Courtesy of MTU Athletics
90TH SEASON KICKING OFF
Michigan Tech will kick off its 90th season of intercollegiate football on Saturday (Sept. 8). The Huskies’ first official season was 1920 (with three years of no teams because of World War II). Tech has an all-time football record of 340-331-17 (.507 winning percentage).
GLIAC OPENERS BODE WELL FOR HUSKIES
Michigan Tech is 12-2 in its last 14 conference opening games. The wins have come vs. Northern Michigan (2), Ashland (2), Mercyhurst (2), Lake Erie (2), Hillsdale, Northwood, Wayne State and Westminster. The only losses during the stretch were at Wayne State in 2006 and Hillsdale in 2009.
Michigan Tech’s team captains for the 2012 season are senior linebacker Justin Armstrong, senior defensive tackle Jacob Clark, senior tight end Bryan LaChapelle and senior offensive lineman Chris Mullen.
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR NOW A SOPHOMORE
Quarterback Tyler Scarlett enjoyed one of the best seasons in school history a year ago en route to being named GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Scarlett set school records in completion percentage (66.1), passing yards (2,406) and completions (199). He accounted for 18 touchdowns (two shy of the school record) and started all 11 games for the Huskies. Scarlett ranked in the top 10 in the league in three categories: sixth in passing yards per game (217.7), sixth in pass efficiency (146.9) and seventh in total offense (232.5).
Michigan Tech head coach Tom Kearly is in his seventh season as head coach and 13th overall with the Huskies program. The skipper owns a 37-26 record (.587 winning percentage) and has coached Tech to two of the eight eight-win seasons in school history. Kearly, a Hancock native and 1979 Winona State graduate, coached at Central Michigan for 19 seasons before returning to the Copper Country in 2000. He was the GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2010.
NEW LOOK DEFENSE
Nine starters from Tech’s 2011 defense have graduated after helping the Huskies lead the GLIAC in total defense and scoring defense a year ago. The unit will be anchored by senior linebacker Justin Armstrong, who was an All-GLIAC Second Team pick in 2011. Tech should also have a strong defensive line with returning starters Justin Blake and Jake Clark at the two tackle positions. Four of the five starting defensive backs will get their first starts on Saturday.
Tech has five senior wide receivers on the roster in Pat Carroll, Matt Curtin, Alex Elsenheimer, Mike Potes and Ethan Shaver. Four of the five have started games for the Huskies. Add in senior tight end Bryan LaChapelle, a two-time All-GLIAC honoree, and quarterback Tyler Scarlett will have plenty of options in the passing game.
RUNNING BACK BY COMMITTEE
Senior Cedrick Barber sits atop the Huskies’ depth chart, but there are four tailbacks that could see the field Saturday. Barber is joined by sophomore Charlie Leffingwell, senior Akeem Cason and senior Josh Hauswirth. Cason was the starter a year ago, posting 749 yards and eight touchdowns on 165 carries. Barber posted 377 yards and three TDs on 119 carries in 2011.
NEW GLIAC AND REGIONAL ALIGNMENTS
With the addition of Walsh and Malone as members of the GLIAC, the league has revised its divisional groupings from a year ago. Changes to the North Division are the loss of Indianapolis (to the Great Lakes Valley Conference) and the addition of Hillsdale and Wayne State (both in the South Division a year ago). The South Division will add Notre Dame College as an associate member for 2012. The GLIAC has moved from NCAA Super Region 3 to NCAA Super Region 4. Super Region 4 will include the GLIAC, the Great Lakes Valley Conference, the Lone Star Conference and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Still only six teams from each region will be selected to the NCAA Playoffs.
NEW RULES FOR NCAA FOOTBALL
Several new rules were implemented by the NCAA rules committee for the 2012 season. Most obvious will be on kickoffs. The ball will be placed at the 35-yard line (last year the 30) for kickoffs. Kicking team players may not start more than five yards back from the kickoff. Touchbacks for free kicks will result in the ball being placed at the 25-yard line (20 last year). The other rule involves the loss of helmets. If a player loses his helmet (other than as the result of a foul by the opponent, like a facemask), it will be treated like an injury. The player must leave the game and is not allowed to participate for the next play.
GLIAC PRESEASON POLL
The Michigan Tech football team was ranked fifth in the North Division of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches Poll. The Huskies are coming off a 7-4 season in 2011 where they finished 6-4 in league play and tied for third in the North Division. This is the second year the GLIAC has ranked its teams by division in the preseason poll. Tech earned a No. 2 ranking in the North Division a year ago. Prior to that, the Huskies were selected ninth of 14 teams in 2010 and third of 14 teams in the 2009 poll. See below for the full 2012 GLIAC Preseason Coaches Poll.
Rk Team (First-place votes) Poll Pts 2011 Record
1 Grand Valley State (6) 108 8-3
2 Wayne State (4) 99 12-4
3 Hillsdale (4) 96 8-3
4 Saginaw Valley State (2) 87 7-4
5 Michigan Tech 66 7-4
6 Ferris State 45 6-5
7 Northern Michigan 36 4-7
8 Northwood 30 2-9
1 Ashland (10) 113 6-5
2 Ohio Dominican (5) 108 7-4
3 Findlay (1) 97 6-5
4 Lake Erie 73 3-8
5 Walsh 49 5-6
6 Tiffin 43 0-11
6 Notre Dame 43 5-6
8 Malone 41 4-7
SERIES VS. TIFFIN
Michigan Tech and Tiffin have met just twice all-time. The Huskies won both matchups, a 32-28 victory in Houghton on Nov. 1, 2008, and a 21-14 triumph on Oct. 31, 2009.
Michigan Tech will play three of its first four games at home and only have to leave the Upper Peninsula once through the first six weeks of the season.