Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - Nationally fourth-ranked Ferris State used a big third quarter of action and held off visiting Ashland down the stretch to pull out a hard-fought 28-21 win in the NCAA Division II National Game of the Week on homecoming Saturday (Sept. 29) at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
With the win, FSU improved to 5-0 overall and stayed perfect in the GLIAC at 3-0 this year.
The Bulldogs built a 28-7 lead after three periods before the Eagles rallied and pulled within a score with 3:08 left to play. AU got the ball back with a final drive ending in Bulldog territory only inches short of another first down with 41 seconds to play as FSU preserved the win.
The opening half was virtually scoreless as neither team found the endzone until Ashland converted on a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by a Luke Ogi five-yard scoring run with 3:22 remaining in the second frame.
The Bulldogs got the ball to start the second half and drove 67 yards in five plays to take their first lead on a 15-yard throw from Campbell to Barnett, making it a 14-7 game.
Then, with 5:53 to play in the third, Campbell directed a six-play, 79-yard jaunt and finished the drive with a 23-yard scoring run to give FSU a 21-7 edge.
Soon after, FSU's Delon Stephenson made a big defensive play as he came up with an interception and raced 16 yards to the endzone on a pick six, making it 28-7 with less than six minutes in the third.
The score stood until Ashland marched 80 yards in nine plays early in the fourth with QB Austin Brennter finding M. Scheweitzer on a 30-yard scoring throw to cut the deficit back to two scores with 12:19 to play.
The Eagles later drove 73 yards in 14 play with Andrew Vaughn scoring from two yards out with only 3:08 to play, cutting the margin to 28-21.
Ashland kicked off to FSU and held the Bulldogs, giving the Eagles one final opportunity. They drove to the Ferris State 29-yard line before the final drive ended on fourth down.
Campbell led the Bulldog offense with 111 yards rushing on 31 carries while completing 19-of-26 passes for 272 yards and two scores. Barnett made seven grabs for 129 yards and two TD's while senior receiver Keyondre Craig had six catches for 62 yards.
Meanwhile, Vaughn ran for 116 yards for Ashland with Brenner completing 20-of-43 passes for 248 yards. Kamaron Green had eight catches for 95 yards.
Stephenson paced the FSU defense with 11 tackles while linebacker Sam Heyboer netted 10 overall.
Ferris State finished with 398 yards of total offense to 413 for the Eagles. The Bulldogs had 126 yards rushing with 272 in the air while the Eagles netted 165 on the ground and 248 passing.
The Bulldogs will next square off Michigan Tech on Saturday, Oct. 6, in the "Battle At The Ballpark" to be played at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (ET). Tickets are on sale now and additional information is available at FerrisStateBulldogs.com/Ballpark.