Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, October 15, 2010 Huskies’ football faces tough challenge in Hillsdale

Huskies’ football faces tough challenge in Hillsdale (Original Post)

After allowing just nine points per game through the first four games, the 4-1 Huskies lost their first game of the year by allowing 43 points against Saginaw Valley State last weekend. The defense will try to get back on track this Saturday afternoon in Hillsdale, who is currently ranked eighth in the nation in the Division II Coaches’ poll with a 4-1 record (their only loss being a 44-41 loss against Grand Valley State).

“We’re excited, because you don’t get to play a nationally ranked team every week,” said head coach Tom Kearly. “We know it’s going to be a great challenge, and we can’t completely slow them down, but we won’t change our approach – it was great to be 4-0, but last week was just one game; now we’ll see how we respond to getting knocked down.”

The defense in particular will need to respond big if it hopes to shut down the Hillsdale Charger offense that joins Grand Valley State as the only GLIAC teams ahead of Michigan Tech in scoring offense (GVSU – 41.7 points per game, Hillsdale – 35.8, Michigan Tech – 33.2).

Kearly noted that the Hillsdale offense is slightly different than the SVSU offense that racked up 297 rushing yards against Michigan Tech’s then top-ranked defense (still, the Huskies are just a yard away shy of first in GLIAC rushing defense).

“Their quarterback is not as much of a threat to run as SVSU’s QB,” said Kearly. Troy Weatherhead, Hillsdale’s signal caller may not be very mobile, but he is the best quarterback in the GLIAC in total offense (262.8 yards per game), despite his -59 overall rushing yards. Weatherhead’s 272.7 yards per game through the air is nearly 65 yards ahead of Husky quarterback Steve Short, who is fourth in the GLIAC with 206.2 passing yards per game. Weatherhead is completing 84 percent of his passes, with 13 touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Chargers are not without a solid rushing game, though. Joe Glendening is currently leading the GLIAC with 150.2 rushing yards per game, more than 35 yards per game ahead of the Huskies’ Phil Milbrath, who is currently third in the GLIAC with 114.4 yards per game. Both backs are averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Something has to give between the Huskies and Chargers, the two top GLIAC teams in terms of time of possession, both averaging over 33 minutes of possession per game.

“We have to stay on the field with our offense,” said Kearly. “We need to convert on third down and make sure we score in the redzone.”

Even though the Chargers’ only loss is to Grand Valley State, Hillsdale escaped with just a five-point win over Lake Erie (Michigan Tech beat Lake Erie 42-13) in their third conference game.

Saturday promises to be an intriguing road match-up for the Huskies, who kick off against the Chargers at 1:30 p.m. Tune into WKMJ 93.5 FM for the game broadcast, and check back to for a game recap shortly after the game ends.

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