Courtesy of Hillsdale Athletics
Throughout the 2010 season, the Hillsdale College football team has made its mark with its methodical and productive offense. But on a glorious fall day at Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium, it was the defense’s turn to shine.
Hillsdale’s defense held Michigan Tech University to a combined 3-for-16 on third and fourth-down conversions in a 24-17 Chargers’ win Saturday afternoon. Hillsdale, ranked eighth in the nation, has won five straight and is 6-1 overall (5-1 GLIAC). After a 4-0 start, the Huskies have dropped two straight and are 4-2.
Hillsdale heads to Wayne State next Saturday for the first of two back-to-back road games.
The Huskies came into the game leading the GLIAC in points allowed and were among the conference’s toughest unit in yards allowed. But it was the Hillsdale defense, a much-improved unit lately - who came up with big stops at the most crucial times.
The Chargers stopped Michigan Tech nine times out of 11 tries on third down, while the Huskies were 1-of-5 on fourth-down conversions in the game. There were times the linebackers came up to stop runs, other times it was the secondary blanketing MTU’s receivers. No matter how it was done, the end result was Hillsdale limiting Michigan Tech to its lowest scoring output of the season.
Six different players had four or more total tackles for Hillsdale, and the team recorded five tackles-for-loss in the contest. Freshman linebacker Jake Weddle led the team with eight total tackles, followed by five (four solo) from junior captain Nick Hixson (pictured). Six different players had tackles-for-loss in the game, with the biggest perhaps coming from freshman Skyler Davis. In the fourth quarter, a Michigan Tech snap on a punt went awray, and Davis tackled the team’s punter, who was running the ball in an attempt to make a first down. It was the last of several adventurous plays by the team’s punting units.
Michigan Tech took a 7-0 lead after blocking a Hillsdale punt in the first quarter. The Huskies defense stifled the Charger offense through the entire first quarter, and stopped Hillsdale on its first two consecutive drives of the game, the first time that’s happened to the Chargers all season.
But once the team’s offense found a rhythm, it did like it has all season, led by the punishing running of sophomore Joe Glendening. After being contained through the first three quarters, he wore down the Michigan Tech defense late in the game, carrying the ball 12 times for 42 yards in the fourth quarter. His last five carries covered 31 yards, more than six yards per carry.
For the game, Glendening led all players with 36 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns. He plowed in from four yards out to put Hillsdale in front 14-7, with 6:56 left in the first half. His second score came on a brilliant play call that was set up earlier in the game, on Hillsdale's first score.
The Chargers’ first touchdown came on a one-yard plunge to H-back Cam White. On Glendening’s second score, QB Troy Weatherhead faked a handoff to White, then pitched the ball back to Glendening, who galloped in untouched from a yard out to put Hillsdale back into the lead, 21-17. A 30-yard field goal by Colin McGreevy with 8:49 left in the fourth quarter capped the scoring.
Weatherhead went 21-for-30 for 215 yards. Senior Andre Holmes was the leading receiver, with six catches for 85 yards. Tight end Bren Bergquist played another solid game, with four catches for 39 yards, and White collected three passes for 44 yards.
This was the first time Hillsdale's offense was held to less than 27 points in a game since Sept. 19, 2009. But the Charger defense has allowed a total of 27 points over the past 10 quarters, dating back to the second half of the team's 35-21 win over Saginaw Valley State on Oct. 2.