Big Rapids, Mich. – With a strong showing of support from the Bulldog Nation behind its back, the nationally-ranked Ferris State University football team held onto possession of the Anchor-Bone Trophy for the third-straight year with a 42-17 triumph over rival Grand Valley State on Saturday (Sept. 20) night to remain unbeaten in 2014.
A crowd of nearly 6,000 fans watched the Bulldogs bolt out to a 21-10 halftime lead and score a pair of early third-quarter touchdowns en route to the victory in FSU's home opener. FSU improved to 3-0 overall and 2-0 in the GLIAC with the win.
The Bulldogs received a huge first half boost from Harlon Hill Trophy candidate Jason Vander Laan as the junior signal caller orchestrated the FSU attack. He hooked up with senior wide receiver Jake Lampman for a 31-yard touchdown connection to finish a 54-yard drive, giving FSU the early lead only six minutes into the outing.
However, the Lakers responded with a 66-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Kirk Spencer five-yard touchdown run to tie the contest up at seven with 3:54 to play in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs surged ahead again as freshman linebacker KC Zenner made a key play in the opening half by forcing a fumble in Laker territory. Ferris State took advantage of the turnover as Jamaal Jackson scored on a two-yard touchdown carry to give FSU a 14-7 lead with just over nine minutes to play in the first half.
The Lakers cut the Bulldogs' lead to four with just under seven minutes to go in the first half on a 21-yard Joel Schipper field goal, which finished a 63-yard march.
But, the FSU offense bounced back soon after and came up with a critical fourth down conversion. Vander Laan followed his offensive line for a one-yard gain deep in FSU territory and soon after connected on a 35-yard throw to Lampman, which was followed up by a five-yard touchdown strike to sophomore wideout Shakur Sanders. The 11-play, 84-yard drive gave the Bulldogs an 11-point lead at the break.
Ferris State followed up its strong first half finish with a 67-yard touchdown completion from Vander Laan to Sanders on the opening drive of the second half. The defense then got into action soon after as junior cornerback Troy Smith picked off an Isiah Grimes pass, giving the ball back to the FSU offense.
The Bulldogs took advantage of the costly Grand Valley State turnover quickly to push their advantage. Vander Laan found Lampman for the duo's second touchdown connection of the game on a 16-yard scoring pass. This score pushed the Bulldog lead to 35-10 with 8:33 left in quarter three.
The Bulldogs would add one more touchdown in the air to take home the victory and keep the Anchor-Bone Trophy in Big Rapids as sophomore quarterback Trevor Bermingham came off the bench to find Sanders on a 13-yard scoring play with only 1:53 to play in the game. GVSU's Grimes found wideout Jaime Potts for a 34-yard TD toss only 16 seconds later to account for the final margin.
The Bulldogs received another big performance from Vander Laan in taking down GVSU for a third straight year. He carried the ball 28 times for 158 yards while completing 19-of-28 passes for 215 yards and four scores in the air. Sanders and Lampman combined for five touchdowns and 196 yards in the win as Lampman caught five passes for 93 yards and two TD's while Sanders netted 103 yards on four catches with three scores. FSU's Jamel Lockett added 67 yards rushing on three carries and caught four balls for 16 yards.
On the GVSU side, Grimes threw for 199 yards and a touchdown in the loss. His primary target was Potts, who had four receptions for 68 yards and a score.
All told, FSU's offense compiled 496 total yards with 258 on the ground and 238 in the air. Ferris State also finished 12-of-21 on third down conversions. Meanwhile, the defense limited GVSU to 296 total yards and only 97 yards rushing on 32 attempts. The Lakers were also only three-of-14 on third down and did not convert on four fourth-down tries.
Ferris State's defense stepped up to the challenge and came up with a pair of crucial fourth down stops with its back against the wall in the second half. Zenner had seven tackles along with a forced fumble while Smith also played a big role in the secondary. Senior Darnell Morris had a team-high 11 stops in his first action of the season while senior defensive tackle Marcus Cribbs had seven stops on the inside. Sophomore Anthony Darkangelo added six tackles, including three for loss.
The Bulldogs will put their undefeated mark on the line as they visit Saginaw Valley State next Saturday (Sept. 27) for another GLIAC North Division showdown. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (ET) in University Center, Mich.
Following next week's game at SVSU, Ferris State returns to Top Taggart Field for homecoming versus Findlay on Saturday, Oct. 4.
Ferris State Rolls To Big Win Over Rival GVSU To Remain Unbeaten & Keep Anchor-Bone Trophy
Sep 20, 2014