DETROIT – Drew Wyble kicked a 26-yard field goal as time expired to lift Michigan Tech football over Wayne State 30-27 at Tom Adams Stadium Saturday night. Quarterback Will Ark commanded a 14 play, 76-yard final drive to put the Huskies in position to win over the final 5 minutes, 45 seconds of the fourth quarter.
A tight game throughout, Ark connected with wide receiver Darius Willis for a pair of fade route touchdowns and running back William Marano also ran in for a score. Wayne State posted 556 yards of total offense but Tech made more plays in critical moments to steal victory on Warrior homecoming.
“I thought our kids just kept battling in a what we knew was going to be a tough game,” said head coach Steve Olson. “We knew in a game like this on the road, we were going to have to overcome adversity. We deserved to win today because we kept fighting and never gave up on it. I’m really proud of the effort of our players. There were a lot of big plays made on both sides of the ball and we made the key plays at the crucial moments.”
A key turning point came with 10:59 of the fourth quarter. Tied 27-27, Wayne State’s Myren Harris broke loose for 85 yards but Kevin Lee forced a fumble on the Husky nine-yard line. Fred Kemp scooped it and ran 18 yards for Tech on the turnover.
Back on offense, Ark was sacked on third down, forcing MTU to punt. After a quick stop on defense, the Huskies completed their game-winning field goal drive.
Ark ended 19-40 for 139 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He connected with eight different receivers, including Willis, who finished with a team-high 49 yards through the air. Marano helped establish the ground game with 73 yard on 20 attempts (3.6 avg.). Marano’s one-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter tied the game at 27 and capped a seven-play, 69-yard effort. Josh Cribben also pitched in with an interception and Michel Bates Jr. had a forced fumble.
The Huskies totaled 306 of offense, punted five times, and collected a pair of sacks. Conversely, Wayne State quarterback Chase Churchill threw for 214 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Harris was explosive in the backfield, with 20 rushes for 230 yards and one touchdown. Travon Davis made three catches for 96 yards and one touchdown at the top of the WSU receiving corp.
The Warriors capitalized on first half turnovers to take a 20-13 lead into halftime, but Wyble was a perfect 3-3 on field goals, including a 35-yarder through the uprights to keep the Huskies within striking distance.
“I thought our special teams, especially Drew (Wyble) had a tremendous game both punting and kicking today,” Olson said. “Brenden Thompson did a nice job starting at nose guard and then Nate Lajoie came in a brought exceptional effort as well to make a couple of huge plays. Some of our offensive weapons also stepped up when we needed it. Will Marano and Jared Smith both ran very hard. We were also able to get the ball to Darius Willis and Justin Davis on the outside. We started clicking with some of those guys and that’s definitely a positive as we move forward.”
Michigan Tech has won two straight games and heads to Marquette, Michigan to face rival Northern Michigan University (3-3, 1-1 GLIAC) for the Miner’s Cup on Saturday, October 16 at 12 p.m. EST.