Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State Bulldogs advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs for the first time since 1995 as FSU beat Colorado Mines 38-17 on Saturday (Nov. 26) at FSU's Top Taggart Field for their its second-straight playoff win.
The Bulldogs used a pair of late first-half scores to take a 24-10 halftime edge and then sealed the triumph with a 63-yard touchdown toss for the only score of the fourth quarter in beating the Orediggers in the first-ever series matchup. With the win, the Bulldogs advance to the Super Region Four Championship game and the final eight of the NCAA Playoffs to meet archival Grand Valley State in the postseason for the second consecutive year.
Ferris State recorded its seventh-straight win of the season behind the play of senior quarterback Trevor Bermingham, who earned the start and threw for a career-high 392 yards on 19-of-30 passing. He accounted for five touchdowns in the victory for the second-seeded Bulldogs.
While FSU notched the win, it was Colorado Mines that started fast as the sixth-seeded visitors raced 46 yards in five plays on their opening drive following a long kickoff return to strike first. Standout quarterback and Harlon Hill Trophy frontrunner Justin Dvorak found tight end Brody Oliver for his nation-leading 25th TD grab of the season on a two-yard toss, giving Mines a 7-0 edge only 1:20 into the game.
The Bulldogs evened the game up with 6:28 remaining in the first period when Bermingham scored on a three-yard carry for his first of three TD runs in the game. His scoring run capped an eight-play, 39-yard drive for FSU.
Ferris State then took its first lead of the game with only 56 seconds remaining in the first period when junior kicker Wyatt Ford converted a 25-yard field goal to finish an 11-play, 57-yard FSU jaunt.
Back came Colorado Mines as the Orediggers drove 44 yards in nine plays to knot the game up at 10 points apiece on Austin Toussaint's 22-yard field goal with 8:42 left in the first half.
The turning point came in the final minutes of the opening half when the Bulldogs marched 76 yards and reached the end zone on Bermingham's 14-yard toss to senior receiver Shakur Sanders. It gave FSU a 17-10 edge with only 57 seconds left in the half.
Soon after, senior defensive back David Churchwell intercepted his second pass of the game when he picked off Dvorak and raced to the two-yard line. Bermingham plunged in from the two to give the Bulldogs a 24-10 halftime lead.
The Orediggers answered back in the third quarter after stopping FSU on the first drive of the second half. Mines put together a 12-play, 80-yard drive to pull within 24-17 on Dvorak's 16-yard scoring pass to Oliver only six minutes into the third.
On its next drive, Colorado Mines drove inside the Bulldog five-yard line and was on the doorstep looking to tie the game up, but the Bulldog defense held on fourth down and denied the Orediggers from scoring.
FSU then followed offensively with a 97-yard scoring drive capped by Bermingham, who found paydirt on a two-yard keeper, giving FSU a 31-17 lead with only 13 seconds left in the third.
The Bulldogs then picked up the only points of the final quarter when Bermingham hooked up with sophomore receiver Malik Taylor across the middle on a 63-yard strike to push the margin to 38-17 with 11:44 remaining in the contest. From there, the Bulldog defense held and preserved the win.
Ferris State rolled up 509 yards of total offense, including 392 in the air from Bermingham on 19-of-30 passing. He tossed two TD's and ran for three scores with a team-high 44 yards on the ground. Overall, FSU totaled only 117 yards rushing on 41 carries.
On the outside, Sanders caught a game-high eight passes for a personal career-high 214 receiving yards in the win. Taylor had four grabs for 93 yards on the Bulldog side.
The FSU defense held Colorado Mines to only 84 rushing yards and 447 yards of total offense. Mines came into the game leading the nation at 576 total yards per game and was averaging 50 points per contest before having its eight-game winning streak snapped by the Bulldogs.
Dvorak completed 32-of-53 passes for 363 yards and two scores, but was intercepted twice and sacked twice by the FSU defense. He also ran for a team-high 48 yards on 10 carries. Oliver made 11 catches for 166 yards and two scores while Zach Richter had 10 catches for 120 yards.
Senior linebacker Anthony Darkangelo paced FSU with a game-high 14 tackles while senior backer Nick Huckabay had seven stops. Sophomore end Zach Sieler made six stops and had two tackles for loss along with a sack in the victory.
With the win, Ferris State improved to 11-2 overall this year and Colorado Mines saw its season end with a 10-3 overall record.
The Bulldogs will square off against GVSU in the NCAA Playoffs for the second-straight year in the regional finals next Saturday, Dec. 3, at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. The official kickoff time will be 1:06 p.m. (ET).