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Cardinals Fall in Overtime Playoff Thriller, 30-27

Cardinals Fall in Overtime Playoff Thriller, 30-27

DULUTH, Minn. - The Saginaw Valley State University football team saw its 2011 season come to a close on a cold and snowy Saturday afternoon (Nov. 19) at the hands of the defending National Champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in overtime, by the score of 30-27.

Minnesota Duluth would put together an 11-play, 62-yard drive that was capped off by a Chase Vogler touchdown run of nine yards to give the Bulldogs and early 7-0 advantage.

The Cardinals would even the score at 7-7 with 11:24 left in the second quarter on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Jonathon Jennings (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville South HS) to Meijer "Player of the Game" Jeff Janis (Tawas City, Mich./Tawas Area HS).  Janis would finish the game with six catches for 179 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bulldogs would have an answer for the Cardinals on the ensuing possession.  They would put together a 10-play, 65-yard drive that ended on a nine-yard run by Zach Hulce for the 14-7 lead.  Minnesota Duluth would add a field goal before the half to increase their lead to 17-7.

The second half started much the same way as the first did, with both teams exchanging punts, but the Cardinals would once again show their big play ability as Jennings hooked up with Janis for a long touchdown, this time for a 65-yard strike.  Jennings would finish the afternoon 18-of-30 for 324 yards and three scores.

On the next Saginaw Valley possession, Jennings and the Cardinals would hit on three straight passes, the last being a 23-yard touchdown strike to Janis as the Cardinals grabbed their first lead of the game, 21-17.

Minnesota Duluth would answer right back as Hulce found the endzone for the second time on the afternoon to give the Bulldogs the lead back at 24-21 with just over eight minutes left in the game.  That lead would hold until there was just seven seconds to go in the game. SVSU would then go to the foot of freshman kicker Scott Stanford (Novi, Mich.) to convert the 21-yard field goal and tie the game at 24-24 to force overtime.

The Cardinals would once again call on the services of Stanford in overtime as he converted a 42-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 27-24 lead.

The Bulldogs would find the endzone on the ensuing possession on a one-yard touchdown run that would end SVSU's season.

The defense was led by senior strong safety Darius Middlebrooks (Indianapolis, Ind./Indiana State University) who led all players with 21 tackles in his final game in a Cardinal uniform. Safety Dex Teen (Grosse Ile, Mich.) would add 16 tackles, while defensive lineman Paul Webb (Royal Oak, Mich.) finished with 13 tackles.

The loss ends the 2011 Saginaw Valley State University Football season with a record of 7-4.