Offensive outburst leads GVSU to 83-46 victory over Notre Dame College
Scoring was the story in Saturday’s home opener and the Grand Valley State University football team’s offense did more than enough to bail out a struggling defense.
Charles Johnson and his record-setting 12 receptions led the way for GVSU (2-0, 1-0 GLIAC) as they put on a show offensively in the 83-46 victory over visiting Notre Dame College (1-1, 0-1 GLIAC).
Johnson tied Eric Fowler’s Lubbers Stadium record of 12 receptions in the contest, and his 138 yards and two touchdowns were just one of the big nights for GVSU.
“The biggest thing is making sure that we don’t have division on the football team between the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “When it comes to the offense, I mean, they’re fairly prolific.”
On the second GVSU touchdown of the night – a one-yard score by Michael Ratay – the tone was set by the combination of junior quarterback Heath Parling and Johnson. The duo hooked up four times for 46 yards on the drive, and Ratay’s score was the first of four on the night for the sophomore.
The defense didn’t shine quite as bright, especially in containing Notre Dame College running back Pedro Powell. GVSU did force three turnovers – including an 82-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Denzel Rodgers – but the defense allowed Powell to rumble for 242 yards and two touchdowns, while allowing 641 total yards of offense.
“We struggled on the defensive side of the ball with the tempo of the game. They were getting lined up and running a lot of stuff quick on us and the power running attack, they just came right at us, right down hill,” Mitchell said. “We knew what they were doing and they did it – that’s the concerning thing.”
The saving grace proved to be the offense, which avoided the backbreaking turnovers Notre Dame College had. GVSU used 292 rushing yards, including 107 from sophomore running back Chris Robinson, and 307 passing yards from Parling to push the offense to the second-most in team history.
GVSU will return to the practice field this week before heading on the road to take on Tiffin University on Saturday.