It took the Chargers until the second half to hit their stride, but hit their stride did they ever.
Trailing 21-14 at half, Hillsdale’s defense got its first take away with a Jake Weddle interception of Cardinal QB Chuck Dowdell on its first series of the 2nd half.
Hillsdale tied the game at 21 with a balanced 8 play 77 yard drive capped by Joe Glendening’s 2nd TD of the day.
It was 3 and out for Saginaw on its 2nd try of the second half and Hillsdale would regain the lead for good quickly.
Troy Weatherhead found Mike Blanchard open for 53 on the drive’s first play. It was Blanchard 2 plays later with the tip toe catch for the touchdown. Colin McGreevy made it 28-21 with the extra point.
The defending D2football.com and GLIAC defensive player of the week Joe Vear would show some heroics on the next two Saginaw series. After Hillsdale forced another 3 and out with a sack on 3rd down, Vear set Weatherhead and Co. up nicely at midfield with a blocked punt.
Eight plays later Glendening would get his third and cap the scoring at 35-21.
Saginaw still had bullets in its gun and drove deep into the Hillsdale redzone trying to mount a comeback. That effort came up short as Vear would pick off Dowdell in the endzone.
Although the next Hillsdale possession would end in a missed McGreevy field goal, the Chargers were able to chew up 5:39 of the clock, keeping the talented Cardinal offense off the field.
Redshirt freshman Zach Cherocci ended the day for Dowdell with a 1st down sack that resulted in a fumble recovered by Charger Skyler Davis at the SVSU 38.
Hillsdale would run out the clock and secure its first likely Top 10 D2 poll appearance since Hillsdale was ranked 8th in 1992. The number 5 and number 6 teams play each other today as do the number 7 and 8. Hillsdale is expected to jump at least one of the losers of those games.
Glendening had his typical workhorse day of 31 carries for 154 yards and 3 TD.
Weatherhead turned 23 today and completed 23 of 27 passes for 248 yards and a score. He also became Hillsdale’s all-time completions leader.
Blanchard had 9 catches for 125 yards and a score. He carried the ball 4 times for 32 yards.
Andre Holmes had 6 catches for 49 yards.
Weddle had 13 tackles to lead the Chargers and had the pick to lead Hillsdale. Vear had his blocked punt, interception, and added 11 stops.