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Big Rapids, Mich. - For the second time this week, Ferris State University sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan (Franfort, Ill./Chicago Christian) has been tabbed as the Division II National Player of the Week.
The Bulldog signal caller was tabbed Wednesday as the D2football.com National Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts versus Lake Erie last Saturday (Sept. 14) at FSU's Top Taggart Field. The online source, which is the premier source for Division II football coverage across the country, chooses weekly a national player of the week honoree on the offensive and defensive sides along with special teams. He was the lone offensive recipient.
Earlier this week, Vander Laan claimed National Player of the Week honors from the Beyond Sports Network along with being chosen as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week Award.
Vander Laan accounted for seven touchdowns and had a record day on the ground as the Bulldogs beat Lake Erie in a high-scoring affair by a 56-49 count on Saturday night at FSU's Top Taggart Field. The 6-4 signal caller ran for a personal career-high 279 yards and four touchdowns on the ground while averaging 10.3 yards per carry. He also completed 14-of-23 passes for 170 yards and three scores without an interception or a sack.
Vander Laan led the Bulldogs to 571 yards of total offense and 401 yards on the ground, which included his 63-yard touchdown run at the end of the third quarter to give FSU a two-touchdown lead. All four of his touchdown runs came in the second half as FSU fought back from a 10-point deficit to win its home and conference opener. He engineered five scoring drives in the second half.
Presently, Vander Laan's 279 total yards rushing versus Lake Erie ranks as NCAA Division II's second-highest single game performance of the season and he's presently tied for third in the nation with 379 total rushing yards this campaign, which is tops among all QB's in the country. He also leads the GLIAC in rushing to date this year.
This past Saturday, Vander Laan climbed into 15th place all-time on the school career rushing list with 1,717 total yards. He needs only 125 more yards on the ground to catch C.J. Van Wieren (2004-07) and become the school's all-time career leader in rushing yardage by a quarterback.
Additionally, following the Lake Erie contest, Vander Laan also currently ranks 16th in school history in passing yardage with 1,719 total yards and is 114 shy of catching Steve Duchon (1973-76) for 15th place. Interestingly enough, he's only 464 yards away from 14th place all-time, which is presently held by current FSU wide receivers coach Sparky McEwen, who totaled 2,183 passing yards in his Bulldog career. Vander Laan also ranks 12th in school history to date with 3,436 career yards of total offense.
A year ago, Vander Laan shined in his first campaign running a new offense en route to GLIAC Freshman of the Year recognition. The standout signal caller directed the Bulldogs to only the program's second season with seven or more victories in the last decade, which included FSU's first win over rival Grand Valley State since 1999 and the program's first triumph over divisional opponent Michigan Tech in 10 years.
Vander Laan established a GLIAC single-season record for rushing yardage by a quarterback as he ran for a FSU rookie record 1,338 yards on 247 carries (5.4 avg.) and 16 touchdowns in leading the Bulldogs in 2012. His team-high rushing total helped the Bulldogs rank among the nation's top 10 teams in both rushing offense and total offense as Ferris State shattered a school record with 3,364 yards on the ground and averaged 473 yards per game of total offense. He was 133 of 231 in the air for 1,493 yards and 13 scores. Ferris State led the GLIAC in rushing and placed second in total offense while facing one of the nation's toughest schedules, according to the Massey Ratings.
Vander Laan finished third in the league in rushing (121.6 ypg.), fourth in total offense (257.4 ypg.), sixth in scoring (9.1 ppg.) along with eighth in passing (135.7 ypg.) a year ago. He placed 17th nationally in Division II rushing yardage.
Ferris State, which is currently 1-1 overall this campaign, will visit defending GLIAC Champion Ashland on Saturday, Sept. 21, for a 7 p.m. (ET) league tilt in Ashland, Ohio.