Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team made a statement on Saturday (Oct. 29) as the Bulldogs kept their playoff hopes alive with a decisive 42-20 win over Wayne State in a showdown of nationally-ranked teams at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The Bulldogs jumped in front of the Warriors by three scores in the first half and erased any chances of a WSU comeback with a strong third quarter en route to the victory.
The 22nd-ranked Bulldogs stunned the 19th-ranked Warriors to improve to 7-2 overall and in the GLIAC. Wayne State fell to 7-2 overall with the setback after coming into the contest ranked sixth in the initial NCAA Division II Super Region Four Rankings.
Ferris State, which was listed ninth in the region last week, jumped in front early as junior quarterback Reggie Bell scored on a 65-yard touchdown run with eight minutes left in the first period to give FSU a 7-0 lead.
On the following possession, senior defensive back David Churchwell intercepted a pass and ran it back into the redzone, which set up Bell's short six-yard TD pass to slot Jajuan Pollock, giving FSU a 14-0 edge after one period.
The Bulldogs increased the lead to three scores as Bell hooked up with senior wideout Shakur Sanders on a 49-yard scoring toss early in the second frame. The score capped a four-play, 67-yard FSU drive and made it 21-0 in the opening half.
Wayne State finally got on the board when quarteback Donovan Zezula found paydirt on a 23-yard TD run with five minutes left in the half. His race to the endzone finished a eight-play, 71-yard WSU scoring drive.
The Bulldogs, though, answered quickly as Bell scampered home from 37-yards away to make it 28-7 with 4:11 to go in the half.
However, the Warriors cut it back to two scores at halftime when Zezula capped a 12-play, 78-yard march with a 21-yard TD run for his second score of the game. It cut the FSU lead to 28-13 at halftime.
In the third quarter, though, Ferris State put the game away. The Bulldogs drove 78 yards in seven plays on the first possession of the second half to make it 35-13 on junior back Jahaan Brown's 12-yard TD run.
Soon after, Brown scored on a 32-yard carry while breaking tackles to get to the endzone, pushing the FSU lead to 42-13 with 6:30 remaining in the third following a seven-play, 93-yard Bulldog jaunt.
Wayne State accounted for the final scoring when tailback Romello Brown scored on a 25-yard run with only 2:02 left in the final period as the Warriors marched 98 yards on seven plays for the game's final score.
Ferris State finished with 545 yards of total offense while holding WSU to 419 yards. The Warriors compiled 207 on the ground and 212 in the air while FSU had 295 yards rushing and 250 passing.
Bell had another big day in leading the Bulldogs with 172 rushing yards on 13 carries with two scores. He also completed 13-of-18 throws for 239 yards and two TD's. Sophomore Malik Taylor made two catches for 68 yards, Sanders had two grabs for 60 yards and senior Jamel Lockett caught four balls for 46 yards to pace the FSU receivers.
Zezula finished 18-of-36 passing for 212 yards for Wayne State, but was intercepted once and sacked three times. He also rank for 55 yards on 12 attempts. Brown compiled a team-high 87 yards rushing on 20 carries with a score while Jamel Hicks caught seven passes for 91 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Nick Huckabay had a team-high seven stops for the Bulldogs while senior Anthony Darkangelo made six stops as did junior KC Zenner. Defensive end Zach Sieler also had six stops with 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks along with a quarterback hurry.
Ferris State will hit the road next Saturday as the Bulldogs venture to Hillsdale to face the Chargers in GLIAC play. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (ET) at Muddy Waters Stadium in Hillsdale.