HOUGHTON, Mich. — Michigan Tech pulled the upset! Phil Milbrath rushed for 293 yards on 33 carries to lift Michigan Tech to a 20-17 win over No. 1-ranked Grand Valley State today at Sherman Field. The Huskies (6-2, 6-2 GLIAC) totaled 368 yards of total offense and held the Lakers (8-1, 7-1 GLIAC) to just 16 rushing yards in beating GVSU for the first time since 1984.
“It’s a great victory for our team and our school,” said head coach Tom Kearly. “We knew before the game that Phil (Milbrath) was going to have to carry the load, and he had a heck of a football game.
“It was a total team effort. I couldn’t be more proud of the guys.”
The crowd of 1,976 fans were rocking from the very beginning of the game. Mike Rittenour intercepted a tipped pass at the Grand Valley 14-yard line. The next play, Milbrath broke through the line and reached the endzone to put the Huskies on top 7-0 just 13 seconds into the contest.
The Lakers drove to the Huskies’ 10 on the ensuing drive, but settled for a 27-yard field goal to make the score 7-3.
Short and Milbrath moved Tech 62 yards on its second possession of the game, but the drive ended on a GVSU interception in the endzone.
The teams battled for field position through the rest of the half. Tech had the ball in the red zone twice more in the half, but could only muster a 23-yard Tyler Cattelino field goal to take a 10-3 lead into the locker room.
Tech took the 10-3 halftime lead and pushed the margin to 20-3 by midway through the third quarter.
Milbrath found the endzone from a yard out to cap a 68-yard drive on the opening possession of the second half. Later in the third quarter, GVSU fumbled the snap on a punt attempt and gave the Black and Gold the ball at the 19-yard line. Tyler Cattelino kicked a 26-yard field goal to make the score 20-3.
The Lakers trimmed the margin to 20-10 with 5:47 to go in the third as Jovonne Augustus made a leaping catch over cornerback Quinn Parnell and scored from 45 yards out.
The teams battled for field position in the fourth quarter. Tech turned the ball over on downs at the GV 27-yard line with 8:15 to play but got the ball right back as Chet White intercepted a pass on the next play.
After a punt, GVSU drove 89 yards in just 1:34 to get into the endzone again. Augustus made another jump ball catch—this one in the endzone—to make the score 20-17 with four minutes to go.
The Huskies, clinging to the three-point lead, could not pick up a first down to run out the clock and were forced to punt. Matt DeJong’s boot put GVSU at their own 20. The Tech defense came up with the stop of the game.
The Lakers moved the ball just one yard in four plays. Junior defensive end Todd Storm figured into his fourth sack of the game on fourth down to give Tech the ball at the Grand Valley 15 with 2:40 to play. Milbrath picked up a first down, allowing Tech to kill the remaining clock.
Coach Kearly got a Gatorade bath.
Milbrath’s 293-yard day broke his career high for the second straight week. The 5-9, 200-pound senior gained 196 of those yards in the first half as he chewed up 16.3 yards per carry.
Quarterback Steve Short threw the ball just 12 times, completing seven for 55 yards.
Tech held on to the ball for 35:05 of the game’s 60 minutes including 12:23 of the fourth quarter. The Huskies outgained the Lakers 368 to 285 in total offense.
Jesse Vandenberg totaled seven tackles to lead the Tech defense. Storm added six tackles including 3.0 sacks.
The win keeps the Huskies in the hunt for an NCAA Playoff berth. Tech has two games remaining on its 2010 regular season schedule. It plays at Ferris State next Saturday (Nov. 6) before returning home to face Northern Michigan Nov. 13.
Notes: Milbrath has rushed for 543 yards in the last two games combined. He had 250 vs. Northwood last Saturday (Oct. 23) … GVSU had won 16 straight games over Tech before today … GVSU entered the game with the GLIAC’s second-highest rushing average at 238 yards per game … Storm has a sack in five straight games and a team-leading 7.5 sacks on the season.