Venturing to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan can often be treacherous for visiting teams. Playing in Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome offers a unique set of challenges for any opponent. The Hillsdale College football conquered both hurdles Saturday.
Thanks to some timely defensive stops and an efficient day by QB Sam Landry, the Chargers earned a 27-17 win over the Wildcats in Marquette. The win makes Hillsdale 2-3 overall and 2-1 in the GLIAC. The Chargers now play four of their final six games at home, starting next week when they host Wayne State University.
This was Hillsdale's third straight win over the Wildcats in Marquette and fifth win in a row overall in the series between the teams.
The Chargers controlled the first half, jumping out to a 17-0 lead in the game's first 21 minutes. The team's first score, a three-yard burst by senior Isaac Spence, was set up on a high snap on a punt by NMU, setting the Chargers up at the opposition 35-yard-line.
Hillsdale's second score was set up by senior linebacker Steven Embry, who intercepted a pass on the very first play of the second quarter. It was Embry's third interception in the past two games, and all three plays led directly to touchdowns by the Charger offense.
Two plays into the suibsequent drive, Landry zipped a 31-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-freshman Joe Srebernak to make it a 14-0 game. The completion was the sixth of 10 straight to start the game by Landry, and Srebernak's first collegiate touchdown.
Placekicker Steven Mette provided six crucial points for the team with field goals covering 46 and 42 yards in the game. His second field goal came with 2:09 left in the fourth quarter, and extended Hillsdale's lead to two scores (10 points). His job was made slightly easier thanks to a 12 men on the field penalty by the Wildcats, turning a 47 yard attempt to a 42 yard attempt.
Down 10, NMU drove down to the Hillsdale 31-yard line on its final drive, but was stopped on four consecutive pass plays, all incomplete, to end the ballgame. Hillsdale preserved the lead thanks to 10:06 of possession time in the fourth quarter, and converting 50 percent of its third-down conversions (7 for 14).
Landry set a career-high by completing 83 percent of his passes (19-for-23) for 245 yards and two scores. He threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior WR Andrew Mott early in the fourth quarter. Mott led the team with four catches for 60 yards and a score, while Srebernak had a career-high three catches for 42 yards.
Sophomore Wade Wood led Hillsdale's ground attach with 64 yards on 11 carries (5.8 average). He wasn't stopped for a loss on any of his carries.
On defense, senior LB Devin Moynihan had a monster game for the Chargers with 10 solo tackles and 17 in all, in addition to 2.5 tackles for loss. Senior Matt Payne added eight solo tackles in a terrific performance from the secondary. Senior Brett Pasche had 11 total tackles for the Chargers. Six different players picked up tackles for loss in the game for Hillsdale.
Photo courtesy of the Northern Michigan University sports information department