UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University football team gave the homecoming crowd of 7,668 a lot to cheer about as they defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies by a score of 43-31 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contest today (Oct. 9).
The Cardinals' offense was firing on all cylindars early in the first quarter as senior quarterback Chuck Dowdell (Ft. Wayne, Ind. / Northrup HS) found the endzone on a two-yard plunge. Michigan Tech would knot the game at seven on a 16-yard touchdown reception with 2:06 remaining in the first quarter.
Saginaw Valley's offense would again march down the field in the second quarter, scoring on a seven-play drive as Dowdell would again find paydirt from two-yards out just before "Meijer Player of the Game" freshman Jonathon Jennings (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville South HS) entered the game at the quarterback position for the injured Dowdell. The Huskies would respond with a successful 32-yard field goal to make the score 13-10 with 9:08 left in the first half. Junior running back Brandon Hayes (Saginaw, Mich. / Swan Valley HS) would find an open route on a 35-yard rush into the endzone to give the Cardinals a ten point advantage, however Michigan Tech responded with 2:45 remaining in the first half as they found the endzone from 36-yards out to make the score 20-17. The Cardinals would add to their score on a 20-yard field goal off the foot of sophomore kicker Thomas Goodroe (Byron, Mich./Byron HS) entering the locker room at the half.
The Cardinals were the first to light the scoreboard in the second half as Hayes would again find paydirt, this time from 11-yards out to give Saginaw Valley a 30-17 advantage. Hayes ended the afternoon with two scores on 72 rushing yards and one reception for 21 yards. The Huskies were able to find the endzone late in the third quarter on a three-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds remaining on the scoreboard.
The Saginaw Valley offense continued to be aggressive in the fourth quarter of action as Jennings found sophomore tight end Zachary Cecich (Crown Point, Ind./Crown Point HS) from five-yards out, however an unsuccessful two-point conversion held the Cardinals' score at 36. Saginaw Valley would again find the endzone as sophomore running back Ronnie Lark (Flint, Mich. / Powers Catholic HS) broke away on a 54-yard run, however would fumble the ball on the one-yard line, only to be recovered by the trailing Cecich to give the Cardinals a 43-24 advantage. The Huskies would add their final touchdown with 15 seconds remaining in the game, but it would not be enough as Saginaw Valley went on to victory, 43-31.
The Cardinal defense was led overall by sophomore linebacker Grant Caserta (Holland, Mich. / West Ottawa HS) who posted 12 tackles, one for loss and one pass break-up. Senior linebacker Wayne Sanders (Rochester, Mich./Rochester Adams HS) would add eight tackles while sophomores Thomas Stalter (Portland, Mich. / Portland HS) and Jeffrey Heath (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion HS) added seven tackles each; Heath posting one for loss. Sophomore Nathaniel Snyder (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn HS) had three tackles and one sack for a loss of seven yards.
Offensively, Saginaw Valley was led by Lark who ended the afternoon with 16 carries for 150 yards and two receptions for eight yards while senior Andrew Beaver (Dearborn Heights, Mich. / Dearborn HS) had 41 yards on five catches. Jennings would finish the game completing 18-of-21 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown.
With the win, the Cardinals move to 2-4 overall on the season and 2-3 in the GLIAC, while Michigan Tech falls to 4-1 overall on the season and 4-1 in conference play. Saginaw Valley will return to action next Saturday (Oct. 16) as they host the University of Indianapolis. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.