Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, October 15, 2010 Tony Nicolette's GLIAC Column this week's action

Michigan Tech (4-1, 4-1) at #8 Hillsdale (4-1, 5-1)

The Huskies hit the back end of a difficult, two-game roadie by visiting Muddy Waters Stadium. They have to be smarting a bit after having their defense torched for 43 points last week, most of which came at the hands of Saginaw Valley's back-up quarterback. They'll face an even tougher test this week against a Hillsdale offense that beats Tech at its own game: not a lot of flash, precise line-play, and a TON of flawless execution.

Tech Keys:

- Stop the Big Plays - Saginaw Valley had a TON of them last week, especially in the run game. Tech is not a team well-suited to coming from behind, so giving up big plays that net points could put them behind the eight-ball early. They must avoid this and not get forced into having to throw all the time when on offense.

- Ambush - The Charger defense has its issues, but they have the playmakers to stop Phil Milbrath should they decide to load-up on him. He leads the Huskies in rushing and receiving, and has been Steve Short's go-to guy in nearly every situation. I'd plan on him being spied on, and see if I can't get an Akeem Cason, a Brian LaChappelle, or someone else to step up and be a big-play guy. Let's face it, when the Huskies have needed a play this year it's been Short or Milbrath. If the Chargers find a way to take them away, MTU must have someone else step-up and surprise HC with big plays.
Hillsdale Keys:

- Get in the backfield - So far this season Steve Short has only been sacked twice. The Tech line play has been great, and we all know the kind of escape artist Short is back there anyway. Hillsdale must find a way to make the MTU QB uncomfortable and force some mistakes. Otherwise, he and Phil Milbrath will march up and down the field with the same efficiency as Weatherhead and Glendening.

- Speaking of Weatherhead and Glendening - These two have essentially had their stat-lines copied from one week to the next. I really believe that they simply need to make sure that they don't "slip up" this week and the Chargers will be able to move the ball on a Husky defense that may have been exposed a bit last week.
Prediction - Despite the gashing they took a week ago, Tech still sports the league's stingiest defense in terms of scoring. That may be so, but I like what the GLIAC's number-two scoring offense brings into this one a lot more. Something has to give, and I think it'll be Tech?s D. I was suspicious of that unit when the season started, especially given the serious regression it showed over the last three years. Saggy was only a single game in 2010 and the Huskies may prove me wrong, but I think teams with legit offenses (especially ones that can show good balance) post serious problems for Tech and Hillsdale certainly fits that description. Hillsdale's defense is improving but is still a work in progress, and these two clubs have had a few shoot-outs in recent years. I think this has the makings of another one, but I like the Chargers to win. Hillsdale 38, Michigan Tech 33.

Rest of Tony's Column

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