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Football Falls in Home Opener to Michigan Tech, 35-21

#8 - Drew Herrell
#8 - Drew Herrell

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - Opening play at home for the 2015 regular season, the SVSU football team hosted the Michigan Tech Huckies at Wickes Stadium for a 1:00 p.m. matinee match-up on Saturday afternoon. After displaying an improved offensive attack that nearly matched their output in terms of total offense for the first two games combined, the Cards lost a late third quarter lead and were defeated by the Huskies, 35-21.

Saginaw Valley came out swinging, stopping Tech quickly on its opening drive and taking their first offensive chance 43 yards on nine plays for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The score was on a connection between Brad Odeman Jr. and Jermaih Johnson on a six-yard pass play. It was Johnson's first-career touchdown.

Michigan Tech answered later in the first quarter with a touchdown of its own but missed the extra point try after some confusion on the point after attempt. That allowed SVSU to hold the 7-6 lead. 

The Huskies would add a touchdown at the 3:46 mark of the second quarter, however, as they capped an eight play, 80-yard drive to take the lead at 13-7.

The Cardinals scored to open the second half, using seven plays to go 70 yards for a touchdown on a one-yard Odeman rush. That put the Cards back out front by a 14-13 count after an Alex Kenrick PAT.

Tech added another touchdown on its ensuing drive to lean the lead back into its favor at 20-14, but Saginaw Valley would make it three consecutive scoring drives for the game when it grabbed the lead back after a Johnson eight-yard touchdown run with 3:26 to go in the third. That made the score 21-20 in SVSU's advantage after a successful extra point.

The Huskies would not go away easy though, as they continued the back-and-forth battle and notched a touchdown to make the score 26-21. Having missed an extra point on its first scoring drive, Michigan Tech attempted a two-point conversion and would convert on it to make it a seven point lead at 28-21.

The Cards committed turnovers on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, their first two of the season after a fumble and an interception. They were able to stop the Huskies from converting on the first but the second proved costly. Michigan Tech had a short field of 33 yards and scored after moving seven plays and 33 yards. That made it a two score game for SVSU at 35-21 with just 7:07 showing on the game clock.

Saginaw Valley put together a nice drive in response of 16 plays and 56 yards but wasn't able to convert on a fourth and 17 attempt and the drive stalled with 1:42 remaining. That allowed the Huskies to kneel-out the clock and seal the 14-point victory.

SVSU posted 322 yards of total offense, 232 through the air and 90 via the ground game.  

Odeman was 21-of-34 through the air for 232 yards and a score and added a touchdown rushing as well. 

Johnson had three receptions for 22 yards and a score, as well as a pair of rushes for 11 yards and a touchdown. He was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" after notching his first two career touchdowns. 

Drew Herrell was the leading rusher for the Cardinals, gaining 43 yards on 17 attempts while Bryan Fobbs hauled-in four catches for a team-best 44 yards.

Dwight Trammer continued his stellar play on defense from the middle linebacker position, recording 12 tackles. Bryan Jones added nine stops for the defense while Dillon Dixon had eight.

Saginaw Valley falls to 0-3 on the year with an 0-2 mark in the GLIAC while Michigan Tech, ranked #20 in the latest poll, improves to 3-0 overall and 3-0 in league play. The Cardinals continue with another stretch of two consecutive road games, the first coming Saturday (Sep. 26) at #5 Ferris State. Kick-off is set for 2:00 p.m. at Ferris's Top Taggart Field.