College Football: Huskies undefeated entering GLIAC play against SVSU
HOUGHTON — The Michigan Tech Huskies will try to keep a perfect record on the football field this weekend as they travel to Saginaw Valley State for their first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game of the season.
The Cardinals, also unbeaten, look to do the same.
The Huskies (2-0) are coming off a 24-19 win on the road against McKendree University in Week Two. It was the first meeting ever between the two teams.
Kickoff at Saginaw Valley State’s HRW Memorial Stadium is 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I thought we played well after a long bus ride down to the St. Louis area,” said MTU head coach Steve Olson of last week’s trip.
The Huskies took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
“We had some great performances by a number of people,” said Olson. “Players stepped up and grabbed a hold of opportunities when they could. That is very important and very critical in any football game.”
Olson added that he was particularly impressed with his team’s defensive effort.
“Our defense shut them down,” he said. “I believe they had just one play over 20 yards and no plays over 25 yards. When you limit your opponents like that, it puts you in a good position to win games.”
He was equally pleased with the his squad offensive performance. The Huskies outran the Bearcats 188-106 and had just one turnover on the afternoon.
“It wasn’t always pretty but our offense grinded it out,” Olson said.
The Huskies will need to be just as effective on both sides of the ball this week. Saturday’s match up will be the 33rd meeting between the two rivals. The Cardinals lead the series 22-10. Last year they defeated the Huskies with a 10-0 win at Sherman Field.
“Yes, we lost that one 10-0, but it was a close one,” Olson said. “They are just as tough as last year and we are going to have to execute and play well.”
The Cardinals’ offense ranks second in the GLIAC in scoring at 35 points per game. After two weeks of football, their offense is averaging 374 yards per game and allowing 343.5 to their opponents.
The are led by senior quarterback Ryan Conklin. He has thrown 24 completions for 429 total yards and has five touchdown passes which puts him on top in the GLIAC. His go-to receivers are Casey Williams and Chad Gailliard. Williams leads the Cardinals with eight catches for 195 yards so far this season. He and Gailliard both have two touchdown catches from Conklin on the year.
Olson said one of the keys to this week’s matchup is slowing down the Cardinals with a tough defense. Perhaps that will come by way of turnovers. In just two games, the Huskies have caused six turnovers leading to 19 points.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Huskies quarterback Will Ark will need to have another good game in the air and on the ground according to Olson. The junior quarterback led Michigan Tech in rushing a week ago with 73 yards. That included a rushing touchdown — his second of the season. In the air, Ark has thrown 31 passes for 334 total yards and two touchdowns as well.
Olson said that it feels good to be sitting at 2-0, but he he insists that his players take it one football game at a time.
“In these first two games, we have been able to establish some depth and confidence that we can make the big plays when needed,” said Olson. “So we’re going to have to draw from that success and play well against a very good Saginaw team.”