Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, September 28, 2007 Tony Nicolette's Gliac Column

Tony Nicolette
September 25, 2007

Michigan Tech (3-1, 3-2) at Hillsdale (3-1, 3-1)

While the fact that Tech lost to Grand Valley was not so much of a shock, Hillsdale not getting it done against Ferris was (in my mind) rather surprising. Both teams look to get things back on track this week and keep their GLIAC title and playoff hopes alive. Tech's defense has been shown to be weaker than they'd like, and Steve Short looked human last week for the first time in nearly a full season. Meanwhile, Hillsdale proved that even a red-hot offense is not a foolproof cure-all for overcoming mental errors, turnovers, and special teams breakdowns.

Tech Keys:
- Obviously, Steve Short needs to forget last week and do his thing. When he has his game together, he's darn near impossible to contain.
- Keep the running game going with Marvin Atkins. I think he's struggled with his health this year, but he looked impressive at times against GV. If he keeps getting healthier, his numbers should continue to get better.
- Play some "D". The Huskies have now given up more than 40 points three times this year. I know I harp on this, but you just can't expect to win every week (let alone more games than you lose) when you give up 30, 35, 40 or more points. One mistake by your offense and you're out the door with a loss. It's just a risky way to go.

Hillsdale Keys:
- Clean it up. Hillsdale really was the better team last week, but they had too many mistakes to overcome. If they can minimize the mental breakdowns and not give Tech any advantages (short fields, cheap scores, etc.), this is a very winnable contest for them.
- Watch the GV tape. While Hillsdale's defense is not as athletic as GV's defense from top to bottom, I'm sure they can learn what the Lakers were doing scheme wise to give Short trouble. GV did not put an overwhelming amount of pressure on Short, but they did confuse him and force him into bad decisions. This is the sort of thing Hillsdale should be able to replicate, at least to a certain degree.
- I say it every week, but it bears repeating: Mark Nicolet is playing great, as is the rest of the offense for that matter, so don't change a thing. Yards and points can be had against Tech's defense and I don't see anything that they are doing that is glaringly different/better than the other defenses that the Chargers have lit up this year.

Prediction: While I predicted Tech to be near the top of the league this year, I think their defense has really been "found out" the last couple of weeks, and I may have been a bit too high on them. Obviously, Hillsdale's offense is at or near the top of the GLIAC in just about every category. That combination does not bode well for the Huskies. While I believe that Tech can make a game of it, I think Hillsdale will just be too much at home - not to mention they're looking to make someone pay for a loss they feel like they shouldn't have suffered last week. Hillsdale 52, Tech 34.

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