‘Cats come up short again

NMU gridders drop 8th straight game to Michigan Tech

By BRYCE DEROUIN

Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON — Lethargic and flat aptly described the Michigan Tech Huskies at the beginning of the 91st matchup with the rival Northern Michigan Wildcats, who took a 14-0 lead and appeared hell-bent on ending a seven-year losing streak against the Huskies.

But eventually, Tech displayed those same characteristics that led them to victory the last seven years: toughness, perseverance and the ability to make the big play when it mattered most.

Tech prevailed 28-21 Saturday at Sherman Field, adding one more victorious chapter to Husky lore while NMU went home with more heartbreak.

The last three matchups in this series ended on the last play, in gut-wrenching fashion for NMU.

In 2014, Garrett Mead converted a 39-yard field goal as time expired to give the Huskies a 34-31 victory in the Superior Dome.

In 2015, NMU was set to exact revenge until Tech’s Tanner Agen and Evan Mayer blocked the 45-yard field goal attempt of NMU’s Ryan LaBerge.

And in 2016, following a missed field goal by Tech in overtime, NMU back Jake Mayon fumbled and allowed Tech to recover to force a second overtime. NMU then missed a field goal, and Tech running back John Williams scored a 9-yard touchdown to secure a 51-45 Tech win.

For the 2017 edition, it will be the missed opportunities that will haunt the Wildcats.

NMU failed to go up 17-0 when freshman kicker Ray Dalton sent his 47-yard field goal off the left upright.

Following an interception off a deflection by NMU junior cornerback Demarious Wright, giving the Wildcats field position at the Tech 33, NMU failed to convert the possession into points when they had a 25-yard field goal blocked by Tech senior Spencer Moran, who came through the NMU line untouched.

“We had a bunch of missed opportunities in the first half that we didn’t take advantage of,” NMU head coach Kyle Nystrom said.

“When you get two takeaways and down in plus-territory, you have to get some productivity and get some points on the board and we didn’t do that.

“We’re you’re playing this type of game, every play is a difference-maker, and when you don’t take advantage of it and let it get away from you, it goes against you in the end.”