October 14th, 2019 8:00am
Four games decided by one possession with two of those coming down to the final play highlight another captivating weekend on the gridiron in the GLIAC.
Meanwhile, the No.2 ranked Ferris State Bulldogs routed Wayne State, meaning FSU hails as the lone unbeaten in the GLIAC.
For the tenth consecutive season, the Miner’s Cup will reside in Houghton as a late fourth quarter Huskie touchdown seals the win for MTU over Northern Michigan, while the Battle of the Valleys came down to the final play and a goal line stand by the Lakers to hold off a feverish Saginaw Valley State comeback attempt.
More heartbreak in Midland as Northwood surrenders a 16-point fourth quarter lead to Hillsdale and the Chargers eventually go on to steal one in overtime, while Ashland holds off Davenport’s attempt to spoil the Eagles homecoming.
We’ll start in the evening and work backwards – Lubbers Stadium was the site of this year’s Battle of the Valleys where SVSU was trying to win this rivalry game for the first time since 2012. The Laker’s offense showed up in a big way, and specifically the running game was dominant to the tune of 313 yards on the ground, and who was the workhorse for the Lakers? Redshirt-Freshman Tariq Reid. Reid turned in an incredible performance tallying 287 yards and three touchdowns on 39 carries – Holy wow! As for the game, GVSU lead for the duration after opening up a 21-0 lead early, but credit to the Cardinals who never quit – SVSU chipped and chipped away until they found themselves down 35-28 with the ball and a chance to mount the game-tying drive. The Cardinals got all the way to the one-yard line after picking up a long 4th down conversion, but without any timeouts, SVSU poorly managed the clock and Conklin was stopped short of the endzone on consecutive rushing attempts resulting in the precious final seconds ticking off the clock and the Lakers coming away with the win. As I watched the end of this game, I had a helpless feeling for SVSU because it was one of those situations you could see coming and can almost guarantee SVSU wishes they would have handled differently. After they picked up the first down to make it 1st-and-goal from the one-yard line, without any timeouts, I think you have to run up and clock the ball, thus making it only second down and stopping the clock to give your offense time to gather themselves and call a play. From there, you’ve got time to take at least two shots to the endzone through the air, without the risk of being stopped on the ground and the clock continuing to run. Anyways, that’s just my two cents, worth way less than that, I’m not a coach, just an idiot blogger. Big win for the Lakers, they move to 5-1, SVSU falls to 4-2, and will likely have to win out in hopes of making the playoffs.
Ferris State was in Motown for the first time since 2012, and perhaps you might have noticed they had a few players playing in their hometown of Detroit for the firs time in their collegiate careers. I’m not sure if that was the motivation or what got into FSU, but they were world beaters from the jump en route to a 35-0 halftime lead, and if this is the Ferris State team we see the rest of the year, perhaps their high expectations can become a reality. Jayru Campbell has recovered from his “health issues” and is back in the lineup for the Bulldogs and had himself a huge game – five total touchdowns, over 200 yards passing and 76 yards rushing. I say “health issues” not to be sarcastic or cynical, but because that is what his absence was attributed to, and thus, that is the verbiage I will use. FSU’s defense was dominant once again, limiting Wayne State to just 120 yards of total offense. As for the Warriors, they’ll host Ashland next week in hopes of bouncing back, while FSU will return home to Top Taggart Field for a contest against Northwood.
I suppose the mentioning of Northwood means I need to segway into reliving the horrors of the Timberwolves’ game on Saturday. I say horrors, but for three-and-a-half quarters, it was the exact opposite – Northwood looked impressive in all three phases of the game – two big special teams plays including a kickoff return for a touchdown, efficient offense, and effective defense, but again for Northwood, the game is four quarters, and Hillsdale outscored NU 16-0 in the 4th with two impressive touchdown drives and 2-point-conversions to tie the game and force overtime. In overtime, the Chargers scored on their first possession, while NU took the ball down to the two-yard line, and after an unsuccessful third-and-goal attempt, Northwood came up short again on the fourth-down attempt, ending the game on the final play with the Chargers rushing the field after stealing one at Hantz Stadium. I’ve run out of ways to express my thoughts on this Northwood team – frustrating to say the least, but another kick to the gut for this team that falls to 0-6 after another heartbreaker.
Big plays were the theme of the Ashland-Davenport game as the two offenses combined for 57 points, 890 yards of offense and three 75-plus-yard touchdown passes. For the third game in a row, Ashland rallied from a double-digit deficit to earn the win, while Davenport has now lost two consecutive games after starting 3-0. I’m sure Sparky McKewen was not preaching moral victories after this game, but he did go on record saying how proud he was of his team for going toe to toe with a perennial power, and I think there’s a lot of truth to that – this Davenport team has effectively established themselves as a worthy opponent that can be classified as scary, but again, this business is simple – win, and DU came up short on the road against a good team. As for AU, given the third consecutive comeback win, they are starting to get that team of destiny feel, and I know there isn’t any of that talk going on within the Eagles program, but again, as an idiot blogger, I’ll go ahead and say it – I wouldn’t be surprised if AU runs the table the rest of the way and ends up in the playoffs – sorry Ashland if you value my opinion enough to classify it as a possible jinx – it’s not, the games will play out the same way no matter what I think. Week 7 means Ashland heads to the Motor City for a game against Wayne State, while Davenport will host Michigan Tech.
Speaking of Michigan Tech, the Huskies continue to own the Upper Peninsula when it comes to college football – the aforementioned Miner’s Cup was claimed by the Huskies for the 10th consecutive year, and dare I say that makes one #Techade? Okay, I’m not that clever, I saw it on the internet and borrowed it, please no one from Michigan Tech sue me. In any case, Michigan Tech moves to 3-2 while Northern Michigan falls to 1-5 after another epic battle resulting in another close win for the Huskies. Looking back at the recent series history is damn-near astounding – every single game since 2014 has been a one-possession win for Michigan Tech, with this year’s edition ending in a 24-20 final. After MTU scored with 07:24 left in the game to go ahead 24-20, it was the Huskies’ defense closing the door for good with a couple of stops including a circus interception by Senior Glacier Wallington with 5:55 to play on a ball that was batted up in the air by senior Travis Tidwell using his foot. As for the Wildcats, their reward is to return home and host Grand Valley while MTU hits the road to take on Davenport.
As my Timberwolves continue to be winless, I’ll continue to be depressed and resort to emotionally writing this blog. My apologies for airing my sorrows, but my team keeps breaking my heart! Okay, I’m not that bad, but it’s getting tough on me!