Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team bolted out to a big first half lead and cruised to its third consecutive victory with a dominating 38-14 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) win over visiting Lake Erie on Saturday (Oct. 1) night at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The Bulldogs scored the first 24 points of the contest and rolled up 500 yards of total offense in improving to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC. The win was the 100th career coaching victory for Ferris State head coach Jeff Pierce.
Ferris State spoiled Lake Erie's first-ever visit to Big Rapids as senior quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) threw for 227 yards and three scores while junior running back Skyler Stoker (Jackson/Grass Lake) rambled for 132 yards in dropping the Storm to 1-4 overall and 1-3 in conference action.
The Bulldog defense forced a fumble on the game's first possession and the offense quickly drove 34 yards in six plays with senior back Dwayne Williams (Saginaw/Heritage) reaching paydirt from six yards out with 11:45 to go in the first quarter.
Later in the quarter, FSU moved 57 yards in 10 plays to take a 10-0 lead on freshman kicker Victor Bodrie's (Northville) 34-yard field goal with 5:59 left in the frame.
FSU added two more touchdowns in the opening half with the first coming on a five-yard scoring toss from Schneider to senior receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) at the 14:31 mark to finish a 71-yard drive in 10 plays. The second was with 4:52 to go in the half and came on a three-yard TD pass from Schneider to sophomore tight end Jace Heneveld (Zeeland/East), which capped off a lengthy 97-yard march in 14 plays that chewed up more than seven minutes.
Lake Erie struck back for its only score of the half immediately after Heneveld's touchdown catch as Storm signal caller Sean Bedevelsky hooked up with receiver David Romeon on a school-record 88-yard scoring reception on the first play from scrimmage of the possession with 4:35 to play in the first half.
However, Ferris State responded early in the third period as Schneider found Ryan on a 57-yard strike to give Ferris a 31-7 lead with 13:22 to play in the third. The 57-yard scoring play accounted for the bulk of Ferris State's 69-yard jaunt that took only four plays.
FSU added a one-yard TD plunge from Schneider on the first play of the fourth quarter after a 12-play drive covering 75 yards to push the advantage to 38-7 before LEC scored late on a 12-yard TD run by Rod Smith with only 1;14 left in the game.
Schneider completed 23-of-28 passes in throwing for 227 yards and three scores. Five of his receptions went to Ryan for 74 yards and a pair of TD's. In addition to Stoker's 132 yards on 20 carries, Schneider also added 41 yards and a touchdown for Ferris on the ground.
Williams caught four passes for 20 yards, Stoker had three receptions for 23 yards and Heneveld also added three catches for 18 yards for FSU.
On the opposite side, Bedevelsky competed 13-of-21 balls for 189 yards and one TD. Romeo had three grabs for a game-high 127 receiving yards and Smith led the Storm ground game with 54 yards on seven attempts.
FSU tallied 27 first downs to 16 for Lake Erie and limited the Storm to 362 total offensive yards with 173 coming on the ground and 189 in the air. FSU ran for 260 yards and threw for 240 yards in a balanced offensive game.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were paced by junior linebacker Tayo Moss' (South Rockwood/Monroe St. Mary's Catholic) eight tackles. He had two tackles for loss and also forced a fumble.
Junior linebackers Mike Elias (Ann Arbor/Huron) and Alex Brajak (Munster, Ind.) both added seven stops apiece for the Bulldogs.
Lake Erie's Cameron Bryant and Matt Lott both had a contest-high 15 tackles on the other side.
Ferris State will hit the road next Saturday, Oct. 8, as the Bulldogs visit Findlay for a 12 p.m. (ET) league tilt at Donnell Stadium in Findlay, Ohio.
Bulldog Bites: The contest represented FSU's annual Hall of Fame Game as the Bulldogs recognized this year's honorees in a special halftime ceremony, including former standout football player Clarence Coleman, who concluded his FSU career in 2001 as the all-time NCAA Division II leader in receptions before playing professionally in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills ....... A world record attempt was held prior to the game with more than 1,500 fans lofting pink flying discs onto the Top Taggart Field surface in support of breast health awareness month and the Paint Big Rapids Pink effort ........ Ferris State held a 35:18 to 24:42 advantage in time of possession ....... The Bulldogs were nine-of-14 on third down conversions ...... Lake Erie did not convert on fourth down in four opportunities ........ The Bulldogs spread the ball around as 11 different players caught passes ... FSU improved to 2-0 all-time against Lake Erie following a 22-12 win in the first-ever matchup last season (10/2/10) at Painesville, Ohio .... Pierce ranks as the Bulldogs' all-time winningest coach with his 100 career wins ..... The Bulldogs improved to 6-5 all-time in their Hall of Fame contests with the triumph.