Story and photo courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletics
HOUGHTON, Mich. - Michigan Tech dominated all facets of today's football game with Hillsdale in earning a 42-14 victory at Sherman Field. The Huskies scored touchdowns on four of their six drives in the opening half and shut out the Chargers in the second half to move to 6-3.
Tech, with only one game remaining on its 2012 schedule, has guaranteed itself a winning season.
"This might be as well as we've played all year," said head coach Tom Kearly. "Offense, defense, (special) teams all played well. We didn't make many mistakes. We weren't great at getting off the field on some third downs, but we made the plays when it counted."
Two of the game's biggest plays came from DeShawn Nelson. The sophomore cornerback intercepted a pass in the endzone in the third quarter to quell a Hillsdale scoring threat. He then picked off Anthony Misfud's out route pass at his own 20 and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown. The second of the two interceptions iced the game for the hosts.
Tech's formula for beating Hillsdale included holding the Chargers to 86 rushing yards and going nearly plus-five minutes in time of possession. HC entered the contest averaging 202 yards on the ground and a GLIAC-leading 34 minutes of possession.
The Huskies forced the visitors to try to play catchup most of the game with plenty of early offense.
Tight end Bryan LaChapelle was critical in the Huskies' hot start. The senior hauled in four passes for 58 yards and three touchdowns in the first 22 minutes to help the Black and Gold build a 21-7 advantage.
Hillsdale (6-4 overall, 6-3 GLIAC) answered with a touchdown run from Joe Glendening, but Tech worked the clock late in the second half to go back up by two scores. Cole Welch converted a one-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds remaining in the half to make the score 28-14 at the break.
Tech's defensive really went to work in the second half. The results of Hillsdale's four second-half drives were punt, interception, interception, punt.
Scarlett added in a perfectly thrown pass to Pat Carroll on a slant pattern in the third quarter for his fourth touchdown pass of the day. The sophomore completed 18-of-24 passes for 247 yards in the contest. He has eclipsed his own school record for passing yardage in a season with 2,427 (old record was 2,406 set last year) and added to the record for touchdown passes in a season (now 25).
Michigan Tech held a big advantage in total offense by amassing 439 yards and holding Hillsdale to 268. Five different ball carriers helped the hosts rack up 192 yards on the ground. Charlie Leffingwell rushed for 63 on 18 carries. Akeem Cason posted a net of 62 yards after setting the tone for the game with a 62-yard run on the game's second play from scrimmage.
Scarlett rushed six times for 47 yards, most of those runs for first downs as the Huskies converted nine-of-14 third down plays. HC was 3-of-12 on third down and 2-of-5 on fourth down.
Nelson led all Huskies with seven tackles to go with his two interceptions. He set two school records—one for interception return yards in a game (103) and another for interception return yards in a season (123).
Michigan Tech will wrap up its 2012 season next Saturday (Nov. 10) at GLIAC North Division Wayne State. Depending upon the outcomes of other games tonight, the Huskies could be playing for a share of the GLIAC North Division crown.