Sans Grimes, Lakers upset at Northern Michigan, 38-10
For the second time in three weeks, the Grand Valley State University football team headed to the Upper Peninsula to take care of a conference foe from the great north.
But Saturday’s game against Northern Michigan University (2-5, 1-5 GLIAC) was a case of the Lakers (5-2, 4-2 GLIAC) being taken care of themselves as the Wildcats pulled the 38-10 upset.
“Defensively, given the circumstances of what happened on the offensive side of the ball, we didn’t play well enough to win,” said head coach Matt Mitchell, who’s team has allowed multiple 100-yard rushers in its two losses. “Too many missed tackles, you know, just too many yards rushing up the middle.”
Northern Michigan entered the game without starting tailback Prince Young and averaged just 12 points per game on offense. They gashed the GVSU defense to the tune of 38 points and 462 yards of total offense — numbers they struggled to reach in their past two games combined.
Playing without sophomore quarterback Isiah Grimes, out indefinitely with an upper-body injury, the situation forced third string quarterback and redshirt freshman Brandon Beitzel into the lineup.
Beitzel, seeing the first real action of his career, struggled with overthrows and clock management, but it was the other freshman, Spencer, who carried the Lakers’ struggling offense. He ran for 133 yards in the first half and finished with a game-high 145 yards on the ground.
Despite the play of Spencer, maybe the Lakers lone bright spot, the turnover battle proved to be one GVSU could not overcome. They Lakers collected a pair of fumbles and an interception in the first half, but failed to turn any into points.
Part of that was the play of Beitzel.
The sophomore, in his first collegiate action, struggled after having only Thursday and Friday to get fully acclimated. He tossed four interceptions, including one in Wildcat territory on GVSU’s first drive of the second half, en-route to a 9-for-24 day that included just 79 yards through the air.
“It’s a tough situation to throw Brandon into without really any reps at all, and we didn’t play as well as we needed to on the other side of the ball, either,” Mitchell said. “If you look at Brandon’s stat line and place blame … but we got off to a slow start on the defensive side of the ball and we should never put our offense in that position.”
The Lakers will return to practice before hosting Northwood University next week for Homecoming at Lubbers Stadium.
Notes: Mitchell noted that Grimes was doubtful for the Lakers’ homecoming game against Northwood University next week…Beitzel also left the game with an injury, allowing fellow redshirt freshman Jeff O’Brien to also see his first collegiate action…O’Brien did not throw and ran eight times for 18 yards.