Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football squad advanced to the national quarterfinals for the second consecutive season as the Bulldogs took out the region's top-seeded Fort Hays State (Kan.) Tigers on Saturday (Nov. 25) at Lewis Field Stadium in Hays, Kan.
The Bulldogs built an early 10-0 halftime lead and used a pair of big third quarter scores to break the game open en route to the victory. FSU led 31-7 in the fourth quarter and nearly pushed the margin to 38-7 when a touchdown was called back before the Tigers scored twice late to trim the final margin.
With the win, FSU will now return home to host seventh-seeded Harding (Ark.) in the Super Region Three Championship game next Saturday, Dec. 2, at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (ET).
Ferris State improved to 11-1 overall this season and the Bulldogs won their ninth consecutive game in the first-ever matchup against the Tigers before a crowd of 7,348 fans in Western Kansas. FHSU suffered its first loss of the year in closing the campaign with an 11-1 overall mark.
Senior quarterback Reggie Bell spearheaded the Bulldog attack offensively as FSU rolled up 460 yards of total offense. The FSU defense also limited the Tigers to only 316 total yards.
Ferris State got on the board first in the second period when senior kicker Wyatt Ford converted a 28-yard field goal with 13:43 to go to finish a 14-play, 61-yard FSU drive. Soon after, the Bulldogs pushed the margin to 10-0 when senior tailback Jahaan Brown found the endzone from three-yards out to cap a five-play, 56-yard march.
The score stood until early in the third when Fort Hays State finally found the scoreboard when tailback Kenneth Iheme raced 66-yards to the endzone on the opening drive of the second half for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs, though, answered quickly as Bell drove FSU 64 yards in 10 plays before Devontae Harrington reached the endzone on a three-yard sweep with 7:35 to play in the third to push the advantage back to two scores.
FSU then added another score late in the third when Bell found wideout Malik Taylor on a 19-yard scoring throw to push the edge to 24-7 after three quarters.
In the fourth, the Bulldogs found paydirt with 11:09 remaining on Brown's three-yard TD burst, which finished off a 10-play, 55-yard drive for the Bulldogs and made it a 31-7 advantage.
After a long scoring throw to wideout Brandon Walker was called back due to a penalty and the FSU drive stalled, Fort Hays State finally reached the endzone again on an 81-yard run from Iheme up the sideline. The Tigers then accounted for the final scoring on a late four-yard scoring completion.
Ferris State was led by Bell's 70 yards rushing. He also completed 13-of-23 passes for 168 yards and a score. Brown ran for 57 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries while Walker caught three balls for 119 yards and Taylor made four grabs for 54 yards.
Iheme paced the Tigers with 162 rushing yards while quarterback Jacob Mezera completed 23-of-37 throws for 170 yards and a score.
Stay tuned to FerrisStateBulldogs.com for complete coverage along with additional information pertaining to next Saturday's national quarterfinal game against Harding.