#3 Ferris State Stays Unbeaten With Hard-Fought Road Victory

#3 Ferris State Stays Unbeaten With Hard-Fought Road Victory

Marquette, Mich. - The nationally third-ranked Ferris State University football team stayed unbeaten on the year with a hard-fought 49-39 road win over the Northern Michigan Wildcats on Saturday (Nov. 7) inside the Superior Dome in Marquette.

The Bulldogs received another stellar performance from senior quarterback Jason Vander Laan on a record-setting day as they held off the Wildcats to win their 24th-straight regular season contest and pick up their 13th consecutive road triumph.

Vander Laan ran for 175 yards on 38 carries and completed 15-of-20 passes for 197 yards while accounting for five touchdowns in the victory. He also officially broke an all-time NCAA Division II record for most career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback as his four on the ground in the game moved him past former record holder Shawn Graves' career-best 72 rushing scores.

The Bulldog defense forced a turnover on the opening play of the game and the offensive unit needed only two plays to take an early 7-0 lead on Antonio Agurs' 10-yard TD run.

However, the Wildcats took advantage of a pair of Bulldog fumbles and used the short field to grab a 10-7 lead at the end of one quarter. Their first score came on a 18-yard TD toss from Shaye Brown to Marcus Tucker. The second came via a 37-yard Tyler Blackburn field goal.

Ferris State, though, answered back as the Bulldogs put together a pair of lengthy scoring drives, both of which were capped by Vander Laan TD runs. His first was a three-yard keeper after a 65-yard march with the second giving FSU a 21-10 cushion midway thru the second period on a six-yard scoring run to finish a drive that started at the Bulldog one-yard line.

Northern Michigan fought back and took a 24-21 lead late in the first half. They answered the FSU score with a 91-yard scoring pass down the sideline from Brown to Keyondre Craig. Then, tailback Aaron Harris found Paris Woods on a 28-yard halfback pass with only 1:50 to play in the first half on a drive setup by a Bulldog interception.

The Bulldogs grabbed a 28-24 halftime edge when Vander Laan engineered a 65-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes of the half. He found slot Jamel Lockett from 22-yards away to give FSU the lead at the break.

Ferris State picked up right where it left off in the second half as FSU marched 67 yards on the opening drive of the second frame before Vander Laan finished the drive with a 13-yard carry to make it 35-24 in FSU's favor.

But, NMU bounced back and Brown connected with Woods on a 10-yard scoring toss to finish a 10-play, 55-yard drive, making it 35-31 with 5:47 to play in the third.

Again, though, the Bulldog offense was able to put points on the board. Vander Laan scored his fourth and final TD of the day with a three-yard carry to make it 42-31 on the opening play of the final period.

However, the Wildcats responded with a 82-yard scoring drive capped by Brown's two-yard pass to Marcus Tucker and converted a two-point play to cut the Bulldog lead to 42-39 with 11:34 left in the contest.

From there, though, the Bulldogs drove 78 yards in 10 plays with redshirt freshman back Robert Thomas III scoring on a 10-yard burst to account for the final margin. The Bulldogs were able to thwart a late NMU drive and run out the clock to preserve the win.

Ferris State compiled 550 yards of total offense to 316 for FSU and held a decisive 353 to 25 edge in total rushing yards. Along with Vander Laan's 175 yards, Thomas added 60 for the Bulldogs in the win.

Senior wideout Jake Lampman made a team-high eight catches for 114 yards and had a big grab on FSU's final drive to put the ball at the 10-yard line prior to Thomas' TD run. Lockett added three receptions for 57 yards and a score.

Brown paced NMU by completing 18-of-28 throws for 263 yards and four scores. Three of his catches were made by Craig, who totaled 142 yards receiving.

Tavierre Thomas paced the Bulldog defense with six total tackles while junior Anthony Darkangelo had three tackles for loss in the game as FSU totaled 13 TFL in the victory.

The Bulldogs return home for their regular-season home finale next Saturday (Nov. 14) versus Walsh at Top Taggart Field. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (ET) with the Bulldogs' senior class honored prior to their final regular-season home game.