FSU Postgame Press Conference
NW Missouri Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - The second-ranked Ferris State University Bulldogs advanced to the Super Region Championship game and the national quarterfinals for the third consecutive year as the Bulldogs pulled out a dramatic 27-21 victory over Division II power Northwest Missouri State on Saturday (Nov. 24) in round two of the D2 Playoffs at Top Taggart Field.
With the win, the Bulldogs set a new school record with their 13th win of the year and will now advance to take on top-seeded Ouachita Baptist next Saturday (Dec. 1) in Arkadelphia, Ark. The official game time is to be announced.
For the second-straight week, FSU jumped in front early and built a 20-0 lead in postseason action before holding on down the stretch to preserve the win. The victory avenged a loss to the Bearcats in the only previous matchup between the two squads in the D2 National Semifinals in 2016.
Playing without injured starting quarterback and Harlon Hill Trophy candidate Jayru Campbell, the Bulldogs tallied 608 yards of total offense and ran for 321 yards in drizzly conditions to earn the win and move to 13-0 this season.
Ferris State started fast as junior slot receiver Jevon Shaw hooked up with wideout Sy Barnett on a long pass play on the game's opening offensive play. Soon after, sophomore back Marvin Campbell found the endzone on a two-yard carry to put FSU in front 7-0 only a minute into the game.
The Bulldogs got the ball back soon after and drove 96 yards in five plays with redshirt freshman quarterback Evan Cummins finding paydirt on an eight-yard scamper to make it 14-0 in FSU's favor. Cummins along with junior starter Travis Russell and senior Bret Mooney all split time at QB running the FSU offense in the game.
Ferris State pushed the edge to 20-0 in the first half as junior kicker Jackson Dieterle converted a pair of long field goals in the second period. His first was a career-long from 45 yards out and finished a nine-play, 34-yard FSU drive.
Dieterle's second field goal came from 44 yards away and finished a 10-play, 58-yard jaunt with 2:50 left in the opening half.
The Bearcats got their only score on the opening half with nine seconds remaining on Braden Wright's 19-yard scoring throw to Shawn Bane.
In the second half, Northwest Missouri State cut the margin to 20-14 early when Jack Richards picked off a Bulldog pass and raced 32 yards to the endzone only three minutes into the third stanza.
However, Ferris State responded late in the period by moving 74 yards in eight plays with Russell finishing off the drive on a two-yard scoring run in the final minute.
The Bearcats finally pulled back within 27-21 with 14 seconds left on Wright's two-yard TD toss to Alec Tatum, which finished off a eight-play, 88-yard march. Soon after, Northwest Missouri State recovered the onside kick and moved the ball to the FSU 34-yard line, but a potential game-winning attempt was thwarted as FSU got pressure and stripped Wright of the ball and recovered as time expired.
The Bulldogs were led by Russell, who completed six-of-11 passes for 147 yards while running for 80 yards on 15 carries. Marvin Campbell had a team-high 84 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
In the passing game, senior wideout Keyondre Craig caught three balls for 99 yards and Barnett had two catches for 106 yards.
Wright led Northwest Missouri State with a 28-of-43 passing effort for 269 yards and two TD's. LaTroy Harper caught a team-high eight passes for 115 yards with Josh Caldwell pacing the Bearcats on the ground with only 24 yards rushing. FSU limited the visitors to 300 yards of total offense, including only 31 yards rushing on 24 attempts.
Northwest Missouri State had its season end with a 10-3 overall record.
Stay tuned to FerrisStateBulldogs.com for additional information regarding the Bulldogs' trip to Ouachita Baptist for the D2 Super Region Three Championship game next Saturday.