Tech stumbles at Findlay
FINDLAY, Ohio – Tyler Scarlett completed 27-of-52 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns, but it was not enough to overcome four turnovers and a powerful Findlay offense in a 40-19 loss to the Oilers Saturday at Donnell Stadium.
UF did what neither of the Huskies’ first two opponents could: effectively run the ball. The hosts gained 319 yards on 46 carries and added 166 yards more passing for 485 total yards against a defense that entered the game leading the nation in fewest allowed.
“Findlay beat us,” said Tech coach Tom Kearly. “They didn’t surprise us. We knew that they were going to be tough because they’ve moved the ball and scored on everybody so far this season. I was hoping we’d defend better than we did.”
Tech totaled 429 yards of offense and punted just twice in the game, but turnovers were costly.
Charlie Leffingwell fumbled twice in the opening half. The first came on the second play of the game and set up UF at the Tech 26-yard line. Daiquone Ford broke free on a 24-yard rush three plays later for a 7-0 lead.
The Huskies answered with a nine-play drive. Tight end Ian Wienke made a nice grab of a 23-yard Scarlett pass to tie the game.
Verlon Reed went 79 yards on Findlay’s next offensive play for a 14-7 margin.
Leffingwell’s second fumble came at the Findlay 36, but Tech forced the Oilers to punt on the ensuing possession.
Back-to-back completions from Scarlett to Anthony Root moved the ball from their own 44 to paydirt with 1:54 left in the opening quarter. The extra point was blocked, however, leaving the score 14-13.
The teams exchanged short field goals in the second quarter to head into the intermission separated by a point.
UF added a field goal on their first drive of the second half, then took advantage of a short field on their next. Tech punter Jordan Ledvina dropped the snap at midfield, and it was recovered by the Oilers. Four plays later, Reed had his second long TD run of the game-a 36-yarder-for a 27-16 margin.
After a Tech punt, Findlay went 60 yards for another touchdown.
Garrett Mead kicked his second field goal of the game with 9:21 left in the fourth quarter to pull the Black and Gold within 34-19.
An interception ended Tech’s next drive, and Findlay scored once more in the fourth quarter for the final margin.
Scarlett’s 367-yard game came with his leading receiver, Jordan McConnell, out with injury. The senior left the game in the opening quarter. Brandon Cowie collected 11 passes for 142 yards. Root finished with four catches for 85 yards.
Leffingwell carried the ball 19 times for 81 yards, but the Huskies were limited to just 60 rushing yards as a team factoring in four sacks of Scarlett and the fumble on the punt snap.
Ben Potter, Paul Kuoppala and Taylor Ziolkowski tied for team-high honors in tackles with eight apiece. Potter had a nice hustle play on Tech’s blocked extra point where he made a tackle inside the 10-yard line saving a defensive two-point conversion.
“We’ve got to hold onto the ball,” said Kearly. “We had the four turnovers plus a couple drops on kick return that hurt.
“There are plenty of things we can correct. We’ll be ready to go next week.”
Michigan Tech fell to 2-1 with the loss. The Huskies will meet Grand Valley State (2-1) Saturday in Allendale, Mich., at 7 p.m.