Hillsdale, Mich. - The Ferris State University football battled the Hillsdale Chargers to the wire in a key Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division matchup on Saturday (Oct. 19) at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium, but fell short in a high-scoring affair by a 45-38 count.
Hillsdale moved 77 yards in just over a minute to score the go-ahead touchdown on a 14-yard TD pass from Sam Landry to Joe Srebernak with only 29 seconds to play to account for the difference. FSU was able to move to midfield, but a desperation throw in the closing seconds came up short as time expired.
With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to 4-3 overall and 4-2 in the GLIAC while Hillsdale improved to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The matchup pitted a pair of one-loss teams who both trailed leader Saginaw Valley State by a single game in the GLIAC North heading into the contest.
Ferris State totaled 476 yards in the contest, including 309 on the ground, but also gave up 490 yards to the Chargers in the setback.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on the first drive of the afternoon as FSU marched 72 yards in eight plays to take an early 7-0 edge on Jason Vander Laan's one-yard TD run.
However, the Chargers answered back late in the first when Wade Wood finished a 67-yard Hillsdale jaunt with a one-yard plunge to tie the game up at seven points apice after the opening stanza.
Hillsdale grabbed its first lead of the day at 12:58 of the second quarter when Landry found tight end Mike Carter in the endzone for a five-yard scoring pass. The Chargers needed to move only 43 yards on the short drive to grab the lead.
Ferris State responded offensively less than two minutes later as Vander Laan drove the Bulldogs 75 yards in six plays before finishing the drive with a six-yard scoring run to tie the game up at 14-14 overall.
FSU came up with a big defensive play soon after when Ricardo Duncan picked off Landry's pass and raced 44 yards to the endzone on the pick six to give FSU a 21-14 edge. The interception return was the Bulldogs' second in as many weeks.
Back came Hillsdale as Landry engineered another drive on a short field with Hillsdale moving 45 yards in only four plays to tie it back up on the senior quarterback's eight-yard keeper with 1:17 left in the half.
The score was tied at 21 points apiece at halftime after a Bulldog field goal was blocked as time expired in the second quarter.
Hillsdale opened the second half by taking a 28-21 advantage as the Chargers went 75 yards in eight plays and capped the march with a seven-yard strike from Landry to John Haley only five minutes into the third period.
As the Bulldogs did most of the day, though, the offense came back as Antonio Agurs found paydirt on a seven-yard run to tie the contest up at 28-28 with 7:32 to play in the third following a lengthy 86-yard Bulldog scoring drive.
Late in the third, a 43-yard field goal from Steven Mette gave Hillsdale a three-point edge. HC moved 41 yards in 11 plays before the Bulldogs forced the Chargers to settle for the long field goal.
Ferris State took its final lead of the day with 13:20 to play in the fourth as the Bulldogs closed the third period and opened the final stanza with a 71-yard drive that featured 12 plays. Junior Jake Lampman scooted into the endzone from two-yards away to give FSU a 35-31 edge.
Hillsdale surged ahead 38-35 midway thru the fourth on a 69-yard TD pass from Landry to Andrew Mott down the sideline that came on a key third down and long situation.
However, FSU drove 61 yards in 11 plays to tie up the game with 4:44 remaining on Austin Kantola's 27-yard field goal. The Bulldogs moved deep into Charger territory before being forced to tie the game up with the short field goal.
FSU got the ball back on a huge third-down play in the backfield from safety Jamar Wimberly, but FSU was forced to punt the ball away with less than two minutes to play, which eventually setup the Chargers game-winning score. The final Hillsdale drive was aided by a pair of key flags thrown against the Bulldog defense.
The Bulldogs were making their first visit to Muddy Waters Stadium since 2010 and looking for their first victory in Hillsdale since 2003.
Hillsdale was exceptional on third down as the Chargers converted nine-of-18 times (50%) while holding FSU to only a two-of-nine (22%) showing. With the exception of Duncan's pick six, both teams were able to hold onto the football as that was the game's lone turnover.
Landry had a big day in orchestrating the Hillsdale attack by completing 23-of-40 passing for 355 yards and four scores. Seven completions went to Srebernak for 97 yards, including the game-winning reception in the endzone. Isaac Spence paced the Chargers on the ground with 47 yards on 20 carries while Landry added 42 yards on 14 tries.
On the Bulldog side, Vander Laan had 124 yards rushing on 20 attempts with two scores while he completed 13-of-23 passes for 167 yards. Jamaal Jackson chipped in with 93 yards on 14 carries and Korey Ringer totaled 56 yards on six tries. Lampman led the Bulldog wideouts with four catches for 74 yards.
Defensively, senior Marvin Robinson had a game-high 17 tackles for the FSU defense with Wimberly adding nine stops along with his sack in the backfield. Terell Porter finished with six stops.
Hillsdale's defensive unit was led by Steven Embry's 15 stops. Austin Koneval totaled 11 tackles and Brett Pasche had 10 to go along with a blocked kick.
Ferris State will be back in action next Saturday (Oct. 26) as the Bulldogs wrap up a two-game GLIAC road swing at Michigan Tech. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET) at MTU's Sherman Field in Houghton.