HOUGHTON – There is only one matchup between two Top 25 Division two football teams this weekend and that matchup is in the Copper Country. The No. 20 Huskies will battle the twenty second ranked Ashland Eagles tomorrow at 1 p.m.
Both teams are fighting for what could be just one playoff spot. The game could determine which team makes the postseason and which team watches the postseason from the couch.
“It’s a fun game to play because you know the stakes are so high,” said MTU head coach Tom Kearly. “Both teams have aspirations to keep playing beyond the regular season. Both know that if they lose this football game that those aspirations are done. It’s still going to come down to the team that plays better football.”
“I’d say basically it’s a playoff game,” said Huskies starting quarterback Tyler Scarlett. “The winner of this game is putting themselves in a lot better position to make the playoffs– it’s a win or go home situation.”
“Last week we came into the game saying that it’s the playoffs already,” said MTU defensive end Nelson Wienke. “We’ve had our mindset on that it’s really do or die this week.”
While the Huskies are at home, NMU is on the road, facing number four Ferris State. NMU can help out Michigan Tech if they were to take down Ferris State. The Wildcats will try and slow down Bulldogs quarterback Jason Vander Laan, who put up 499 yards of offense last week against Lake Erie.
“He’s operating at a success rate that’s off the charts,” said NMU head coach Chris Ostrowsky about Vander Laan. “He’s up for the Harlon Hill (Trophy), which is the Division II version of the Heisman trophy. He’s a special football player.”
“Their offense is formed around him,” said NMU linebacker Nick Krause. “He’s a well deserved player for all of his accolades. A big deal for our defense is to contain him, so if we can do that, we can come out with a victory.”
Kickoff from Big Rapids is set for 12 p.m.