Big Rapids - The nationally fourth-ranked Ferris State University football squad ran its regular-season winning streak to 18 consecutive games before a large and enthusiastic homecoming crowd with a 35-18 victory over the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals on Saturday (Sept. 26) at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The Bulldogs scored three-straight touchdowns in the opening half to battle back from an early deficit and the defense did not allow a score in the second half as FSU improved to 3-0 overall and in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) this campaign.
Saginaw Valley State struck first as the Cardinals put together an 82-yard touchdown drive that drained the first 5:20 off of the clock. They found the endzone on Brad Odeman's 26-yard scoring pass to Marq Johnson with 9:40 to play in the opening period, but missed the PAT try.
Ferris State, though, went on to score on the next three possessions, forcing Saginaw Valley State to punt following each scoring drive for the Bulldogs.
Senior receiver Jake Lampman opened the scoring for Ferris State when he took off on an 11-yard hand off and found the endzone to put the Bulldogs up 7-6 with just over six minutes left in the first frame. FSU drove 69 yards on 10 plays on the drive. Ferris State never relinquished the lead following the score.
Junior slot Jajuan Pollock then haulded in a pass from senior quarterback Jason Vander Laan from five yards out to make it 14-6 in favor of the Bulldogs less than three minutes later as FSU marched 65 yards in eight plays.
It took Vander Laan only five seconds into the second quarter to rush his way into the endzone from three yards away to put Ferris State up 21-6. FSU's drive began late in the first quarter and went for 54 yards in six plays.
Saginaw Valley State finally answered when Odeman snuck in from two yards away with 9:22 left in the half, but the celebration was short lived.
The Bulldogs blocked the point after attempt and senior defensive back Troy Smith picked up the ball and raced 98 yards to the opposite endzone on the conversion, putting the Bulldogs up 23-12 after the Cardinal touchdown.
Ferris State closed the half scoring on a run by redshirt freshman back Robert Thomas III to go up 29-12 into halftime, but it took head coach Tony Annese pulling a little trickery to keep the late half drive alive.
After halftime, Ferris State would add one more score when Vander Laan found junior slot Jamel Lockett for a nine-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. It capped a four-play, 49-yard Bulldog jaunt.
The Cardinals blocked a punt with 4:16 remaining in regulation and scored on the 10-yard block to finish the scoring and make it 35-18 in favor of Ferris State.
Vander Laan finished the day 22-of-31 throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns. The senior and reigning Harlon Hill Trophy winner also led the way rushing with 86 yards and one touchdown on the day. Lockett led all receivers with 91 yards on six catches with one touchdown. Senior slot Antonio Agurs hauled in seven catches for 36 yards and Pollock added five grabs for 31 yards.
Ferris State piled up 442 yards of total offense to Saginaw Valley State's 279 for the afternoon.
Senior defensive back David Churchwell led the Bulldogs defensively with 10 total tackles. Huckabay finished with 2.5 tackles for loss to lead the Bulldogs in that category and tallied seven total stops as did junior linebacker Anthony Darkangelo.
On the Saginaw Valley State side, Odeman completed 19-of-41 passes for 206 yards. Max Corcoran had five catches for 64 yards with Johnson hauling in three passes for 82 yards. Drew Herrell led SVSU on the ground with 66 yards as the Cardinals were limited to only 73 rushing yards.
The win is Ferris State's second consecutive over Saginaw Valley State and also the second consecutive homecoming victory for Ferris State.
The Bulldogs will head to Ohio twice in the next two weeks as FSU embarks on a two-game road trip. Ferris State is back in action on Saturday, Oct. 3, on the road at Findlay with kickoff set for 12 p.m. (ET) at Donnell Stadium in Findlay, Ohio.
FSU, which drew 6,577 fans for Saturday's homecoming matchup, will not return to Top Taggart Field until hosting Ohio Dominican in a rematch of the 2014 NCAA Division II Playoffs on Saturday, Oct. 17, at noon.