Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football squad got back on track in a big way as the Bulldogs opened a three-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) homestand with a decisive 45-23 triumph over Northern Michigan on Saturday (Oct. 15) at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The Bulldogs racked up 436 rushing yards and received four touchdowns from junior quarterback Reggie Bell in jumping out to a 45-9 advantage en route to the win. Overall, FSU had 482 total offensive yards in the contest.
Ferris State bolted in front quickly as FSU marched 70 yards in nine plays to grab an early 7-0 lead on Bell's four-yard TD run with 5:44 left in the opening quarter.
Northern Michigan trimmed the score to 7-3 after the first period when Tyler Blackburn connected on a 46-yard field goal into the wind to finish a 12-play, 47-yard Wildcat jaunt near the end of the initial stanza.
The Bulldogs answered as Bell directed a six-play, 65-yard drive that resulted in his second touchdown with it coming on a three-yard keeper early in the second period. His score gave FSU a 14-3 lead.
The Wildcats again settled for a field goal when Blackburn drilled a 30-yarder to cut the deficit to 14-6 with 10 minutes left in the first half following an 11-play, 67-yard drive.
Ferris State responded quickly as Bell found a seam and sprinted 68 yards to paydirt to push the Bulldog advantage to 21-6 with 9:37 left in the second period. His run capped a quick two-play, 75-yard march that took only 34 seconds.
The Bulldogs increased the advantage to 24-6 at halftime as junior Wyatt Ford hit a 25-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. His field goal finished a drive that covered 43 yards and took 10 plays in the final 3:09 of the period.
Any hopes for a Northern Michigan comeback were dashed early in the second half as the Bulldogs opened the third quarter with a nine-play, 91-yard drive. Sophomore tailback Robert Thomas III finished the drive with a five-yard scoring run to give FSU a 31-6 lead.
Then, with 5:14 left in the third, Bell scored for the fourth time as he bolted 49 yards for a score to cap a two-play, 55-yard scoring drive.
Northern Michigan added a third field goal on the first play of the final quarter as Blackburn connected from 33-yards away, but FSU soon answered again with redshirt freshman back Marvin Campbell finding paydirt on a five-yard TD run. His score ended an 11-play drive that covered 75 yards for the Bulldogs.
The Wildcats finally reached the endzone with 4:09 left in the game as Jake Mayon scored on a one-yard run and he later added a 39-yard TD run with only 28 seconds to go as the Bulldogs had an opportunity to rotate new players on the field in the second half.
NMU finished with 337 yards of total offense in the setback with 152 coming in the air and 185 on the ground.
Bell led FSU with a game-high 154 yards rushing and four scores on 11 attempts while also completing five-of-eight passes for 46 yards. Junior Jahaan Brown also topped the 11-yard rushing mark with 103 yards on nine carries and Campbell chipped in 62 yards on 11 attempts. Senior Shakur Sanders caught three balls for 40 yards in leading the FSU receivers.
On the Northern Michigan side, quarterback Shaye Brown completed 22-of-44 throws for 152 yards. Mayon ran for 119 yards on 22 carries and Aaron Harris had 44 yards on 14 attempts. Julian Crum caught a game-best 11 receptions for 68 yards for NMU.
Defensively, the Bulldog trio of safety Willie Smith along with linebackers Anthony Darkangelo and Nick Huckabay each tallied eight total stops. Neither team turned the ball over in the contest.
With the win, Ferris State improved to 5-2 overall and in the GLIAC this year.
The Bulldogs continue their three-game homestand as they host the Lake Erie Storm next Saturday (Oct. 22) with kickoff set for 1 p.m. (ET) at Top Taggart Field.
Ferris State Football Posts Decisive Victory Over NMU To Open Three-Game Homestand