Huskies’ Last-Minute TD Beats No. 9 Eagles, 24-21

Photo courtesy of Michigan Tech sports information.
Photo courtesy of Michigan Tech sports information.


THE TURNING POINT: Michigan Tech scored the winning points on an eight-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left in the game.

STAT OF THE GAME: Ashland turned the ball over four times against the Huskies after committing just eight turnovers in the first eight games of 2016.

A year ago in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Ashland University's football team won a game against Northern Michigan with a touchdown pass in the waning seconds.

In 2016 in the UP against Michigan Tech, the shoe, unfortunately, was on the other foot.

The No. 9-ranked Eagles lost 24-21 on Saturday (Oct. 29) afternoon following an eight-yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds to play. Ashland is 7-2 overall and 5-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, while the Huskies are 3-5, 3-5.

Ashland was done in by four turnovers and Tech scoring its three touchdowns immediately following each of the Eagles' TD drives. The 21 points scored are AU's fewest in a game since scoring 12 at Tech on Nov. 8, 2014.

After the Eagles punted on their first possession (their first punt in three weeks), the Huskies marched 74 yards in 17 plays. Ashland held near the goal line, however, and surrendered a 28-yard Josh King field goal for an early 3-0 deficit.

On its third drive of the game, Ashland saw some history, as a 12-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Travis Tarnowski to junior tight end Adam Shaheen was Shaheen's 13th scoring catch of 2016, setting a new program record. The score put the Eagles on top, 7-3, with 10:27 left until halftime.

The Huskies, however, immediately countered with a 64-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brandon Cowie to wide receiver Ian Fischer on their next possession to take a 10-7 lead.

That score would not change until early in the fourth quarter, when Tarnowski found sophomore wide receiver Matthew Wilcox for a 33-yard scoring strike and a 14-10 Eagle lead with 12:53 to play.

On the ensuing drive, the Eagles seemingly got the Huskies off the field following a stop for no gain on third-and-1 by senior inside linebacker Brandon Gency and sophomore defensive tackle James Prater Jr. at the Tech 34. The following punt, however, was fumbled by junior cornerback Dale Irby, giving the Huskies the ball again at the Eagle 33.

Tech turned the takeaway into another Cowie-to-Fischer touchdown pass, a 21-yarder on fourth-and-10. The Huskies took a 17-14 lead with 8:06 left in regulation.

The game's newly-found back-and-forth play went back again, as Ashland retook the lead on a two-yard touchdown run by senior tailback Vance Settlemire. With 3:11 to play, the Eagles had a 21-17 advantage following the 10-play, 91-yard drive.

Tech had one more chance to take the lead late, and did so with 36 seconds left on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Cowie to wide receiver David Walter.

Ashland got the ball back at its 14 on the ensuing kickoff, looking at least for the tying field goal, but an interception, the Huskies' fourth takeaway of the game, finished off Tech's victory.

Tarnowski was 24-for-37 for 256 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Wilcox, in his first game coming back from injury, caught three passes for 98 yards and a score.

On defense, senior inside linebacker Zach Olszewski had 13 total tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup, while senior safety Terrell Hudson added 10 total stops and an interception.

UP NEXT: Senior Day, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field against Walsh (1-8, 0-8).