HOUGHTON, Mich. – The Michigan Tech football team fell to Ferris State University in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest on a snowy Saturday afternoon at Sherman Field at Kearly Stadium 52-0. The Huskies were unable to get much going against the Bulldogs who entered the weekend ranked second in the latest AFCA Coaches' NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll.
"Ferris State is a very good football team," Michigan Tech Head Coach Steve Olson said. "They are big, physical, and have some guys that can break plays on you and go a long way. They played extremely well today and we didn't have as much consistency and execution as I would have liked in all three phases of the game. We have a lot of things that we need to improve on and we have to get back to work.
"We play another good team next week in Wayne State that can run the football very well and bring pressure on the defensive side of the ball. If we can handle their pressure and stop the run, we'll give ourselves a chance to be in a great football game against a tough team on the road."
Michigan Tech (4-4, 2-4 GLIAC) had great field position to start the opening drive Saturday when freshman William Marano returned the kickoff 40-yards to the Huskies' 45-yard line. Unfortunately, the Ferris State (9-0, 7-0 GLIAC) defense forced the Huskies to punt after Tech advanced the ball to the 50-yard line.
Following a punt by freshman quarterback Steele Fortress, the Bulldogs took over on their 17-yard line and covered the 83 yards in just six plays for the first score of the afternoon. Travis Russell connected with Xavier Wade for a 56-yard pass to put the ball down at the one-yard line. Russell then called his own number on the ground for a touchdown and with 10:55 to go in the first quarter Ferris State held a 7-0 lead.
Neither side posted points on their next two possessions, but the Bulldogs got back on the board with their defense at the 6:27 mark of the first quarter. Alex Thomas intercepted a pass and returned it 15-yards for a touchdown to increase the gap to 14-0.
The Bulldogs tacked on another touchdown and a field goal in the second quarter to carry a 24-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Russell found Wade for a 78-yard touchdown pass with 13:44 on the second quarter clock and then Jackson Dieterle split the uprights for a 32-yard field goal with 7:04 to play until the break.
Tech's offense worked the ball down to the Ferris State 25-yard line on the next drive, but were stopped on a fourth down and seven play with 2:26 left in the half. The Bulldogs were then essentially able to run out the second quarter clock.
On the third play of the third quarter, Russell hit running back Marvin Campbell on a pass out of the backfield and he took off for a 73-yard touchdown to extend the gap to 31-0 with 12:49 left. The Bulldogs continued to pull away from there, adding three more second half touchdowns which resulted in the final tally. The Huskie were able to reach the Bulldogs' 20-yard line late in the third period, but that's as close to the end zone as they would get.
Fortress completed nine passes for 65 yards while sophomore running back Jared Smith had 37 yards on 13 carries for the Tech offense. Freshman running Emmett Boehler covered 22 yards on eight carries while senior wide receiver Ben Hartley ended the day with two catches for 41 yards. Marano averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return with a season long 40-yard return on the opening play of the game.
Sophomore defensive back Braxton Blackwell had a team high 14 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss and one quarterback hurry. Junior linebacker Ben Rybicki logged 14 tackles and a forced fumble followed by senior defensive back Glacier Wallington with seven tackles and a pass breakup. Sophomore Tai Allen made five stops, had a pass breakup, and recovered the fumble caused by Rybicki.
Russell completed 13 of 19 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns to power the Ferris State offense. Jeremy Burrell had 91 yards rushing on seven carries while Wade caught two passes for 134 yards and one touchdown. Ferris State's offense generated 615 yards, with 381 coming through the air and 234 via the ground attack. Omari McCauley had a team high nine tackles for the Bulldogs, who as a team, combined for seven tackles for a loss and two sacks.
The Huskies will look to regroup next Saturday when they head down to Detroit to battle Wayne State University. The Warriors shutout Davenport on the road Saturday 34-0 and are 6-3 going into next week's game. The kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. eastern time.