Game on: Football Huskies open season tonight with game at Truman State

David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette The Huskies’ John Williams runs through an opening in the Warriors during a game at Sherman Field last season. The Huskies open their season tonight at Truman.

Ready or not, it’s time to play football. Those are the sentiments of Michigan Tech Huskies head coach Steve Olson as his team opens up the 2018 campaign tonight against the Truman State Bulldogs in Kirksville, Mo.

Interestingly, tonight’s contest is a rematch of last year’s season opener. The only differences are a 12 -hour bus ride and a lack of running back John Williams, who graduated after the 2017 season.

“Last year, they came to us,” said Olson. “This year, we are making the long journey south. I think it will be critical for our kids that we handle traveling on the road well because we are going to need to do that going forward in the future.”

A year ago at Sherman Field, the Huskies won the game against the Bulldogs, 38-14. Williams exploded out of the gates, running for 176 yards on 21 carries in the contest.

The Huskies are obviously hoping to do much of the same this year and according to Olson, it looks like the game will be a similar match up.

“They are returning a lot of the same folks,” he said of Truman State. “We also have a lot of the same guys back with us.”

Junior quarterback Jaden Barr is back with Bulldogs. In last season’s contest, Barr racked up 12 of 17 passing for 79 yards and a touchdown. Where he really hurt the Huskies was with his legs, as he broke through the Huskies’ defense and scampered for a long touchdown as part of a 12-carry, 116-yard performance.

“Jaden is very athletic,” said Olson. “He is a good runner and thrower. Last year, he ran for a 75-yard touchdown against us. We have to be able to control him from the standpoint of our pass rush.”

Another player that Olson is keeping an eye on is junior running back Jordan Salima. Salima only picked up 37 yards on 14 carries against the Huskies last season before carrying another 239 times on the season while racking up another 1,133 yards.

Olson noted that his team’s energy will be important in the contest after such a long trip.

“It will be critical for us to match the energy they will have playing at home,” he said.

As for the Huskies’ offensive strategy, Olson looks to run the ball a lot and control the clock.

It’s something his team has been working on in their preseason workouts.

“It’s been a good camp,” said Olson. “The kids worked hard, and we are in good spot to get started.”

Game time for the contest is 8 p.m.