Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football squad opened its 2014 campaign in impressive fashion on a historic night at Leemon Field in Lebanon, Ill., as the Bulldogs posted a decisive 75-14 win over McKendree in non-league action.
Ferris State tallied a school-record 761 yards of total offense and a school-best 476 rushing yards on 50 carries while scoring the most points ever by a Bulldog squad in winning its 106th season opener.
The Bulldogs bolted out to a 15-0 lead and added a pair of late touchdowns in the first half to take a commanding 42-14 lead at the break. From there, the Bulldog defense pitched a shutout and FSU had four second-half scoring runs of 19 yards or more in registering the victory.
Junior quarterback Jason Vander Laan threw for 274 yards on 19-of-26 passing with four TD's while running for a team-high 86 yards and a score. Three of his first-half scoring passes went to senior wideout Jake Lampman, who hauled in six grabs for 101 yards along with the three TD's.
The Bulldogs started quickly by scoring on their first possession of the game. FSU drove 72 yards in seven plays with senior back Jamaal Jackson capping the drive with a 10-yard TD run only 2:47 into the game.
Following a defensive stop, the Bulldogs then marched 66 yards in nine plays with Vander Laan hooking up with Lampman for a 39-yard scoring toss with 6:37 to play in the opening frame.
McKendree, facing Ferris State for the first-time ever, answered with 5:08 to play in the first as Dustin Walls caught a 50-yard TD pass from quarterback Isaac Fisher to finish a 70-yard drive in four plays.
However, the Bulldogs responded as they drove 88 yards in only four plays to take a 21-7 lead on Antonio Agurs' 12-yard pass from Vander Laan to start the second quarter. Then, only four minutes later, Vander Laan hooked up with Lampman for a 25-yard scoring pass to push the Bulldog lead to 28-7 with 6:46 remaining in the period.
The Bearcats pulled back within two scores at the 5:20 mark of the first half when Ryan Herring scampered in from 45-yards out to finish a four-play, 58-yard drive.
But, the Bulldogs added two scores in the final two minutes of the second quarter to build a 42-14 lead at the break. Lampman finished a 65-yard drive with a 16-yard scoring toss from Vander Laan and soon after Vander Laan found paydirt from 40-yards away on his own to end the half.
Ferris State continued its dominance in the third quarter as they opened the second half with a 25-yard field goal from kicker Mitch Bredberg to push the margin to 45-14. Later, they added a safety with just under six minutes to play in the frame to take a 47-14 edge into the final period.
FSU tacked on four touchdowns in the final period as all those in uniform had an opportunity to play. Redshirt freshman Jajuan Pollock scored his first collegiate TD on a 38-yard scoring run with 12:20 left and on the following Bulldog possession sophomore backup QB Trevor Bermingham raced untouched 67-yards to the house on his first play from scrimmage.
Freshman Jevonte Alexander scored on a blocked punt return for Ferris State with 8:31 remaining and the Bulldogs added a 19-yard scoring dash from redshirt freshman Brandan Campbell with two minutes to play to account for the final margin.
Along with the records posted by the Bulldog offense, they totaled 34 first downs and finished seven-of-12 on third down conversions. Meanwhile, the defensive unit held the Bearcats to 336 total yards, including only 129 on the ground on 28 tries. McKendree finished only three-of-14 on third down.
In addition to Vander Laan, Jahaan Brown added 83 yards rushing with Campbell totaling 71 and Bermingham netting 67 yards. On the receiving end, Agurs caught a team-high seven passes for 53 yards with Lampman hauling in six catches for 101 yards. Wideout Shakur Sanders totaled three grabs for 64 yards and Jamel Lockett had three catches for 48 total yards.
Fisher paced McKendree by completing 20-of-29 throws for 196 yards, but was intercepted twice by the Bulldogs in the second half. Cameron James had six catches for 29 yards and Herring totaled 80 yards on six carries out of the backfield.
Defensively, Nick Huckabay finished with nine stops for FSU and redshirt freshman KC Zenner had six tackles. Both sophomore Anthony Darkangelo and junior Troy Smith intercepted a pass.
Ferris State opens Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play next Saturday (Sept. 13) at Northwood with kickoff set for 1 p.m. (ET) at Hantz Stadium in Midland. The home opener is the following week on Sept. 20 versus archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic at Top Taggart Field starting at 7 p.m. (ET).
*More postgame coverage is coming soon!
Ferris State Football Registers Record-Breaking Victory In Season Opener
Sep 04, 2014