University Center, Mich. - The nationally 15th-ranked Ferris State University football squad went on the road and pulled out a convincing 49-17 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road triumph under wet and rainy conditions against the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals on Saturday (Oct. 14).
The Bulldogs took advantage of a pair of SVSU turnovers that led to a short field and shutout the Cardinals in the second half while improving to 5-1 overall and 4-1 in conference play.
FSU opened the scoring after an early Saginaw Valley State interception and found the endzone first as slot Devontae Harrington found paydirt on an eight-yard scoring run less than seven minutes into the contest.
The Cardinals responded with a lengthy 15-play, 74-yard march and hit the scoreboard for the first time with 1:20 left in the opening stanza on Drew Franklin's first collegiate field goal from 26-yards away. That cut the FSU lead to 7-3 following the first quarter.
Ferris State pushed its lead to 14-3 early in the second period when sophomore quarterback Travis Russell hooked up with wideout Malik Taylor on a 22-yard pass play to finish a seven-play, 73-yard FSU jaunt.
Saginaw Valley State again responded and cut the Bulldog lead to 14-10 on quarterback Ryan Conklin's 43-yard scoring run, which came following a FSU fumble.
Hoawever, Ferris State used a big kickoff return and tailback Jahaan Brown raced to the endzone from seven yards away to cap off a short three-play, 25-yard drive, giving FSU a 21-10 lead with five minutes remaining in the half.
Then, following a SVSU fumble, the Bulldogs again used the short field and Russell found Taylor on a 28-yard scoring connection to push the margin to 28-10 with 4:36 to go in the second period.
Saginaw Valley State eventually cut the deficit to 28-17 at halftime when Nate McCrary scored on a five-yard TD run with two minutes left in the half, finishing off an 83-yard SVSU scoring march.
The second half, though, belonged to the Bulldogs as FSU kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard. Ferris State opened the second half scoring with a one-yard Russell TD run late in the third period.
Soon after, FSU held the Cardinals defensively and the special teams unit blocked a Saginaw Valley State punt, which was scooped up by linebacker Sam Heyboer. He dove in from the two-yard line on the return for his first collegiate score, which pushed the Bulldog lead to 42-17 heading into the final frame.
Ferris State scored the only fourth quarter touchdown when Jevon Shaw reached the endzone on a one-yard dive to finish off a nine-play, 44-yard FSU jaunt.
For the day, the Bulldogs totaled 364 yards of total offense to 268 for the Cardinals. Russell completed 18-of-28 throws for 255 yards and two TD's with Taylor hauling in nine catches for 165 yards and two scores.
Conklin led the Cardinals by completing 13-of-29 passes for 101 yards and Tommy Scott Jr. ran for a game-high 75 rushing yards on 19 carries for SVSU. Chad Gailliard made four receptions for 65 yards.
Defensively, senior linebacker Terrell Porter made a game and personal career-high 17 tackles for the Bulldogs. Kenny James added seven stops while Jevontae Alexander tallied five tackles and had the early interception. Overall, the Bulldogs had eight tackles for loss in the game as well.
The win was FSU's fourth-straight in the series. Saturday's game was the 43rd consecutive matchup between the Bulldogs and the Cardinals.
Ferris State returns home to host archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic next Saturday (Oct. 21) at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids. The game is part of the Division II National Showcase Game of the Week and will kickoff at 1:05 p.m. (ET) as the two West Michigan rivals collide in the conference showdown.