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Huskies Football Bested by Cardinals 38-21 on Senior Day

Huskies Football Bested by Cardinals 38-21 on Senior Day

HOUGHTON, Mich. -- The Michigan Tech football team was outlasted by Saginaw Valley State 38-21 to conclude the 2023 campaign on Saturday afternoon at Kearly Stadium.

"I was proud of our efforts but the game didn't go the way we wanted it to," head coach Dan Mettlach said. "I was proud of the effort–I thought the guys played hard, I just thought there were too many mistakes to beat a team like that. We had a tough time on third downs as well, it was a recipe for things not going our way."

Saginaw Valley State (6-5, 3-3 GLIAC) scored twice in the opening quarter from a 16-yard touchdown pass on its opening drive and an untimely pick-six by Micah Cretsinger, who tied the NCAA Division II record with his fourth interception return for a touchdown.

Michigan Tech (5-5, 1-5 GLIAC) cut the Cardinals' lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Alex Fries to Ethan Champney to cap a drive that went 12 plays for 76 yards.

Unfortunately, SVSU would score again on their next drive to maintain a 14-point lead, with Mike O'Horo delivering his second touchdown pass of the day.

After a three and out on offense, the Huskies defense delivered, with Marc Sippel reading O'Horo's throw perfectly for an interception, he returned 41 yards to set up the second touchdown reception for Champney, this time for 14 yards from Fries with 3:40 remaining in the first half.

The Huskies' defense came up big once again before the break, with Dante Basense forcing a fumble recovered by Michael Bates Jr. The Cardinals would connect on a 34-yard field goal in the third quarter before finding the end zone again at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a 7-yard rush from O'horo.

Despite trailing 31-14, quarterback Joe Hartlieb, who entered the game in the third quarter, found Champney for the longest reception of the day, which the Swan Valley, Michigan, native took 56 yards to tie his career-high of three touchdown receptions.

The Cardinals answered on their next drive, reaching the end zone with a 20-yard run from Terrance Brown to conclude the scoring at 38-21.

SVSU amassed 469 yards of total offense compared to MTU's 217.

Hartlieb threw for 86 yards on 8-of-15 with one touchdown and an interception, while Fries went 7-for-12 for 69 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

Champney led the team with 116 yards receiving on six catches. Darius Willis had five catches for 33 yards, setting a new program record for most career receptions (159).

Bates Jr., along with his fumble recovery, averaged 18.3 yards on kickoff returns.

Defensively, by Owen Watson (16 total tackles) and Samuel Kinne (13 total tackles).

The game concludes the careers of 14 seniors who leave a notable mark on the football program.