GVSU football gets blown out in first road game 57-14
After three solid wins at home to open the season, the Grand Valley State University football team
seemed to answer many questions that were left lingering from last year.
Unfortunately for No. 9 GVSU, it didn’t have any answers for Ohio Dominican University, as the Lakers
were outplayed in a 57-14 defeat.
“We played poorly in all three phases: offensively, defensively and special teams,” head coach Matt
Mitchell said. “We got beat by a good ball club very handily.”
Offense and defense usually get the most attention—with special teams sometimes being overlooked
—but poor special teams play by GVSU (3-1, 1-1 GLIAC) was a key in its undoing.
For the first time in its ten-year program, Ohio Dominican (4-0, 3-0 GLIAC) returned a punt for a
touchdown as senior Justin Bell took the GVSU punt back 90 yards for the score.
That wouldn’t be the only big play Ohio Dominican produced on special teams. After GVSU cut the
score differential to ten on a one-yard touchdown by junior running back Michael Ratay, Ohio
Dominican’s Abe Johnson returned the ball 93 yards for the score—the second kickoff return
touchdown in school history.
GVSU also mishandled a pooch kick that resulted in a turnover and was recovered by Ohio Dominican.
“We obviously gave up two big touchdowns with our defense not even being out there with the kick
return and the punt return,” Mitchell said. “We had a lot of poor coverage; some guys lose leverage
and miss some tackles. So we have a lot of work to do on that end of things. That was probably the
story of the game. The dominance they had on special teams.”
Last year, Ohio Dominican racked up a then-record for yardage on the ground against a GVSU
defense, tallying 395 rushing yards. Mitchell and his staff came into this game aiming to make sure
that didn’t happen again, and in the first half, it didn’t.
This time, the Panthers surprised GVSU with their short to intermediate passing game to keep the
Lakers off balance.
“We got our feet settled in on the first drive,” Mitchell said. “After that, probably disappointing to us
that we were really focused on stopping the run, and we only gave up 20-some yards of rushing in the
first half and got hurt a little bit with the pass here and there.”
Ohio Dominican was able to have more success on the ground in the second half, as it continued to
wear down the GVSU defense. The Panthers finished the game with 236 passing yards and 234
“Our defense was on the field a lot, especially in the third quarter because we weren’t really converting
and moving the ball, and (Ohio) put a lot more pressure on our defense in the third quarter,” Mitchell
GVSU finished 2-10 on third-down conversions and failed its only fourth-down conversion of the
Junior Isiah Grimes received the start at quarterback as Parling missed his third consecutive game as
he continues to nurse a shoulder injury. Grimes finished the game 14 of 26 for 183 yards, a
touchdown and two interceptions.
Despite the loss, GVSU still has yet to play someone within its division in the conference. The Lakers
will start GLIAC North play on Saturday when they host Michigan Technological University (2-1, 2-1
“We’ll spend all afternoon Sunday watching tape with our players and making corrections,” Mitchell
said. “We have to move on Sunday night and start our work on Michigan Tech and moving forward. Big
thing about this game is that you can’t let one loss turn into two. So we have to learn from it and learn
from the multitude of errors we had, and move on from there.”