Losses don't get much more gut-wrenching than this.
The Hillsdale College football team lost an absolute heartbreaker to Michigan Tech University 31-30, in overtime, in Houghton Saturday afternoon. The loss makes the Chargers 1-1 on the season.
The Chargers found themselves trailing by nine points twice early in the game, but battled back both times to eventually take an eight-point lead. But Michigan Tech, always a tough team on its home field, scored a touchdown with 2:26 to go in regulation and converted a 2-point conversion to tie the game at 24.
The Huskies had the first possession of overtime, were forced into a fourth down, but eventually scored to go on top 31-24. The Chargers' overtime possession was successful, as QB Chance Stewart hit Austin Sandusky on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
However, the extra point was no good, thus ending the game in frustrating fashion for the Chargers.
The only scoring of the first quarter came when a snap on a punt sailed into the end zone, giving the Huskies a 2-0 lead. The second quarter featured an offensive explosion, with the teams combining for 28 points in less than five minutes of game time.
Sophomore tight end Martin Petersen scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 27-yard pass from Stewart. Stewart found a wide open Petersen up the field for the easy score, closing the deficit at that point to 9-7.
Hillsdale answered a Michigan Tech touchdown with one of its own just 90 seconds later. Sophomore wide receiver Konnor Maloney, who had his best day as a Charger, caught a 12-yard scoring strike from Stewart to make the score 16-14.
Maloney easily set career-highs by hauling in 9 passes for 151 yards and a score. Last year he showed flashes of big play ability, but in this game, made all the catches a team needs from one of its best playmakers.
Junior David Graham scored from one yard out late in the third quarter to give the Chargers their first lead, 21-16. His plunge capped the team's most efficient drive of the day, a 13-play, 72-yard march that ate more than five minutes off the clock.
A 21-yard Joe Philipp field goal made it an eight-point lead with 10:57 to go. But the Huskies burned more than six minutes off the clock on the game-tying drive, setting up the overtime dramatics.
Stewart played a strong game at quarterback, completing 18-of-31 passes for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. Freshman Alec Foos made a nice play early in the game on a 43-yard double-reverse pass.
Graham carried the ball 26 times for 80 yards and a touchdown, while Christian Shepler added 21 yards on four carries to the ground attack.
Sophomore Alex Anschutz intercepted a pass while sophomore Zach VanValkenburg recorded 1.5 sacks to spark the defense. Dan Shanley, Jay Rose and Nate Canterbury each picked up 8 total tackles to lead a balanced defensive effort.
As a unit, the defense recorded 6 tackles for loss, with six different players contributing to that total.
Photo courtesy of Michigan Tech Athletics