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Tech Football Falls short at Wayne State, 23-21

Tech Football Falls short at Wayne State, 23-21

DETROIT – The Michigan Tech football team fell shy of victory over Wayne State in a 23-21 clash at Tom Adams Field in Detroit, Michigan, on Saturday afternoon.

Michigan Tech (3-2, 0-2 GLIAC) struggled to get out of its way at times, accruing 10 penalties for 102 yards in addition to a windy day seeing three missed field goals in the first half, two being from over 45 yards.

"We came away empty too often in the first half," head coach Dan Mettlach said. "We didn't make enough plays when we needed to but I thought the guys played hard. Our defense played well, I think there were just too many self-inflicted wounds at crucial times and it, unfortunately, cost us."

The time of possession once again went to the opposition, with Wayne State having possession for over 34 minutes compared to Michigan Tech's 25:45.

Quarterback Alex Fries went 16-of-27 for 215 yards and two touchdowns, while WSU's Eli McLean was 12-of-20 for 145 yards. Fries also tallied 27 yards on the ground on four attempts.

Senior William Marano surpassed 100-yards for the second time this season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry for 115 yards and a touchdown. Oddly enough, Wayne State's Kendall Williams averaged 5.3 yards per carry, finishing with 117 yards on the ground.

Wayne State (2-4, 1-0 GLIAC) started with the ball and quickly rushed down the field, highlighted by a 43-yard run by Kendall Williams. The Huskies defense stood tall, forcing the Warriors to a field goal from 22-yards to strike first at the 8:10 mark in quarter one.

The Huskies had two chances to tie the game in the first quarter, with back-to-back drives ending with field goal opportunities. However, the windy stadium played a role in both field goal kicks falling short.

Michigan Tech opened the second quarter with four carries by William Marano, ultimately resulting in a Michigan Tech touchdown to make it 7-3.

Marano had 20 yards rushing and a reception of six yards to cap the eight-play, 46-yard drive.

The Warriors answered with a touchdown drive of their own on the next possession with the help of an untimely pass interference call, putting WSU in striking distance at Tech's 18-yard line.

Eli McLean converted on a third down try with a pass to Manny Harris stopping just short of the goal line, allowing the Warriors to turn to Williams again, this time for a 1-yard touchdown run to flip the score to 10-7 in favor of the home team.

The Huskies continued to look to the run game for success and entered Jake Rueff into the game for the first time in his early career, picking up 19 yards to put the Huskies in the red zone only to be denied points off a missed field goal.

Out of the halftime break, Michigan Tech came out with authority and strung a sequence of six plays to get 56-yards, mostly coming off a pass from Alex Fries to Darius Willis on the home team sideline to flip the score 14-10.

Wayne State answered with a touchdown of their own on the next possession, highlighted by a 36-yard reception to Dion Brown Jr. before McLean converted on a quarterback keeper to change the lead back to the Warriors.

The Warriors were determined to put on a show for the Homecoming crowd, with a bold decision to go for it on 4th & 1 on their 29-yard line at the end of the third quarter, converting on a 3-yard rush by Kendall Williams to extend the drive resulting in an impressive 47-yard field goal by Griffin Milovanski.

Milovanski would strike again on the following possession, this time from 38 yards to give Wayne State its biggest lead of the day at 23-14 with 7:32 remaining in regulation.

The Huskies would answer with a touchdown pass by Fries to Champney on the left sideline, where he outran the opposition, only taking 12 seconds to drive 70-yards.

With time running out, Michigan Tech saw its defense once again give them life with a tackle in the backfield from Josh Cribbens ultimately forcing Wayne State to punt with 5:03 remaining.

Back on offense, the Black & Gold's untimely errors occurred again, with a holding play halting a nice run by Fries and deflating a Huskies comeback after a failure to convert on fourth down.

Champney led the Huskies with 98 yards on three receptions and a touchdown. Willis also posted a touchdown on four receptions and 66 yards.

Defensively, the dynamic duo of Marc Sippel (11 total tackles) and Hunter Beuchel (9 total tackles) led the team in tackles. Sippel, Beuchel, Josh Cribbens and Ben Marion all recorded tackles for loss on the day.

Up Next

The Huskies return to action next week, traveling across I-41 for a tilt against Northern Michigan on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Superior Dome. Michigan Tech will look for its 13th Consecutive Miner's Cup.