Ferris Football Battles For Fourth-Straight Win

FSU senior fullback Leon Curry looks for room to run at Lake Erie (Photo by Rob Bentley)
FSU senior fullback Leon Curry looks for room to run at Lake Erie (Photo by Rob Bentley)

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Painesville, Ohio - The Ferris State University football team survived the elements and a hard-fought performance from Lake Erie to win its fourth consecutive contest of the season and remain unbeaten in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action with a 22-12 triumph on Saturday (Oct. 2) in Painesville, Ohio.

The Bulldogs battled back from a 9-7 halftime deficit against the upset-minded Storm under rainy conditions at Jack Britt Memorial Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

With the victory, FSU improved to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in the GLIAC to remain in a three-way tie atop the league standings with Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech.

"We had our hands full today and we played a team with a lot of character," said FSU head coach Jeff Pierce.  "They played well and we didn't execute as well as we needed to early in the game.

"You feel good with the win, but we obviously still have things we need to work on. But, we're moving in the right direction," he added.

FSU opened the contest by driving 54 yards in nine plays to strike first on a 10-yard TD run from sophomore running back Skyler Stoker (Jackson/Grass Lake) only 4:46 into the contest.

Lake Erie answered with a 61-yard march of its own to pull within 7-3 on a 26-yard field goal by Sam Marcotte with 5:37 left in the first period.

The Storm took their only lead of the contest with 3:07 remaining in the opening stanza on a Chris Brown one-yard scoring run to finish a three-play, 44-yard drive.

Ferris regained the advantage at 13-9 with 5:19 to play in the third quarter as Stoker found paydirt for the second time from five yards away to cap an 80-yard drive in 11 plays.

LEC was able to pull back within a single point at 13-12 on Marcotte's 23-yard field goal only four seconds into the final period.

However, FSU responded offensively after a long kickoff return to build the lead back to four points as sophomore kicker Catlin Porter (Midland) connected from 29-yards away to give the Bulldogs a 16-12 advantage with 12:41 left.

Lake Erie broke a long return into Bulldog territory on the ensuing kickoff, but the Ferris defense forced a fumble on second down and got the ball back.  The Bulldogs then proceeded to crack the scoring column again with 9:35 to play as junior quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) completed a 42-yard scoring pass to junior receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) to finish FSU's five-play, 64-yard drive.

After FSU's final score, Lake Erie drove deep into the Bulldog red zone, but a 22-yard field goal try from Marcotte was blocked by the FSu defense with only 5:33 remaining and the Ferris offense picked up three first downs on the ground to run out the clock.

"To be honest, I was pretty impressed with their team," said Schneider.  "We haven't practiced in the rain so this is the first real time we've had to face these kinds of weather conditions. 

"I thought we did alright offensively and we were able to get it together at halftime and made some good adjustments," he added.

FSU tallied 17 first downs and 310 total yards offensively in comparison to LEC's 19 first downs and 351 yards.

"You've got to be able to play in any kind of conditions," Pierce said.  "It was wet and slimy and we dropped a couple of balls early, but we need to be able to make those catches."

Sophomore running back Tyler Thomas (Jackson) paced FSU on the ground with 56 yards on 10 attempts with senior fullback Leon Curry (Detroit/Warren Fitzgerald) rambling for 52 yards on nine tries.

Schneider was 15-of-22 in the air for 162 yards and a TD.  Seven of his completions went to Ryan for 98 yards while Thomas added three grabs for 24 yards and junior receiver Damien Miller (Elsie/Ovid-Elsie) netted three catches for 21 yards.

Brown paced Lake Erie on the ground with 10 carries for 83 yards while quarterback Sean Bedevelsky was nine-of-17 in the air for 90 yards. 

The Bulldog defense came up with an interception and a fumble recovery, both by linebacker Alex Brajak (Munster, Ind.), in notching the win.  Senior linebacker Matt Ryan (Howell) tallied a game-high 15 tackles, including 11 unassisted stops, for FSU.

Lake Erie fell to 0-5 overall and 0-4 in the GLIAC with the setback in its homecoming/alumni weekend contest before a crowd of 1,586 fans who braved the weather conditions.

Ferris State will put its four-game winning streak on the line as the Bullogs return back to Big Rapids to host Findlay in the annual homecoming contest next Saturday, Oct. 2, at FSU's Top Taggart Field.  The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. (EDT) kickoff.

Bulldog Bites:  The Bulldogs' current four-game winning streak is their longest overall since winning their final two games of the 2007 season along with their opening three contests of the 2008 campaign for five in a row ......... It marks the first time the Bulldogs have won four consecutive games within one season since 2004 ....... The 12 points allowed by the Bulldog defense were the fewest since shutting out Findlay 14-0 in week three of 2008 ........ Ferris, which entered the contest leading the GLIAC in red zone offense, was a perfect three-of-three inside the Storm's 20-yard line ....... FSU converted nine-of-14 third down attempts ...... Sophomore defensive ends Brad Iskow (Bad Axe) and Jordan Morgan (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel) were both credited with blocked kicks for the Bulldogs.