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.
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 d2football.com 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.