Valiant Second-Half Ferris State Comeback Falls Short In Anchor-Bone Classic

Valiant Second-Half Ferris State Comeback Falls Short In Anchor-Bone Classic

Postgame Interview w/Coach Annese 

Allendale, Mich. — Nationally 14th-ranked Ferris State fought back in the second half, but came up just short as a valiant comeback against second-ranked rival Grand Valley State was thwarted in a 35-23 setback on Saturday (Oct. 8) night in the Anchor-Bone Classic at GVSU's Lubbers Stadium in Allendale.

A record crowd of 16,889 fans for the West Michigan showdown saw the host Lakers bolt out to a 28-6 halftime edge. The Bulldogs, though, rallied in the second half and cut the margin to 28-23 in the fourth quarter before the Lakers came up with a critical touchdown drive and held off the Bulldogs for the win.

Ferris State moved the ball on its opening drive of the contest as the Bulldogs had two plays in which they gained big chunks of yardage. Junior quarterback Reggie Bell completed a toss to wideout Malik Taylor for 33 yards on the first play and then ran the ball down the right sideline for a gain of 34 yards. But the Bulldogs couldn't punch it in and missed a 24-yard field goal on the first possession of the contest.

The Lakers drove the field on the ensuing possession and took a 7-0 lead on a three-yard run by Brandon Bean with 10:40 remaining in the 1st quarter.

GVSU then extended the lead to 14-0 with a halfback pass by Marty Carter that went to Urston Smith for a 32-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the opening stanza. 

Late in the first quarter, the Bulldogs began to chip into the Laker advantage. FSU got a pair of field goals from Wyatt Ford in the second quarter from 33 and 25 yards out, respectively, to trim the deficit to 14-6 with 7:47 remaining in the first half.

However, the Lakers responded as GVSU scored twice in the final 4:11 of the opening half to push the margin to 28-6 at the break. Carter capped a nine-play, 79-yard Laker jaunt with a one-yard TD run and soon after Kalen Dunham recovered a Bulldog fumble in the endzone to account for Grand Valley State's first half scoring.

The second half, though, was a different story. The Bulldogs rallied in the third period as they drove 80 yards in six plays with Bell finding Taylor on a 23-yard scoring pass to cut the GVSU lead to 28-13 after three quarters.

In the fourth, the Bulldogs marched 62 yards in six plays and Bell found slot Marquel Hines on a 21-yard throw to the endzone as the Bulldogs pulled back withn 28-20. 

Soon after, with 8:32 to go, the Bulldogs received a 27-yard field goal from Ford to cut the margin to 28-23 late in the contest.

GVSU answered on the following drive as the Lakers moved 85 yards in six plays to push the advantage to 35-23 on Bart Williams' 39-yard scoring throw down the sideline to Nick Dodson. 

Ferris State moved back into the Laker redzone before a final drive stalled and GVSU managed to run out the clock for the win.

The Bulldogs rolled up 570 yards of total offense to only 350 for GVSU. FSU compiled 201 yards on the ground, including 140 from Bell on 27 carries. Meanwhile, he also completed 19 of 39 passes for 343 yards and two scores. Taylor hauled in six catches for 147 yards with Shakur Sanders grabbing four balls for 94 yards.

On the GVSU side, Williams completed 14 of 24 passes for 200 yards, but was intercepted three times by the Bulldogs and sacked five times in the game. Carter ran for 127 yards on 28 carries and Dodson made four catches for 92 yards for Grand Valley State.

Defensively, linebacker Nick Huckabay tallied nine stops for the Bulldogs. Cornerback Tavierre Thomas came up with three interceptions on the Bulldog side and end Marquis Dawsey had 2.5 sacks for FSU.

With the win, the Lakers moved to 6-0 overall while FSU fell to 4-2 on the year. The loss was FSU's first on the road since 2013 as the Bulldogs' 16-game road streak was snapped.

Ferris State returns home to play four of its final five regular-season games at FSU's Top Taggart Field. The Bulldogs host Northern Michigan next Saturday (Oct. 15) with kickoff set for 1 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids. The league tilt opens a three-game homestand for the Bulldogs.