Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football squad kicked off the 2015 campaign in impressive fashion as the Bulldogs rolled past Northwood 40-3 before a large home crowd on Saturday (Sept. 12) night at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
Senior quarterback and reigning Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan threw for 320 yards and added 158 more on the ground as the Bulldogs tallied 24 second-half points to break the game open for their 15th-straight regular-season victory dating back to 2013.
Nearly 6,000 fans were on hand for the season opener presented by New Horizon's Landscaping and were treated to a Bulldog win in game of the 2015 campaign .
While Vander Laan and the offense rolled up 595 yards of total offense, the Bulldogs' defense made a week one statement as they gave up only three points and limited NU's ground game to only 86 yards on 39 carries. Northwood fell to 1-1 on the year with the setback.
Ferris State got on the board first on its third offensive series as Vander Laan connected with senior slot receiver Antonio Agurs on a long pass reception to get the drive started. Then, on the following play, he found junior slot Jamel Lockett for a 56-yard scoring connection to cap a two-play, 83-yard march late in the first quarter.
FSU came back to start the second frame with a lengthy 86-yard drive in 12 plays, which was capped by a 21-yard field goal from Nate Iveson.
The 10-0 Bulldog advantage stood until Northwood answered a little more than two minutes later on a 30-yard field goal from David Knudsen. His kick finished a 57-yard NU drive, but resulted in the Timberwolves' only points of the night.
Ferris State received a big lift with 4:27 remaining before halftime when sophomore cornerback Jevonte Alexander delivered a hit on a Northwood punt return to knock the ball loose. It was recovered in the endzone by FSU's Kyle Kujawa, giving FSU a 16-3 lead at halftime.
The Bulldogs' offense began clicking in the third quarter as they opened the half by moving 65 yards in 12 plays. Vander Laan found Lockett from 12-yards away for his second score of the game as FSU took a 23-3 lead.
On the following drive, Vander Laan raced up the middle for a 48-yard TD to push the Bulldogs' advantage to 30-3. His scoring run finished off a 78-yard drive in four plays.
The Bulldogs then closed the third quarter with Iveson connecting on a 21-yard field goal after FSU drove 66 yards in nine plays.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs marched 60 yards in eight plays with senior back Ben Hinamanu scoring from 14 yards out.
Along with Vander Laan's offensive production, Lockett had six grabs for 96 yards and Agurs tallied six catches for 95 yards. Senior wideout Jake Lampman caught three passes for 50 yards with JaJuan Pollock notching three grabs for 39 yards. Pollock also tallied 31 yards on the ground.
Vander Laan completed 20-of-37 passes for 320 yards and two scores while running for 158 yards on 13 carries and one TD.
On the Northwood side, Shane Barron compiled 27 yards to rank as the Timberwolves' leading rusher. Mark Morris completed 12-of-25 passes for 156 yards, but was sacked twice. Andre Carter led the Northwood receivers with four catches for 49 yards.
Defensively, David Holley led FSU with eight tackles while defensive end Dylan Roney had six stops, including 1.5 sacks and tackles for loss to go with a quarterback hurry. The quartet of Jaleel Canty, Ato Condelee, David Churchwell and Will Hunt recorded five stops each.
Michael Fisher led the Northwood defense with 13 total tackles.
Ferris State, ranked second in the Sporting News preseason poll and #6 in the American Football Coaches Association rankings, will head to Allendale next Saturday (Sept. 19) to face archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic at Lubbers Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (ET) with the two West Michigan rivals both entering the game unbeaten and ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation.
#2 Ferris State Opens 2015 Campaign With Convincing Win Before Large Home Crowd
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