Tech pulls away from Tiffin

TIFFIN, Ohio – Charlie Leffingwell rushed for 192 yards and two touchdowns, and Michigan Tech held Tiffin to 32 total rushing yards in a 40-14 season-opening victory for the Huskies.

The score was tied at 14-all five minutes into the third quarter before Tech grabbed control. A pair of 1-yard touchdowns from fullback Cole Welch in the third quarter and two more Huskies’ scores in the fourth broke the game open.

Tech amassed 491 yards of total offense compared to 240 for TU. The Dragons had just 13 rushing yards until their final drive of the game.

“We played well defensively all day,” said Tech coach Tom Kearly. “I knew it was going to take a while executing on offensive with a new tailback and all new wide receivers. But our defense tackled well and put their quarterback under duress all game.”

Despite the Black and Gold’s advantage in yardage, a couple big plays kept the Dragons in the game.

Tech struck first as Leffingwell capped a 78-yard drive with 3:43 left in the first quarter with a 15-yard run. Garrett Mead added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

Tiffin answered 13 seconds later with an 85-yard kickoff return from Tony Shead. The score looked as though it might remain 7-all heading into halftime, but the Huskies were able to find the endzone in the final minute. Jordan McConnell hauled in a 16-yard pass from Tyler Scarlett with :58 left for a 14-7 margin going into the intermission.

Tech received the kickoff to start the second half, but Leffingwell fumbled at his own 32. Tiffin needed five plays to tie the score at 14-all.

The Huskies answered right back with a 75-yard drive. Scarlett hit Andrew Clark for a 29-yard gain before a nine-yard Leffingwell run set up first and goal at the one. Welch plowed in for his first TD of the day and a 21-14 advantage.

Mead had a 28-yard field goal attempt partially blocked on the next drive, but the Huskies defense didn’t allow the Dragons to cross midfield.

Welch scored again on the second play of the fourth quarter for a 28-14 margin. Leffingwell broke around the corner for a 19-yard scoring run with 8:37 to play. Jeremy Mims’ 95-yard interception return for a touchdown iced the game with 7:15 to play.

“One of the big keys to me today was that we answered their scores,” said Kearly. “We never really gave them a chance to get the lead.”

Scarlett completed 14-of-25 passes for 232 yards. He rushed for 25 yards as part of a 259-yard team rushing effort.

Ben Potter and Taylor Ziolkowski tied for team-high honors in tackles with seven apiece. Potter added a first-half interception. Nelson Wienke posted five tackles including 1.5 sacks.

Michigan Tech will play its home opener Saturday (1 p.m.) at Sherman Field. Walsh will be the opponent, and the game will be the Huskies’ Homecoming.