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Huskies seeking 11th straight Miner’s Cup win over Wildcats

Michigan Tech junior wide receiver Justin Davis (0) catches a 38-yard pass against Grand Valley State on Sept. 25. (David Archambeau/For the Gazette)

After winning two straight games and hitting a groove on offense, now’s a good a time as any for Michigan Tech to play arch-rival Northern Michigan for the Miner’s Cup.

The Huskies (3-2) will look to make it an 11th straight Miner’s Cup win against the Wildcats.

It couldn’t come at a better time in the regular season for Tech.

The Huskies edged Wayne State 30-27 last week on a last-second field goal by Marquette freshman kicker Drew Wyble.

This week, Wyble is back in his old stomping grounds with the Huskies to play for the 19th Miner’s Cup.

“It’ll be a huge day for both our football programs,” Michigan Tech head coach Steve Olson said. “It’s always a fun day for the U.P. and I think football in the U.P. in general. So we’re excited for it, should be a lot of fun.”

Kickoff is noon Saturday at the Superior Dome (masks required).

Northern Michigan lost 18-13 at Davenport last week.

Miner’s Cup by the numbers

The Miner’s Cup has stayed in Michigan Tech’s possession for the last 10 years.

Michigan Tech hosts a dominant 15-3 Miner’s Cup advantage since the trophy’s inception in 2002. Northern Michigan last won the trophy after a 48-16 win in 2009.

Both teams have played a rivalry matchup every season since 1920. The 2020 season, canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, is the only season the rivalry game hasn’t been played. The Huskies lead the all-time rivalry series 47-41-5.

The Huskies are 7-2 at the Superior Dome, outscoring the Wildcats 322-255. Tech has won the last six games at the Dome going back to 2008.

Tech is 8-1 in Miner’s Cup games at Kearly Stadium, outscoring NMU 256-152.

The Wildcats’ last Miner’s Cup victory was when they thumped Tech 48-16 in 2009 at Kearly Stadium.

The rivalry has been a one-score game for the last six years. Every game since 2014 has had a differential of seven points or fewer. Tech’s 24-23 win in 2015 is the closest margin of victory for either team.

Tech’s 12-0 win in 2010 is the only time either team has been shut out in the Miner’s Cup.

Rich tradition

Both schools have well known football alumni that have competed for the Miner’s Cup.

Huskies offensive coordinator Dan Mettlach was Tech’s quarterback 2001-04, going 2-1 in the first three seasons of the Miner’s Cup.

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was Northern Michigan’s quarterbacks and receivers coach in 2006. The Huskies dominated the Wildcats that year 42-14 for the trophy.

Washington Football Team offensive quality control coach Todd Storm, of Calumet, is a Michigan Tech graduate and played defensive end from 2008-11. He later became a graduate assistant.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh played at NMU 1998-02, falling to Mettlach and the Huskies 34-13 in 2002 for the first Miner’s Cup.

“It’s obviously a big game. It’s been a good rivalry for a long time,” Mettlach said. “We’ve been on both sides of it, player/coach, so we know what’s at stake. There’s a lot of people that take a lot of pride in this game and it’s no different for this team that we have this year. So we’ve got the Cup and we want to keep it and we have to go down there and execute on Saturday.”

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