Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team provided its fans and alumni with plenty to cheer about on Saturday (Oct. 15) as the Bulldogs recorded a decisive 35-6 homecoming win over Northern Michigan at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The win was the Bulldogs' fourth victory in their last five outings this season and came before a crowd of 3,241 on a windy day in Big Rapids.
A week after giving up 43 points in an eight-point loss at Findlay, the Bulldogs responded by limiting the Wildcats to 222 yards of total offense and no touchdowns in earning the win.
Ferris State struck first on its opening drive of the afternoon as the Bulldogs marched 72 yards in 11 plays and found the endzone on a nine-yard quarterback keeper from senior Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison).
The Bulldogs increased their advantage to 13-0 on a one-yard burst from junior back Dwayne Williams (Saginaw/Heritage) only 32 seconds into the second frame as FSU moved 85 yards in 13 plays to reach the endzone.
Northern Michigan chipped into the FSU lead and trimed the deficit to 13-6 on a pair of field goals from Rockne Belmonte in the second quarter. His first came from 45 yards away and finished a short 30-yard Wildcat drive. The second was a 25-yarder after the Bulldogs limited NMU to only 22 yards on six plays.
However, FSU answered late in the half as the Bulldogs drove 74 yards in 10 plays before freshman kicker Victor Bodrie (Northville) connected on a 30-yard field goal as time expired in the opening period.
The Bulldogs scored the only points of the second half as they held NMU off the board over the final 30 minutes. Schneider hooked up with senior receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) onn a 13-yard TD strike with 3:53 to go in the third as the Bulldogs drove 74 yards in seven plays to take a 23-6 edge.
Ferirs increased its lead to 26-6 with 11:54 to play as Bodrie made a 38-yard field goal to finish off a 69-yard Bulldog drive. That was followed by a safety late in the game with 4:34 remaining when NMU snapped the ball out of the endzone from inside its own five-yard line.
The final Bulldog score took place on a 70-yard scoring completion from redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Masiewicz (Rockford) to freshman receiver Jake Lampman (East Lansing/Haslett) with only 2:33 left to go.
Ferris State piled up 32 first downs and 554 yards of total offense in improving to 5-2 overall and 4-2 in conference action. The Bulldogs' balanced attack ran for 242 yards while Schneider was 22-of-30 in the air for 202 yards and a score.
The Bulldogs held NMU to 222 yards with 149 coming on the ground. Tailback Prince Young had 149 yards of his own on 25 carries in leading the Wildcats. QB Carter Kopach was 12-of-25 in the air, but threw for only 73 yards and was intercepted twice by the Bulldogs.
Schneider paced FSU on the ground with 77 yards and a TD on 13 carries. Williams added 65 yards on 19 attempts and redshirt freshman Jamaal Jackson (St. Joseph) contributed 45 yards on nine carries.
Ryan caught a game-high eight passes for 90 yards and score for FSU while Williams and Jackson both added four catches apiece. Masiewicz completed four-of-six passes for 110 yards in a relief role behind Schneider.
Defensively, the Bulldogs received a game-high 12 stops from junior linebacker Tayo Moss (South Rockwood/Monroe St. Mary's). Sophomore defensive end Cody Groulx (Montrose, Mich./Hill McCloy) added 10 tackles while junior cornerback Antwian Windmon (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park) recorded nine stops and also had an interception.
NMU was led on the defensive side by Josh Droese with 11 tackles in the game. The Wildcats dropped to 3-4 overall and 3-3 in conference action with their fourth-straight setback.
Ferris State will take part in the Anchor-Bone Classic next Saturday, Oct. 22, as the Bulldogs visit archrival Grand Valley State for a 7 p.m. (ET) league tilt at GVSU's Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich.
Bulldog Bites: Ferris State remained within at least one game of Saginaw Valley State for the GLIAC North Division lead pending the outcome of the Cardinals' Saturday evening contest ....... Junior linebacker Mike Elias (Ann Arbor/Huron) also had an interception for FSU ........ The win was FSU's 10th in the last 11 matchups against the Wildcats in Big Rapids ....... It marked Ferris' first win over Northern Michigan since 2008 at Top Taggart Field ....... Ferris was a perfect five-of-five inside the red zone ...... The Bulldogs controlled the ball for 36:32 of possession time ... FSU had five tackles for loss in the game and also forced a fumble ..... The victory was the 12th for head coach Jeff Pierce against Northern Michigan, which is the most of any team he's faced ...... FSU's 1999 GLIAC Championship team was honored in a special halftime ceremony in addition to the crowning of Ferris State's king and queen.