Michigan Tech senior kicker Garrett Mead hit a 39-yard field goal as time expired as he gave Michigan Tech the 34-31 victory in the Miner’s Cup game.
Tech opened the scoring on a halfback pass from John Williams to Andrew Clark for a 43-yard touchdown. However, earlier in the drive, Wildcat defenders appeared to knock the ball out of the hands of Tech’s Ian Wienke. NMU recovered the ball, but the officials said that the receiver was down. The replay clearly showed the ball was fumbled and boos from the fans could not overturn the call. A Twitter pic from Jerry Taylor of ABC 10 showed the ball was loose.
Last time I checked- when the ball is clearly out and you’re not on the ground- that’s a fumble… pic.twitter.com/CQTrreZWif
— Jerry Taylor (@jtabc10sports) September 28, 2014
Northern didn’t respond until the second quarter when Shaye Brown’s 41-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Tucker capped off a nine-play 78-yard drive. Tech scored on back-to-back drives to take a 21-7 lead, but Brown hooked up with Austin Young for a 14-yard touchdown pass with four seconds to go in the first half to make it 21-14 at half.
“Our coaches really emphasize not giving up on anything, so we knew we were down, we’re not out,” Brown said.
After a muffed punt and NMU recovery by Mark Walker, running back Wyatt Jurasin scored NMU’s first running touchdown with an 11-yard scamper to tie the game. The solid punt coverage unit then forced a safety, as Tech punter Ryan Van Goethem kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone. NMU took their first lead of the game 23-21 on the safety.
Tech responded with 10 straight points from a Charlie Leffingwell touchdown run and a Mead 39-yard field goal.
With 1:47 left in the game, Brown once again hit Tucker for a 10-yard touchdown. The ‘Cats were able to complete the two-point conversion on a trick play, where Tucker lined up in the backfield taking the direct snap. Tucker then handed the ball off to Young, who threw the pass. Brown had lined up as the slotback and slipped into the end zone to complete the conversion and tie the game.
“We have a couple of two-point plays and we practice them all every week. That is the one we chose to go with and luckily for us it happened to work out,” said Ostrwosky.
Senior quarterback Tyler Scarlett was able to orchestrate a nine-play 39-yard drive to set the Huskies up with the field goal attempt. Mead hit the field goal to win the game and the Miner’s Cup for Michigan Tech.
“It was a heartbreaker. As a U.P. kid, this is a game you always dream of playing in and winning it,” Young said.
It was the second heartbreaking loss in a row, after letting a lead slip late against the Hillsdale Chargers last week. The ‘Cats are now 1-3 and 0-3 in GLIAC play.
“It was a heartbreaking deal for us, it was the second week in a row,” said NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky. “I love everything about this team, anybody who understands football will look at this team and see that we are fighting.”
NMU travels to Saginaw Valley (0-4, 0-3 GLIAC) next week.