Indy Rallies For Close GLIAC Win Over FSU

FSU's Tom Schneider looks for a receiver in Saturday's contest at Indianapolis (Photo by Rob Bentley)
FSU's Tom Schneider looks for a receiver in Saturday's contest at Indianapolis (Photo by Rob Bentley)

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Indianapolis, Ind. - Turnovers plagued the Ferris State Bulldogs as Indianapolis rallied for an exciting 37-33 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) victory on Saturday (Oct. 30) night at Key Stadium.

The Bulldogs fumbled the ball seven times and lost five in dropping to 5-4 overall and 5-3 in GLIAC play. 

FSU built a 33-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Greyhounds rallied with three scores in the final frame to improve to 5-4 overall and 4-4 in conference play.

"Obviously it's very disappointing. I thought we were the dominant football team, but we turned the ball over too many times," Ferris head coach Jeff Pierce said. "You can't survive a football game when those kinds of things happen."

Ferris struck first with 8:39 to play in the first quarter on a four-yard TD run from sophomore Tyler Thomas to give FSU a 6-0 edge.

The Greyhounds responded, though, by scoring 20-straight points to take a 20-6 lead with 8:27 to go in the first half.  The first came on a 19-yard TD pass from quarterback Chris Mills to Brenden Williams with 5:39 to play in the first. 

That was followed by back-to-back touchdowns from Indianapolis running back Klay Fiechter.  His first came on a 50-yard TD run to start the second quarter with the second capping a short 10-yard drive after a Bulldog turnover.

Ferris answered late in the first half with two scores in the final four minutes to cut the gap to 20-19 at the break.  FSU drove 77 yards in 10 plays and sophomore Skyler Stoker found paydirt with 3:52 to play in the period on a 13-yard scoring run.

Then, with only 2:28 to play in the second quarter, Bulldog junior defensive back William Miles intercepted a Indy pass and returned it 70 yards for a score.  The interception was one of Miles' school-record tying three picks in the contest.

Ferris regained the lead in the third period with two scores in the first five and a half minutes.  FSU took the second half kickoff and marched 73 yards in 10 plays before Dwayne Williams scampered in from three yards out to make it 26-20 in favor of the Bulldogs.

The final Ferris touchdown was scored by junior quarterback Tom Schneider with 9:21 to play in the third on a one-yard plunge, which gave FSU a 33-20 edge.

The fourth quarter, though, belonged to the Greyhounds.  Aaron Puntarelli connected on a 38-yard field goal with 12:29 remaining in the contest to close the gap to 10 points.

Indianapolis pulled within 33-30 on a six-yard TD toss from Mills to Ryan Forney to finish an 87-yard drive with only 5:28 left in the contest.

After forcing FSU to punt, the Greyhounds drove 67 yards on 10 plays in just over two minutes to score the go-ahead TD with 48 seconds remaining on Paul Corsaro's two-yard touchdown run.

Ferris was able to drive to the Indianapolis 37-yard line in the final minute, but a desperation pass in the endzone on the game's final play fell short as Indianapolis' defense preserved the victory.

"We really had them on the ropes for a while, but they bounced back," Pierce said. "I give them credit for continuing to fight back, but this is a game that we should have won."

The Greyhounds rolled up 487 yards of total offense and 23 first downs compared to 400 yards and 24 first downs for FSU.

Mills threw for 329 yards on 23-of-37 passing for Indianapolis, but was intercepted three times and sacked four times by the Bulldog defense.  Eight of his completions went to Forney for 117 yards while Williams caught seven balls for 101 yards.  Fiechter paced the Greyhounds on the ground with 81 yards and two scores as UI ran for 158 yards on 33 attempts.

Schneider completed 24-of-31 balls for 207 yards as FSU tallied 223 yards in the air and 177 on the ground.  Stoker led the Ferris running game with 88 yards while Mike Ryan made a game-high 11 receptions for 93 yards.

Senior linebacker Matt Ryan had a contest-high 16 tackles for the FSU defense while Tyler Peterman had 11 stops for the Greyhounds.

Ferris State will try to snap a three-game losing skid as the Bulldogs return back to Big Rapids for their regular-season home finale against Michigan Tech next Saturday (Nov. 6).  Kickoff for the league tilt is set for 2 p.m. (ET) at Top Taggart Field as the Bulldogs honor their senior class during FSU Parents Apprecation Day activities.