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Tech Football Upends Upper Iowa, 34-31

Tech Football Upends Upper Iowa, 34-31

FAYETTE, Iowa – The Michigan Tech football team outscored Upper Iowa 27-7 in the second half to complete a 34-31 comeback at Harms-Eischeid Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, The Huskies elevate to 3-0 on the season, marking their best start since the 2015 season, while Upper Iowa falls to 2-2.

"To go on the road for the second week in a row, It says a lot about our locker room with the way things were at halftime to come out and play the way they did," head coach Dan Mettlach said. "They never gave up and I'm really proud of them for that. I can't say enough about the way everyone stayed with it and the interactions on the sideline were always positive." 

Michigan Tech had a slow start to the day, entering the locker room for halftime down 24-7, with the only score coming off a Michael Bates Jr. pick-six with just under seven minutes in the second quarter.

The Huskies' momentum changed to start the third quarter with a quick seven-play 75-yard drive in under three minutes. Wide receiver Darius Willis posted a 36-yard run before William Marano completed the drive with a six-yard rush to cut the score to 24-14.

In total, Michigan Tech averaged 7.7 yards per rushing attempt in the third quarter, accumulating eight first downs, double that of the Peacocks in the quarter.

However, Upper Iowa answered two possessions later with an eight-play drive, taking almost six minutes off the clock with a one-yard rush by quarterback Marcus Orr to increase the lead to 31-14.

The Huskies' heroics ramped up in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Peacocks 20-0.

Kicker Drew Wyble kindled the offense for Michigan Tech, connecting on an impressive 49-yard field goal attempt just seconds into the final quarter to cut the lead to 14 points.

Samuel Kinne came up with a sack on Orr for a loss of nine-yards, ultimately forcing Upper Iowa to punt on their 41-yard line.

Michigan Tech quickly turned that defensive stop into a 73-yard bomb from Alex Fries to Ethan Champney down the Huskies sideline, taking just 11 seconds off the clock and making it a one touchdown game, 31-24.

A sound punt by Wyble placed the Peacocks on their own six-yard line, with the Tech defense forcing a three-and-out.

Michigan Tech had a short field, starting at UIU's 32-yard line, benefiting from the run game of Marano before flipping the script. 

Fries passed to his right to Champney, who looked to the endzone and connected with a wide-open Brandon Michalak, stunning the home crowd with Wyble's extra kick, tying the game at 31 apiece.

Upper Iowa looked to answer, driving 50 yards before looking at a 44-yard field goal with 2:44 remaining in regulation before the Huskies spoiled the fun.

Hunter Buechel blocked the 44-yard field goal attempt to give the offense an opportunity to win the game.

In the drive, Marano trekked 54 yards on three carries before Wyble hit a 30-yard field goal to take the first lead of the game with 36 seconds remaining.

For the second consecutive weekend, the Huskies solidified their victory with an interception. This weekend, it came from defensive back Dante Basanese, picking off Marcus Orr on Upper Iowa's 34-yard line to put the game away.

The Huskies found their stride in the run game with 204 yards on the ground and 149 yards through the air. 

On the flip side, Upper Iowa had a successful day passing, with 349 yards on the day and 98 yards rushing.

Marano led the Huskies with a staggering 147 yards rushing to go with one touchdown. Willis also accounted for 51 rushing yards to go with 17 yards on four receptions.

Defensively, Tech accounted for two interceptions along with four sacks. Owen Watson led the team with 11 tackles, although Marc Sippel accounted for 10 tackles while Jared Tarrance had nine.

The defense also held Upper Iowa to seven-of-fifteen on third-down attempts.

Wyble took care of business, going 2-for-2 on field goals, along with 4-for-4 on extra points.

Punter Brenden Lach punted three times for an average of 52.0 yards per punt, including his impressive 62-yard punt.

Up Next

The Huskies return home next weekend, hosting Davenport for homecoming on Saturday, September 30, slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff time.