return to Houghton for their next game, Saturday, September 24 when they welcome No. 23 Saginaw Valley State (3-0). Kickoff is at 1 p.m.