HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University football team defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies in a thrilling overtime victory on Saturday (10/8), 44-41. The Cardinals now sit atop the GLIAC North standings as they improve to 4-1 on the season.
Sophomore quarterback Jonathon Jennings (Columbus, Ohio/Westervilles South) gave SVSU the early 7-0 lead on a 2-yard run just 3:31 into the game. After exchanging possesions the Cardinal defense would come up with a huge fourth down stop as Michigan Tech marched deep into SVSU territory with less than a minute left in the first quarter.
After the turnover on downs, Saginaw Valley took possesion at the their own 23-yard line and marched 77-yards where Jennings would hit Nick Gallina (Troy, Mich.) for a 2-yard touchdown to take a 14-0 advantage less than five minutes into the contest. Gallina would finish the contest with seven receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown.
On the following Michigan Tech possession, junior safety Jeff Heath (Lake Orion, Mich.), would strip the ball from Husky running back Charlie Leffingwell allowing Darius Middlebrooks (Indianapolis, Ind./Indiana State University) to jump on the loose ball and give the Cardinals the ball in Husky territory. Jennings would connect with Zach Cecich (Crown Point, Ind.) on 9-yard strike to put SVSU up 21-0.
Michigan Tech found the endzone for the first time on a 30-yard pass from Tyler Scarlett to Bryan Lachapelle to cut the Cardinal advantage to 21-7 with 4:03 left in the first half.
Freshman kicker Scott Stanford (Novi, Mich.) would help the Cardinals push their lead to 24-7 on a career long 45-yard field goal with just 53 seconds remaining in the half.
However, the Huskies showed off their quick-strike offense as Scarlett found Pat Carroll in the endzone with just 13.9 seconds left in the half to cut the Cardinal lead to 24-14 at halftime.
Michigan Tech would come up with the first big play of the second half when Steve Worthy picked up a blocked punt inside the Saginaw Valley ten yard line to pull the Huskies within a field goal. The Cardinals would respond on the very next play as Jennings hit Jeff Janis (Tawas City, Mich./Tawas Area HS) in stride for a 70-yard strike to put the Cardinals up 31-21. Janis would end the game with two catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.
The Huskies answered right back on a 52-yard run by Akeem Cason on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to three.
The high-flying Cardinal offense was up to the challenge as Jennings connected with Cecich for their second touchdown of the game, this time a 49-yard strike down the middle of the field, putting the Cardinals up by a 38-28 count. Cecich finished the contest with three catches for 64 yards and two scores.
Scarlett would find the endzone on a 2-yard run with 8:32 left in the in the game to cut the Cardinal advantage to 38-35.
Huskies would tie the game 38-38 with 1:59 left in the game on a 28-yard field goal by Garrett Mead.
Jenning and the Cardinals would take the ensuing possesion 77-yards to set-up a 20-yard Stanford field goal to put the Cardinals back on top 41-38 with just 28 second remaining in regulation. Meijer "Player of the Game" Jonathon Jennings finished the afternoon going 19-of-27 passing for 327 yards and four touchdowns through the air, while also posting a rushing touchdown.
Michigan Tech kicker Mead would send the game to overtime with a 25-yard field goal as time expired.
Saginaw Valley would win the overtime toss and selected to be on defense first. The Cardinal defense came up with the biggest stop of the day when Grant Caserta (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa HS) intercepted a Scarlett pass inside the ten yard line. SVSU would then take over possesion and set-up up their freshman kicker Scott Stanford for a 23-yard field goal and the 44-41 win.
The Cardinal defense was led by DeAngelo Parris (Clinton Twp., Mich./Warren De La Salle HS) and Brian Johnson (Muskegon, Mich./Muskegon Catholic Central HS) who tallied nine tackles each. Middlebooks also recorded nine tackles to go along with his fumble recovery.
With the win the Cardinals improve to 4-1 overall on the season and 4-1 in the GLIAC, while Michigan Tech falls to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the GLIAC. The Cardinals will travel to Indianapolis next Saturday (Oct. 15) for a 6:00 PM contest.