Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - A second-half comeback by nationally fifth-ranked Ashland spoiled seventh-ranked Ferris State University's homecoming on Saturday (Sept. 24) as the Eagles pulled out a 39-31 victory over the Bulldogs before 6,000 fans at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
In the nationally-televised Division II Game of the Week showdown, the Eagles battled back from a 31-14 deficit to record the win, ending FSU's school-record 28-game regular season win streak in the process.
The Bulldogs themselves fought back from an early hole as Ashland jumped out to a 14-3 first period lead in the first matchup between the two defending GLIAC Champions since the 2013 campaign.
Ashland got on the board first in the opening stanza as the Eagles drove 66 yards in four plays to find the endzone only three minutes into the contest on a 22-yard TD pass from Travis Tarnowski to Matthew Wilcox.
Ferris State cut the margin to 7-3 with 6:39 to go in the first period when junior kicker Wyatt Ford converted a 21-yard field goal to finish a 16-play, 80-yard Bulldog scoring drive.
AU pushed its lead to 14-3 as the Eagles marched 65 yards in five plays to find paydirt on Keishaun Sims' 20-yard scoring run.
From there, the Bulldogs took control. FSU trimmed Ashland's lead to 14-10 when junior back Jahaan Brown scored on a six-yard carry with less than four minutes to go in the first half.
Soon after, sophomore Robert Thomas rambled in from four-yards out to finish a short six-play, 35-yard jaunt as FSU took the lead for the first time at 17-14 following the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs pushed their advantage to 31-14 with two more scores. The first came from Jajuan Pollock on a 13-yard run, which wrapped up a three-play, 42-yard Bulldog drive.
The next score came on a eight-play, 31-yard drive with Trevor Bermingham finding the endzone on a one-yard keeper with 5:21 left in the first half.
Ashland tacked on a late first-half field goal to make it 31-17 at the break.
In the second half, the Eagles struck first as tight end Adam Shaheen scored on a 70-yard pass from Tarnowski with 6:44 to go in the third. The Bulldogs soon after drove inside the AU five-yard line, but fumbled the ball away and the Eagles stole momentum.
Ashland cut the Bulldogs' lead to 31-26 on Aidan Simenc's 29-yard field goal with 12:24 to play and later marched 62-yards in four plays to grab the lead at 32-31 on a 33-yard scoring completion from Tarnowski to Kamaron Green with only 6:08 remaining.
On the ensuing possession, the Eagles stole the ball away and linebacker Brandon Gency raced 39-yards to the endzone on a 39-yard fumble recovery, pushing it to an eight-point decision.
Ferris State had a couple late opportunities, but a final throw to the endzone was batted down as time expired.
Junior quarterback Reggie Bell led FSU with 134 rushing yards and completed 21-of-34 passes for 261 yards. Brown added 115 rushing yards on the ground as the Bulldogs compiled 581 total yards and ran for 320 yards on the ground.
Wideout Shakur Sanders led FSU in the receiving game with six grabs for 97 yards overall.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were paced by senior linebacker Anthony Darkangelo with 11 tackles. AU totaled 474 yards with Tarnowski completing 21 of 38 throws for 350 yards and three scores. Vance Settlemire led AU on the ground with 80 yards rushing while Shaheen had seven catches for 152 yards.
The Bulldogs, who are now 3-1 overall and in league action, will hit the road the next two weeks. FSU travels to Findlay next Saturday, Oct. 1, for a 7 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Donnell Stadium before visiting rival Grand Valley State for the Anchor-Bone Classic on Oct. 8.
Second Half Surge Lifts Ashland To Win Over Bulldogs In GLIAC Showdown
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