Big Rapids, Mich. - A strong second half enabled the nationally second-ranked Ferris State University football squad to stay unbeaten on the year as the Bulldogs rallied for a 28-14 road win over Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Oct. 20) in University Center.
The Bulldogs trailed 14-7 at halftime against the Cardinals, but tallied 21 second half points and kept SVSU off the scoreboard the rest of the way en route to the triumph in the 44th consecutive matchup between the two schools at Wickes Memorial Stadium.
The matchup pitted two of the top teams in the GLIAC with the Bulldogs moving to 8-0 on the year and 6-0 in league play with the victory. Saginaw Valley State fell to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play with the loss.
Weather impacted the start of the contest as the two teams were forced back into the locker room just before kickoff due to lightning. Much of the second half was also played under rainy conditions.
After the delay, the Bulldogs got off to a quick start as the defense forced a punt and the offense answered with a 62-yard touchdown pass from junior QB Jayru Campbell to junior slot Jevon Shaw. The score came on the ensuing play after a penalty flag was throw against the Cardinals on FSU's opening offensive play.
However, SVSU answered quickly as the Cardinals used a long pass of their own from quarterback Ryan Conklin to receiver Michael King for a 76-yard pickup down to the Bulldog one-yard line. From there, tailback Nate McCrary found the endzone from a yard out to knot the game up with 12:29 remaining in the first.
The scoring slowed until the Cardinals finally grabbed the lead with 5:23 left in the first half on another one-yard scoring run from McCrary, who finished off a five-play, 49-yard drive after SVSU had stopped the Bulldogs on fourth down near midfield. The score stood until halftime at 14-7 in the Cardinals' favor.
Ferris State, though, responded early in the second half as the Bulldogs took the second half kickoff and marched 75 yards in 10 plays to tie the game up on a one-yard TD run from Campbell. It was his first of three consecutive second-half scores.
The Bulldogs regained the lead with 4:15 to play in the third on another Campbell run, this time from 15-yards out following a botched SVSU punt attempt in the rain. It gave the Bulldogs a 21-14 edge.
Ferris State got the ball back late in the third and ultimately drove 80 yards in eight plays before scoring again with 14:27 to play in the fourth on an 18-yard keeper from Campbell. From there, the defense capped off FSU's second half shutout to preserve the win.
The Bulldogs totaled 446 yards of offense in the win, including 327 rushing yards on 60 carries. Campbell compiled a game-high 165 rushing yards on 26 attempts with three scores while tailback Marvin Campell added 81 yards on 16 attempts.
On the defensive side, Ferris State allowed 331 yards to SVSU, but only 67 yards on the ground on 34 attempts. Linebacker Avonte Bell paced the FSU defense with a team-high 13 stops and came up with two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Linebacker Delon Stephenson added seven tackles in addition to an interception.
Conklin completed 12-of-34 passes for 264 yards for the Cardinals, but was sacked six times and intercepted twice by the Bulldog defense. FSU also limited SVSU to five-of-16 on third down and 0-of-4 on fourth down.
The win was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight in the series and third consecutive win this year away from Top Taggart Field. Overall, the Bulldogs have lost only three regular-season games dating back five years to mid-October of 2013.
Ferris State will return home to play its next two league contests in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs host Wayne State on Saturday, Oct. 27, before entertaining West Michigan foe Davenport on Saturday, Nov. 3. Both games kickoff at 1 p.m. (ET).
Tickets for the final two regular-season home outings are on sale now and can be purchased thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office or online at StarTickets.com. Please call (231) 591-2888 for additional information or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.