Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team beat a second nationally-ranked opponent in the three weeks and beat Michigan Tech for the first time in 10 years with a high-scoring 56-49 triumph over the visiting Huskies on Saturday (Oct. 20) afternoon at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The Bulldogs claimed their first win over MTU since 2002 while snapping a nine-game series' losing streak with an explosive offense that rolled up 601 total yards and scored eight touchdowns. It came in the "Dog Day" matchup presented by Huntington in the battled between the Bulldogs and Huskies.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 5-3 overall and 4-3 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play while Michigan Tech fell to 5-2 overall and in league play. The Huskies had came into the game midst a three-way tie atop the GLIAC North Division standings with only a single loss this campaign.
Michigan Tech, which was the Bulldogs' fifth-ranked opponent of the season and fourth in a row, struck first in the opening quarter as quarterback Tyler Scarlett tossed a 42-yard scoring strike to receiver Matt Curtin with 9:22 to go in the period.
However, the Bulldogs answered back when senior slot Skyler Stoker ran in four yards for a score with 4:07 left in the opening frame to cap a 73-yard drive in 12 plays.
The Bulldogs exploded for four touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 35-21 halftime edge against the northern counterparts. The first score of the stanza came with 12:46 to play when redshirt freshman quarterback Jason Vander Laan capped a 73-yard drive with a one-yard scoring run.
MTU answered to knot the game at 14 points apiece only two minutes later as Scarlett found Curtin again from 25-yards out with 10:36 left in the half.
FSU came back with a 75-yard march in five plays that Vander Laan finished with a 42-yard scamper for a score to make it 21-14 with 9:27 remaining in the period. Again, MTU bounced back to tie the game up though as Alex Elsenheimer caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Scarlett to finish a six-play, 63-yard Husky drive.
The Bulldogs tallied the final two scores of the opening half to build a two-touchdown lead at the break. Stoker scored for the second time in the game with an eight-yard run to finish a 77-yard drive with 4:28 left. Then, following a defensive stop in the final minute of the half, Vander Laan marched the Bulldogs 54 yards in six plays before finding Stoker from 10-yards out with only eight seconds left in the period.
The scoring didn't stop in the second half as the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 42-21 with 12:03 to play in the third on a 48-yard TD toss from Vander Laan to sophomore wideout Jake Lampman. That finished a 75-yard drive in six plays.
MTU responded with a short 42-yard drive in eight plays that was ended on Scarlett's 11-yard TD pass to Curtin with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter. But, FSU answered quickly when vander Laan hooked up with Lampman on a 61-yard scoring connection to take a 49-28 lead after three periods.
In the fourth quarter, the Huskies tried to close the gap. They cut the advantage back to two scores with 12:18 left in the game as Scarlett found Cole Welch on a six-yard scoring pass to finish a 13-play drive that covered 59 yards.
Again, the Bulldog offense was not to be denied as FSU drove 81 yards quickly in only five plays before tailback Korey Ringer found paydirt from 27-yards out with 10:25 left.
The final two scores belong to the Huskies as Cedrick Barber finished a 38-yard drive with a two-yard scoring run with 2:11 left to trim the deficit to 56-42. Then, after holding the Bulldogs, Elsenheimer caught a seven-yard scoring throw from Scarlett to make it a one-score game with 37 seconds left as MTU marched 80 yards in 11 plays.
Michigan Tech tried an onside kick with 35 seconds to go and recovered the initial attempt, but a flag was thrown against the Huskies. After a five-yard penalty, the second try was scooped up by FSU safety John Purdy and the Bulldogs were able to ice the win with one final snap in victory formation.
The Bulldogs' 601 yards of total offense included 357 in the air from Vander Laan, who completed 20-of-28 throws. He accounted for five touchdowns on the day as he threw for three scores and added two more on the ground where he ranked as FSU's second-leading ground gainer with 72 yards on 14 carries.
Lampman and Stoker also had impressive numbers on the offensive side for the Bulldogs. Lampman caught a career-high 10 passes for 239 yards and two scores. His 239 yards came only 25 yards shy of matching the school single-game receiving record of 264 yards set by Cedric Gordon in 1986. Meanwhile, Stoker caught seven passes for 103 yards and a TD while adding 57 rushing yards and two scores on eight attempts.
Ringer paced the Bulldogs on the ground with a game-high 84 yards and a TD. Fullback Jamaal Jackson added 52 rushing yards in the Bulldog victory.
Michigan Tech also posted big offensive numbers as the Huskies totaled 543 yards with 163 on the ground and 380 in the air by Scarlett, who completed 30-of-44 tries and had six TD passes. Ten of his completions went to Curtin for 178 yards and three scores while tight end Brian LaChapelle hauled in five passes for 65 yards. Barber paced MTU on the ground with 76 yards on 15 carries.
Defensively, the Bulldog received a game-high 17 tackles from senior linebacker Tayo Moss, which included nine solo stops and two for loss. Senior Mike Elias added 11 tackles with five solo hits and also forced a fumble and broke up a pass.
Dan Perrault and Justin Armstrong both netted 12 tackles each for Michigan Tech.
Ferris State's offensive numbers included a four-of-four showing in the red zone and the Bulldogs converted five-of-seven times on fourth down, included three times on a single drive early in the contest to help establish momentum. Both teams fumbled once and neither team was intercepted.
The Bulldogs will face another tough test on the road next Saturday, Oct. 26, as FSU ventures to Detroit to face defending NCAA Division II National Runner-Up Wayne State in GLIAC North Division play. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (ET) at Adams Field in the Motor City.