Houghton, Mich – The Huskies’ defense limited Northern Michigan to 220 yards of offense as sophomore Darius Willis threw two touchdown passes, and Michigan Tech earned its 12th straight Mineral Cup victory Saturday afternoon at GLAC football Chili Kerley Stadium. Senior Braxton Blackwell added a first-half interception and sophomore Brandon Michalak scored a touchdown for the Huskies in front of 1,629 fans.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Blackwell said. “We prepared a lot for this game and it meant a lot. It was important for us to come out for four quarters and play well and today I thought we did that for the first time this season.”
Together, the Huskies tallied up to 12 when they received a 20-year trophy following the game. In the year Michigan Tech has improved to 17-3 since the bowl’s inception in 2002 and is now 49-41-1 overall against the Wildcats in the rivalry dating back to 1920.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” defensive coordinator Brian Thomas said. In the northern part we have not seen them on film during the week and they were fighting their tails off. So kudos to us guys for making the right adjustments and finally finding a way to win.
Michigan Tech (3-4, 2-1 GLIAC) battled for field position in a low-scoring first half. Neither team had a chance in the red zone through two quarters, but senior quarterback Will Tark connected with Willis for 41 yards and ran down the NMU sideline to give Tech a 7-0 lead at halftime.
Adding to the lead in the third quarter, Ark fumbled the ball down the right sideline, and Willis threw it to Michalak in the end zone to cap a 5-play, 63-yard drive. Sophomore Drew Weible went 14-0.
Following back-to-back games, the Arches went on an eight-game streak that lasted just over four minutes on the afternoon. From the 29-yard line, he rolled to the right of the pocket and floated a pass to Willis on second down near the front pylon for a 21-0 edge.
The Wildcats put seven on the scoreboard on their next possession. Tyshon King rushed in for a two-yard score to make it 21-7, but that was as close as NMU would get. On fourth down and two, Austin Schlich tackled Brock Franklin for a three-yard loss at the NMU 31 with 3:55 left. Then, after picking up a pair of first downs on the ground, Arch took a knee in victory for Michigan Tech.
Mark Sippel led the team with 13 tackles (solo). Blackwell, Michael Bates Jr. and Hunter Buchel each added six. Both teams punted six times, and Brendon Lach averaged 41.7 yards in the light breeze for MTU. Ark led the Huskies with 12 carries for 52 yards. Will Marano rushed 17 times for 48 yards and Alec Moriarty had six carries for 26 yards.
Drake Davis and Zach Keane split quarterback duties for the Wildcats and combined for 173 yards through the air. MTU amassed 297 yards of total offense and led 18-11 on first downs.
“Both teams fought hard,” head coach Steve Olson said. “After an emotional game last week, I’m proud of our kids and staff, working hard and working hard on the field.” This game means a lot to growing children. Come out and get that “W” that’s important to us and hopefully the kids watching will want to come and play at Michigan Tech one day. It is something that we and the staff at NMU are very proud of here.
The Huskies hit the road to face defending Division II national champions Ferris State on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m., before returning to Houghton to host Grand Valley State in two weeks.