Big Rapids, Mich. - A big fourth down call late in the contest lifted the third-ranked Ferris State University Bulldogs to a thrilling 35-31 road victory over second-ranked Grand Valley State 35-31 before a large crowd on Saturday (Oct. 13) night in the Anchor-Bone Classic at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale.
Ferris State converted a 31-yard touchdown throw from slot receiver Jevon Shaw on a throwback to junior quarterback Jayru Campbell on a key fourth down call with just over three minutes remaining to put the Bulldogs in front for the final time in the back-and-fourth contest.
From there, the Bulldog defense came up with a huge stop after GVSU marched into FSU territory when junior Delon Stephenson picked off his second pass of the night to preserve the win.
With the victory, the Bulldogs stayed perfect at 7-0 on the year and are now alone atop the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) with a 5-0 league record. The win was FSU's seventh in the last nine matchups against the Lakers under head coach Tony Annese.
Campbell had a big night again for the Bulldogs as he ran for a game-high 101 yards on the ground while throwing for 229 yards and a pair of scores. All told, he accounted for four TD's in the win.
Grand Valley State got off to a quick start as the Lakers jumped in front 10-0 in the opening period on a three-yard TD run from tailback Chawntez Moss followed by a 24-yard field goal from J.J. McGrath.
However, FSU answered with a long 11-play, 68-yard drive capped by a 15-yard TD pass from Campbell to senior wideout Keyondre Craig early in the second to make it a three-point game.
From there, the Bulldogs then took their first lead with 3:53 to play in the half when Campbell scored from six yards out on a keeper, finishing off a five-play, 75-yard FSU jaunt.
GVSU regained the lead heading into the locker room, though, when senior QB Bart Williams found wideout Nick Dodson on an eight-yard scoring toss, giving the Lakers a 17-14 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Grand Valley State again pushed the lead back to 10 points as they took the second half kickoff and marched 74 yards in five plays with Moss scoring from 11 yards away to make it 24-14.
But, the Bulldogs responded only two plays later when Campbell hooked up with redshirt freshman receiver Sy Barnett on an 80-yard scoring play to trim the lead to 24-21.
Late in the third, with 2:55 to play, the Bulldogs regained the lead of their own when Stephenson picked off a Williams throw and raced 52 yards to the endzone on the "pick six" play, lifting Ferris State in front 28-24 heading into the fourth.
The Lakers surged back in front with 14:55 remaining when Moss scored for the third time from two yards out after a seven-play, 68-yard GVSU scoring drive. That gave the Lakers a 31-28 lead.
But, FSU eventually got the ball back after a missed field goal try and moved 64 yards in five plays, taking a 35-31 lead on Shaw's scoring pass back to Campbell. After Stephenson's interception on the ensuing Laker drive, FSU ran time out to hold on for the win.
The Lakers fell to 6-1 overall with the setback as FSU beat GVSU for the third consecutive time overall. The win was the Bulldogs fourth in five road matchups at Lubbers Stadium under Annese.
Overall, GVSU totaled 521 yards to 391 for the Bulldogs, but was limited to only 34 yards rushing on 19 attempts. Williams completed 23-of-50 passes for 487 yards and a score, but was intercepted three times and sacked once by FSU. Moss led the Lakers on the ground with 37 yards rushing while Dodson caught 10 passes for 200 yards.
Along with Campbell's performance, the Bulldogs got three catches for 118 yards from Barnett with Marvin Campbell adding 24 yards rushing. Overall, Ferris State had 131 yards on the ground and 260 in the air.
Ferris State will head to Saginaw Valley State next Saturday, Oct. 20, for a 1 p.m. (ET) league matchup in University Center, Mich.