Clash in the Keweenaw: GVSU vs. Michigan Tech

This Saturday the Lakers embark on their longest roadtrip of the regular season, a nine hour voyage to the farthest reaches of Michigan’s upper peninsula. The destination is Houghton, in the middle of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The opponent is the Huskies of Michigan Tech. This is the third time in four years GVSU has travelled North to face the “Techies” on U.P. soil. The all-time series between the schools is quite lopsided with GVSU holding a 21-2 series advantage since the Huskies and Lakers first met in 1976. GVSU also currently holds a 16-game winning streak against Tech, one which they will look to deepen on October 30 at 1:00 pm.

For 2010 GVSU is now undefeated at 8-0 and sits atop the GLIAC standings. Michigan Tech is 5-2 and coming off a 62-30 drumming of Northwood. Some may look at the Huskies 43-31 loss to the hapless Cardinals of SVSU as a sign this is a weak football team. On the contrary, Michigan Tech is a solid squad and they pose quite a good challenge for the Lakers. In 2010 MTU averages a healthy 407 yards of total offense, with that total being split rather evenly between between the rush and pass attacks. The Huskies have a dangerous duo in QB Steve Short and runningback Phil Milbrath.

On the season Short has compiled 1305 total passing yards with 13 touchdowns through Tech’s seven games thus far. Short’s season-high in pass-yards came against Saginaw Valley, where he put up 310 yards. Oddly enough the following game against Hillsdale he had his worst outting of the year, with only 98 total yards of passing on the day. In contrast McMahon put up 240 yards on the Hillsdale secondary, a stat that certainly jumps out at you. Both QB’s managed to score a TD on the Chargers. Why am I highlighting Hillsdale for this comparison? Both MTU and GVSU have both played Hillsdale, and Hillsdale is the other “top-ranked” program in the GLIAC at the current time and appears to be a decent measuring stick.

When you compare rushing attack, Milbrath has 971 yards on the season against Sherrod’s 636. Here’s the real differnce however. Tech’s next best rusher is non-other than Steve Short, their QB. Short has 251 yards for the 2010 season. When you look at the Lakers rushing attack Norman Shuford sits behind Sherrod with 401 yards, and right after Shuford is Kyle McMahon (GVSU QB) and he’s compiled 340 rushing yards. In a QB rushing comparison Short has only one rushing TD while McMahon has nine, this makes it plain to see GVSU has an option when it comes to red-zone scoring that Tech may not have. With the Lakers defense stinging from a few ding-ups at Ferris, keep an eye on adjustments.

With three games remaining on the regular season schedule (including Tech) the Lakers are looking to garner top-spot in the super-region three playoff field. However, with UMD and Augustana undefeated in the NSIC, that will be a tough feat to accomplish. The Bulldogs of UMD play 7-1 St. Cloud State Saturday, so an upset might be lurking out in there which would make securing home-field easier for the Lakers. There are however three tough games remaining before playoff talk, including the Battle of the Valley’s on Nov. 13th in Saginaw. The Cardinals would love nothing more than to damage our playoff hopes. One game at a time.

Kickoff at Sherman Field in Houghton is 1:00 pm EST Saturday, CowboyEric and a small crew will be present. Until Next time, go Lakers!

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