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Special teams plays propel Cardinals to 17-16 victory at Michigan Tech

Special teams plays propel Cardinals to 17-16 victory at Michigan Tech

The Basics
Saginaw Valley 17, Michigan Tech 16
SVSU (3-2, 3-2 GLIAC) | MTU (2-3, 2-3 GLIAC)
Sherman Field - Houghton, Mich.

HOUGHTON, Mich. - The SVSU football team made the trek up to Houghton, Michigan for a GLIAC North Division battle against the Michigan Tech University Huskies on Saturday (Oct. 1) afternoon. After a tight first half, the Cardinals came back in the second half, using solid defense and special teams plays to come out on top with a 17-16 victory over the Huskies on their homecoming.

MTU scored first in the contest with a 44-yard rushing touchdown from senior running back Keven Miller. The extra point was blocked by SV's Bryan Jones and recovered by Matt McKoy, giving Michigan Tech a 6-0 lead heading into the second quarter. This play would prove to be pivotal later in the game. 

The Huskies missed a chance to take a two-possession lead after missing a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter. From there, the score remained a 6-0 Michigan Tech lead and the teams would trade defensive stops.

As the time drew closer to half, the Cardinals created a turnover in Husky territory by forcing a fumble, recovered by SV's Heath Williams. The turnover gave SVSU the ball at MTU's 39-yard line and led to a seven-play drive. Alex Kenrick finished the drive with a 41-yard field goal as time expired with a 6-3 score at the half. 

Both teams would not score in the third quarter. However, MTU's first drive in the fourth quarter resulted in a three-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Cowie to Alex Sherinbow. The Huskies would take a 13-3 lead early into the fourth quarter.

The Cards found the end zone on the very next series when Jacob LeClair connected with Marq Johnson for an 82-yard touchdown reception. Following the Kenrick extra point, the Cardinals trailed just 13-10. 

Michigan Tech converted on a 29-yard field goal following an SVSU interception and pushed its lead to 16-10 with two minutes left in the game. 

Following that Tech field goal, SVSU's Marvin White would take the ensuing kick return 100 yards to the house for his first special teams touchdown of the season. Alex Kenrick tacked-on the extra point to give the Cardinals the 17-16 lead and their third win on the season after stalling the Huskies on a pair of offensive possessions.

Inside the Boxscore

  • McKoy and Dillon Dixon had a game-high 11 tackles to lead the way defensively, with Bryan Jones adding 10 stops.
  • McKoy also forced a fumble, recovered by Williams. The Cardinals have forced a fumble in every game so far this season.
  • Four Cardinals recorded a half sack in the game. Six players also recorded more than half a tackle for loss. 
  • Joe Craven had five tackles with a half sack and two-and-a-half tackles for loss.
  • Johnson led the receiving game with seven receptions for 133 yards and a score. The 133 yards mark a career-high for the sophomore.
  • LeClair went 17-of-43 for 215 yards through the air with a touchdown and an interception.
  • Kenrick was 1-for-2 on field goals and would convert on both extra points. He hit a field goal from 41 yards and missed from 44-yards out.
  • MTU posted a 352-333 edge in total offense while SVSU narrowly edged the Huskies with 18-15 total first downs. 

From Head Coach Jim Collins

"Anytime you can get on the bus, drive eight hours and beat a good football team on their homecoming, it is a big win. This game was a testament to the grit that our players possess. We battled for 60 minutes and never once gave in. Our defense played tremendous and our special teams made a difference with the blocked extra-point, the 41-yard field goal and the big return. All in all, we did enough on offense to win but I know we can do better. We just have to keep working."

Up Next...

Saginaw Valley return to Wickes Memorial Stadium and host GLIAC North division rival Northern Michigan on Saturday (Oct. 8) for Homecoming. The Wildcats (3-2, 3-1 GLIAC) are coming off a 54-14 home victory over Walsh.

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