Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Saturday, September 29, 2007

37-0: The Shootout that Never Was

The Hillsdale College football program posted its first shutout in 11 years against, of all teams, Michigan Tech. If the wheels haven't officially fallen off of the Tech wagon, they are wobbling mightily. A point scoring machine that had reeled off 9 straight GLIAC wins going back to last year's Hillsdale game turned heads with a big win over Northwood. But ever since the upset of Northwood, Tech has scored just 6 points in its last two games.

Wow! Many thought this was going to be a high scoring affair, myself included. You know, a real shoot-out, one of those games that makes people across the country think nobody plays defense in the GLIAC. The Hillsdale Chargers played some serious defense today.

The Charger defense looked even more impressive than it did against Ashland. They helped their turnover ratio numbers immensely with 4 interceptions to be +3 on the day. That puts them at +10 on the year. Hillsdale was ranked #11 in the nation in turnover ratio entering the game. Palmer Schoening and Josh Hutchinson both ended big Tech drives with picks inside the 10 and at the goal line respectively. Tom Korte picked off a pass for the second week in a row. High school teammate Alex Mileskiewicz gave the Chargers a short field that led to the game's final points.

Korte getting 13 stops is par for every Saturday, but look at the yardage breakdown on those 13. 4 were for no gain. 3 were for gains of 1 yard. 5 were on 2 yard gains. 1 was for a 3 yard gain. Talk about stepping up and plugging the middle.

Early this season, Michigan Tech quarterback Steve Short was making a reputation for himself as one of the elite gunslingers in the GLIAC. Hillsdale held the sophomore to just 9 or 21 passing for 110 yards and the afore mentioned interceptions. The 110 yards is 134 less than the 244 the Huskies had averaged in passing offense so far this season. Usually a rushing threat, Short gained just 19 yards on 9 carries. Eric Weber took away 8 of Short's yards on the Charger's only sack of the day. Marvin Atkins was held to 79 yards rushing, 92 less than he gained against Grand Valley last week. The 219 yards of total offense surrendered by the Chargers is 189 less than what Tech had achieved per game so far this season. Most importantly, it is a huge improvement from last week's showing at Ferris State.

Marcellus Wade added 8 stops and Weber had 6 in a great effort from the Hillsdale defense.

On offense Mark Nicolet was again spectacular completing 34 of 47 passes for 376 and 4 touchdowns and 1 interception (just his 2nd of the season). The 34 completions are a Hillsdale record. This was Nicolet's 4th straight 300 yard-plus passing game. No Hillsdale quarterback had ever gone over 300 more than 2 games in a row until Nicolet had his 3rd in a row last week. So far this year he has recorded games of 227 (played just over 2 quarters in blow-out of Gannon), 376, 426, 335, and today's 376. Entering today's game Nicolet was 2nd in the country with an average of 341 yards per game. He was also 2nd in total passing yards with 1364 behind West Texas A&M's Keith Null. Null had another freakish day, completing 36 of 52 passes for 390 yards and 5 scores.

When a guy like Nicolet puts up big passing numbers, receivers are going to have big days. Head Coach Keith Otterbein told the local Hillsdale paper today, "In our Tiger personnel set, with three receivers and a tight end, are you going to stop (Matt) Patillo who’s catching the ball very well, are you going to stop (Nick) Gurica, are you going to stop (A.J.) Kegg, are you going to stop (Aaron) Waldie?" Tech seemed to prefer clamping down on Waldie as the D2 leader in receiving yards picked up 90 yards (nearly 50 off his per game average) on 9 catches but was kept out of the endzone for the first time this season. Gurica picked up the slack with a single-game Hillsdale record 13 grabs for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. When both were covered, Nicolet found Patillo 6 times for 45 yards and 2 scores. 10 different Chargers caught passes Saturday.

The Charger offensive line had another dominant showing, giving Nicolet all kinds of time to work and plowing the way for Vinnie Panizzi's 82 yards on 17 carries and Billy Kanitz' 2 yard touchdown plunge in the 3rd quarter.

All-in-all it was another great day to wear the Charger Blue!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Correction--MTU was Korte's first interception this season.

Andy Losik said...

Who picked off the pass that led to Petro's first fg at Ferris State?

Sarah said...

It was Matt Szula

Andy Losik said...

Thanks Sarah! Second time this year the other team's radio guys on the webcast screwed up. The NMU crew said Knudsen caused the fumble at Northern and the FSU guys gave the pick to Korte.

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