Ferris State Notches One Of Biggest Wins In School History To Reach NCAA Semifinals

Ferris State Notches One Of Biggest Wins In School History To Reach NCAA Semifinals

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University Bulldogs pulled out one of the biggest wins in school history on Saturday (Dec. 3) as FSU recorded its first-ever NCAA playoff road victory with a thrilling 47-32 triumph over archrival Grand Valley State in the Super Region Four Championship Game at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale.

With the victory, Ferris State tied a school-record by claiming its 12th win of the year and will now advance to the NCAA Semifinals for only the second time in school history. FSU will visit Northwest Missouri State on Saturday, Dec. 10, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. (ET) in Maryville, Mo.

The Bulldogs avenged last year's second-round playoff loss to the Lakers by winning their eighth consecutive game this season. The most recent FSU setback was a 35-23 decision at the hands of the Lakers on Oct. 8 in Allendale.

Ferris State got off to a quick start in its second-trip to Lubbers Stadium this year as the Bulldogs bolted out to an early 12-0 lead. FSU got the first points of the game midway thru the opening period when GVSU snapped the ball over the punter's head and thru the endzone, giving FSU a 2-0 lead.

The Bulldogs utilized strong field possession in the first quarter to push the advantage to 9-0 at the end of the period when junior quarterback Reggie Bell raced into the endzone on a nine-yard TD run to finish an eight-play, 35-yard FSU jaunt.

The lead grew to 12-0 with 9:22 to play in the first half as junior kicker Wyatt Ford connected on a 25-yard field goal to finish a 10-play, 61-yard FSU drive.

From there, though, the Lakers rallied. GVSU marched 51 yards in eight plays to post its first points of the day with 6:07 to go in the first half on a 37-yard Joel Schipper field goal. 

Later, the Lakers scored on a big play with only 3:12 in the half when standout tailback Marty Carter, the nation's leading rusher, sprinted thru the FSU defense for a 48-yard touchdown run. His score cut the FSU lead to 12-10 heading into halftime.

The Lakers took their only lead of the day on the opening drive of the second half when Bart Williams hooked up with Nick Dodson on a 13-yard scoring toss to finish a five-play, 72-yard GVSU drive. The Lakers' 17-12 lead, though, didn't last for long as Ferris State answered.

Senior quarterback Trevor Bermingham took the controls of the FSU offense in the second half and led FSU on a three-play, 49-yard scoring drive following a long kickoff return from sophomore wideout Malik Taylor. He capped the drive with a two-yard plunge, which was his first of four TD's on the afternoon. FSU regained the lead at 19-17 only a minute after GVSU had moved in front.

Soon after, the Bulldogs drove 60 yards in six plays on the next drive before Bermingham scored on a 19-yard run to push the FSU advantage to 26-17 with 7:54 left in the third.

Grand Valley State pulled back within two again late in the third quarter when Williams found Urston Smith on a 12-yard throw in the endzone. The TD came on a nine-play, 72-yard Laker march.

However, Ferris State moved back in front by two scores at the end of three quarters when Bermingham scored for the third time on a two-yard carry with only 33 seconds left in the period. His TD finished a drive covering 57 yards, giving FSU a 33-24 lead.

The lead grew early in the fourth when sophomore end Zach Sieler forced a turnover, which the Bulldogs recovered in the GVSU redzone. FSU needed only four plays to move 16 yards before Bermingham scored his last touchdown on a five-yard run. The score increased the FSU lead to 40-24 with 8:45 to play in the game.

The Lakers put their final points up with only 1:05 remaining when Williams hooked up again with Dodson on a 20-yard throw. After a two-point conversion, the Lakers cut the lead to eight with a chance at an onside kick.

But, the Bulldogs scooped up the onside kick try and junior KC Zenner raced 56-yards to the endzone for the touchdown to preserve the big Bulldog victory.

Ferris State finished with 465 yards of total offense, including 275 on the ground for the day. Meanwhile, the Lakers netted 397 yards, but were limited to only 87 yards rushing overall on 33 attempts. 

For Ferris State, Bermingham completed nine-of-11 throws for 163 yards while Bell went four-of-six for 27 yards. Junior tailback Jahaan Brown ran for a team-high 86 yards on 17 carries with Bermingham totaling 51 yards on 15 attempts plus the four scores. Bell gained 49 yards on 15 tries.

On the outside, Taylor hauled in five grabs for 132 yards and senior Shakur Sanders made three catches for 35 yards on the FSU side.

For Grand Valley State, Williams went 23-of-40 passing for 310 yards and three TD's, but was also sacked six times by the Bulldogs. Carter ran for 163 yards overall with Dodson catching 11 throws fro 162 yards and two scores.

Defensively, linebacker Nick Huckabay had a team-high 10 stops for the Bulldogs while Nick Matiere-Bey made seven stops and had two tackles for loss along with a sack. Sieler finished with 3.5 sacks for -23 yards on the Bulldog side. David Talley paced GVSU with 13 total tackles while Marquez Gollman netted 11 stops on the afternoon.

Overall, the Bulldogs finished six-of-seven in the redzone as they improved to 12-2 on the year. The 12 wins matches the 1995 Bulldog team for the most in school history. This year's playoff run is the longest since the '95 campaign for FSU.

Grand Valley State, which was ranked second in the country, saw its season come to an end with a 12-1 overall record.

More information on the Bulldogs' semifinal playoff game will be coming soon.