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Big Rapids, Mich. - Nationally top-ranked Grand Valley State proved worthy of its ranking as the Lakers rolled to a 41-0 shutout victory over Ferris State in the Anchor-Bone Classic on Saturday (Oct. 23) afternoon at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The visiting Lakers scored on four of their first five offensive
drives and built a 24-0 halftime edge in the West Michigan rivalry
game played before a crowd of 3,256 fans under drizzly conditions
with a share of first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference (GLIAC) on the line.
"Obviously, it is very diappointing," said FSU head coach Jeff Pierce. "I have to give a lot of credit to Grand Valley. They came in here and played very well.
"We didn't execute the way we needed to execute and we came up short," he added. "Our program is headed in the right direction and today we had the opportunity to test it against a high-powered program, but unfortunately we didn't match up today."
Grand Valley State received the ball first and drove 95 yards in 13 plays on its first possession, which chewed up nearly the first eight minutes of the contest. Quarterback Kyle McMahon scored the first of his two touchdown runs from four-yards out to cap the drive.
After holding the Bulldogs on three downs and coming up with a long punt return, the Lakers then proceeded to need only 33 yards and seven plays to connect on a 25-yard Ryan Stokes field goal that made it 10-0 with 1:38 to play in the first frame.
GVSU found the endzone again with 7:03 left in the opening half as Norman Shuford rambled in from one-yard away to push the Laker lead to 17-0. His TD run concluded a 73-yard drive in seven plays.
Grand Valley State struck quickly again near the end of the half as McMahon hit wide receiver Jovonne Augustus on the first play of a drive for a 55-yard scoring pass, which gave the Lakers a 24-0 advantage at the break.
The Lakers added two more scores in the third period with McMahon finishing a 58-yard drive with a six-yard TD run at the 9:31 mark of the stanza followed by a 23-yard field goal from Stokes with only 2:30 to play in the frame.
The final Laker score was a two-yard scoring run from backup quarterback Heath Parling with only 5:15 to play in the contest. His TD burst finished a 12-play, 50-yard GVSU march.
The Bulldogs were shutout for the first time at Top Taggart Field since a 19-0 homecoming setback to Wayne State in 2008.
It was the first shutout loss for FSU overall dating back to last year's 34-0 loss to Northern Michigan at the Superior Dome in Marquette.
The Lakers rolled up 27 first downs and 503 total offensive yards while limiting FSU to only 118 yards and nine first downs.
GVSU ran for 242 yards on 44 carries with McMahon netting a game-high 64 yards on 10 attempts. He threw for 182 yards on 11-of-15 passing with Parling chipping in 79 yards on 10-of-16 completions as the Lakers netted 261 total passing yards.
The Bulldogs were held to only 29 rushing yards on 29 attempts with junior quarterback Tom Schneider running for 17 yards on seven attempts. He was five-of-eight in the air for 35 yards before being knocked out of the contest just prior to halftime and did not return. Backup QB Michael Buday completed eight-of-13 passes for 54 yards in a reserve role.
Shuford was one of three Lakers to also catch three balls. A total of 11 Grand Valley State players caught receptions.
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Tayo Moss paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 13 tackles, including seven solo stops. Senior linebacker Matt Ryan added 11 stops to go with a pass breakup and 1.5 tackles for loss. Junior cornerback William Miles had an interception for the Bulldogs.
Justin Victor netted nine tackles for Grand Valley State, which sacked the two Bulldog quarterbacks a combined six times for a loss of 41 yards. The Lakers had 11 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries, two pass breakups and an interception.
With the win, the Lakers took a two-game lead over FSU in the GLIAC North Division standings as they improved to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the conference. After Saturday's games, Ferris State remains tied for second place in the league with a 5-3 overall and 5-2 GLIAC record.
The Bulldogs return to the road next Saturday (Oct. 30) as they visit Indianapolis for a 6 p.m. (ET) league tilt at Key Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
Bulldog Bites: FSU's Tayo Moss was chosen as the Babb Ford Bulldog Player of the Game for his efforts ..... The win was GVSU's 10th-straight over the Bulldogs and allowed the Lakers to maintain their hold on the Anchor-Bone Trophy ...... The Anchor-Bone Classic is sponsored by Huntington Bank ....... The Lakers converted six-of-seven times in the redzone ..... FSU reached GVSU's half of the field only once in the game ......Grand Valley was 10-of-14 on third down compared to a three of 13 showing for Ferris State ........ FSU's 118 total offensive yards represented a season-low output ....... The Anchor-Bone Classic coincided with the area's "Paint Big Rapids Pink" event to raise money for breast cancer awareness and a number of special promotions took place as part of the effort.