MTU Prevails In The "Battle At The Ballpark"

Players gather for the coin flip at Fifth Third Ballpark (Photo by Ed Hyde)
Players gather for the coin flip at Fifth Third Ballpark (Photo by Ed Hyde)

Comstock Park, Mich. - A solid performance on both sides of the ball lifted Michigan Tech to an impressive 38-6 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) football victory over Ferris State in the "Battle At The Ballpark" held at Fifth Third Ballpark Saturday (Oct. 3) night in Comstock Park, Mich.

The Huskies built a 21-3 lead and rolled up 427 yards of total offense while limiting the Bulldogs to only 164 total yards to win the contest before a crowd of 2,964 fans at the home of Minor League Baseball's West Michigan Whitecaps.

"We're disappointed with the outcome of the game and some injuries really affected us out there tonight," said FSU head coach Jeff Pierce

MTU struck first with 7:34 to go in the first quarter on Mike Macpherson's one-yard scoring run to finish a 33-yard drive in nine plays. 

The Huskies then increased their lead to 14-0 with a 75-yard march early in the second quarter, which was capped by another Macpherson one-yard TD.

FSU trimmed the advantage to 14-3 on a 33-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Shawn Snoor with 7:33 to go in the first half as the Bulldogs drove 47 yards in eight plays for their first score of the contest.

Michigan Tech, however, answered with a 76-yard drive in 10 plays capped by a four-yard touchdown run from Marvin Atkins.

Ferris cut the MTU lead to 21-6 at halftime on a 34-yard field goal from Snoor as time expired in the initial half.  The Bulldogs drove 43 yards in seven plays while chewing up the final 2:24 of the second quarter.

Michigan Tech closed the door with a pair of third-quarter scores and another TD early in the final frame.  The Huskies marched 72 yards in 14 plays over the first 6:48 of the second half for the first score as quarterback Brent Heim found Pat Carroll on a four-yard scoring toss.  MTU later added a 27-yard field goal by Tyler Cattelino with 2:22 left in the period.

Finally, Atkins found paydirt from nine-yards away with 13:22 left in the game to account for the final score.

Michigan Tech rolled up 427 yards of total offense and 27 first downs, including 270 yards on the ground.  Atkins paced the Huskies' rushing attack with a game-high 196 yards and two scores.  Heim threw for 157 yards on 15-of-20 passing.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, were limited to only 11 first downs and 164 yards with 132 coming on the ground and another 32 in the air.  Sophomore tailback David Freeman led FSU with 53 rushing yards while sophomore quarterback Tom Schneider tallied a team-best two catches for 14 yards.

Defensively, senior linebacker Matt Ryan totaled a game-high 12 stops for FSU, which included seven solo hits.  Fellow senior linebacker Nick Butler added 11 tackles and senior linebacker Chad Schoen finished with 10 stops as the Bulldogs had three linebackers all reach double-figures in total tackles.

Chet White led the Michigan Tech defense with six tackles and the Huskies also intercepted three Bulldog passes in the game. 

Michigan Tech owned a commanding edge in time of possession as they held the ball for 39:18 compared to only 20:42 for the Bulldogs.

"It was a good team win," said MTU head coach Tom Kearly. "We've been through a lot of adversity with injuries and a tough schedule, but we never quit. Marvin ran hard, and we played very good assignment football on defense."

Ferris State fell to 1-5 overall and 0-5 in the GLIAC while the Huskies snapped a four-game losing skid and improved to 1-4 both overall and in conference play.

FSU served as the home team for the GLIAC contest and the event helped raise funds for the Bulldog football program.  A number of special pregame activities took place in conjunction with the game co-hosted by Ferris State Athletics and the West Michigan Whitecaps.

"We enjoyed having the game in this facility and it is a great venue to play in," Pierce said.  "I thought it was a great idea, but unfortuntley the weather may have kept some people away tonight.  This is something that maybe we might look to do again in the future if the situation is right."

FSU returns home to host the Indianapolis Greyhounds in its annual homecoming contest Saturday, Oct. 10, at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.  Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (EDT).