Huskies end season with 35-30 loss to Cardinals
UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – Derrick Hinton Jr. caught 13 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown to help Saginaw Valley State over Michigan Tech 35-30 Saturday afternoon at Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium. The Huskies finished fifth in the GLIAC Standings with a 2-4 record, 4-7 overall. The Cardinals closed the fall 3-3, 8-3 overall.
Senior quarterback Will Ark completed 27 of 41 pass attempts for 353 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Darius Willis collected two touchdown passes on 13 completions for 198 yards receiving. Ethan Champney added a touchdown, five receptions, and 71 yards for MTU.
Andrew Brito led the Cardinals under center with 324 yards passing, one touchdown pass, and a pair of interceptions. SVSU was an efficient 57-percent on third down, including a long drive late in the fourth quarter, which ended in a one yard touchdown run by Tyler Amos with 2:09 to play.
With time running short and a 12-point deficit, Ark commanded a seven play, 74 yard drive ending on a two yard touchdown pass to Ethan Champney.
The Cardinals came up with the ensuing onside kick and kneeled down for the victory.
"We expected it to be a hard-fought, close football game and it was," said head coach Steve Olson. "I felt it was one we had a chance to win but we just ran out of time. We were still moving the ball late but we just came up short. Credit to Brito, their quarterback for what he did to make it difficult for us. Darius is a player we are trying to get the football because of how dynamic he is. Ethan Champney and Ethan Martysz were other receivers who stepped up as well."
Marc Sippel made six tackles and ended the season six short of the Michigan Tech all-time single season record set in 1994 by Tyler Kunz (139).
Ark capped his distinguished career third on the Husky charts for career passing yards (7,228) and career touchdown passes by a quarterback (52).
At the conclusion of the game, Willis led the conference with 10 receiving touchdowns.
Hunter Beuchel fell on a fumble to turnover Saginaw Valley two plays later but the Huskies stalled on their own 41-yard line. Teams combined for five first downs in the first quarter.
The battle for field position continued in the second quarter with teams trading punts. Ark brought the Huskies into Cardinal territory but running back Will Marano was stopped on fourth down and one at the 40-yard line.
The Cardinals assembled a 10-play, 61-yard drive and Tyler Amos ran up the middle on third and goal from the two yard line for a 7-3 SVSU advantage.
Michigan Tech answered when Willis caught his ninth touchdown pass of the fall at 2:25 of the second quarter. Ark rolled right and slung it to Willis, alone in the back corner of the endzone. Wyble's extra point hit the right goal post and was no good.
Stepping up in the pocket again, Ark went to Willis for a 52-yard touchdown pass up the middle of the field as the Huskies edged back in front 16-7 in the third quarter.
Then the Cardinals struck back with a four yard scoring run by Isaiah Malcome and a 63-yard connection to Hinton Jr. Micah Cretsinger intercepted Ark's pass with 11:04 to play in the fourth quarter and evaded would-be tacklers for a 68-yard score.
Ark ran it in from two yards to begin the fourth quarter, but the long drive capped by Amos kept Saginaw Valley in front late and allowed the Cardinals to run time off the clock.
"The other teams we lost to this season were a combined 42-7 coming into this weekend so obviously I'm very proud of our guys for how they competed against one of the toughest schedules in Division II," Olson said. "You have to come out and be ready to battle every day and we did that. We have to keep working hard to figure out ways to get better but I'm proud of our 22 seniors and what they accomplished in their time at Michigan Tech."