Huskies look to turn things around against No. 19 Cardinals

Michigan Tech's Jared Smith (3) runs the ball during a game against Grand Valley State last season at Sherman Field. The Huskies host Saginaw Valley State this Saturday. (David Archambeau/For the Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Things haven’t gone Michigan Tech’s way so far.

After losing late last week at Midwestern State following a lackluster loss at St. Thomas, the Huskies (1-2) hope to change course against No. 19 Saginaw Valley State.

The Huskies (1-2) host the Cardinals (3-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

It’s the final non-conference game for both teams before Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action begins next week.

The Huskies took a 21-7 lead into the fourth quarter last week in Texas. The Mustangs rallied for three touchdowns including an interception returned 52 yards for the winning score with 12 seconds remaining.

Saginaw Valley is coming off a 35-14 win at Northwood.

The Huskies led all day last week until the Mustangs rallied in the fourth quarter for the win.

“Get back from a trip like that, bounce your team back and get back to being ready to play again,” Olson said on what the focus has been this week after the loss to the Mustangs. “It was an emotional game. It was a tough loss. But the faster we can get our guys bounced back and ready to go, the better off we’ll be.”

While the Huskies are unranked, they look poised to disrupt the national rankings and GLIAC standings with a win Saturday.

It isn’t out of the question, given that the Huskies are looking to avenge last week’s close loss, and have traditionally played the Cardinals strongly.

The Cardinals come to Kearly Stadium having strongly proven an ability to score points on offense and prevent points on defense. SVSU has outscored opponents by 121 points (147-26) in three games.

Take it with a grain of salt – the Cardinals’ first three games were against opponents with a combined 3-6 record. Tech has been outscored 73-50 against opponents with a combined 4-4 record, including a Division I opponent.

The past few matchups have been a deadlock between the Huskies and Cardinals.

Michigan Tech is 3-3 against the Cardinals going back to 2015, with SVSU narrowly outscoring MTU in that span, 115-107.

Going back to 2010, the Cardinals are 7-4 against Michigan Tech, outscoring the Huskies 311-263. If history is any indication, Saturday’s matchup could go either way.

Olson said he feels confident about the Huskies’ chances Saturday, but cautioned it’ll still come down to blocking, tackling, and special teams.

“The key areas of focus are just like every week. No. 1, take care of the ball. You want to try to run it effectively, so that can set up some of your pass game,” Olson said. “On the defensive side of the ball, you want to stop the run and you want to try to make sure you get off the field on third downs. And then on both sides of the ball, you want to win the special teams battle and you want to make sure that you execute well on special teams. You just got to go out and execute the best you can and battle hard for 60 minutes.”

Credit where credit’s due

Olson said he’s feeling good about the Huskies’ offense. It found production against a Midwestern State team that won the Lone Star Conference last season.

“It was nice to see (sophomore wide receiver) Brandon Michalak get a nice pass last week for a big play. He’s capable of that,” Olson said. “We need some of that explosiveness from a guy like that. We also have some veteran players that are on this football team, and you’re trying to merge some young guys along with that. I think (sophomore linebacker) Marc Sippel has really emerged on the defensive side of the ball.

Olson said he was really impressed with senior defensive back Braxton Blackwell in last week’s game. Olson said he made good reads, flew around the field and kept up with the Mustangs’ vaunted speedy receiver corps.

“I’ve coached a lot of great players – there aren’t many times I stand there and say ‘Wow,'” Olson said. “(Blackwell) played the best game I’ve ever seen him play.”


Olson didn’t give comment on injuries, citing players’ health privacy. However, he did say the defensive lineup will feature a different lineup than weeks past.


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