No. 24 GVSU falls 54-44 to Ferris State
For the second straight year, the Lakers have no answer for Vander Laan
Over the years, it has been the Grand Valley State University football team who has dominated the rivalry with Ferris State University.
However, for the second year in a row, it was the Bulldogs who hoisted the Anchor Bone Trophy, as Ferris State (4-2, 4-1 GLIAC) defeated GVSU (4-2, 2-2 GLIAC) 54-44.
Similar to last season’s matchup, GVSU had no answer for the read-option offense led by Ferris State’s Jason Vander Laan. Vander Laan ran for 222 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns. Through the air, he completed 9 of 16 passes for 118 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
“He gets stronger as the game goes on,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell about Vander Laan. “He definitely gets stronger. We were making some tackles and getting him pushed back in the first half. The second half, he was breaking tackles, we weren’t finishing, and there were some missed tackles. He’s a tough competitor.”
After both teams traded short field goals, Vander Laan found Dewayne Boston on a 22-yard pass for the first touchdown of the game.
GVSU would respond with a touchdown of its own, as sophomore running back Kirk Spencer would have his first big play of the night, as he outran the Ferris State defense for the 27-yard score to tie the game at 10.
Vander Laan scored his first touchdown on an eight-yard run, and Ferris State took a 17-10 advantage into the half.
Senior GVSU wide receiver Brandan Green took the end-around 19 yards for the score, but the Lakers were unable to handle the snap on the extra point and Ferris State maintained a 17-16 lead.
Ferris State would tack on another field goal before Spencer would make his presence known again. After the field goal, Spencer returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the score. That would mark the last time GVSU would be ahead.
Ferris State would go onto score 20 unanswered points, as the Laker defense was unable to come up with any key stops. The Bulldogs finished the game with 465 yards on the ground, and ended up with 583 total yards of offense.
“They started using some misdirection plays and some stuff between the tackles that kept us off balance,” Mitchell said. “We struggled with the d-line, linebacker positions in the second half, kind of figuring what they were doing inside.”
GVSU will look to bounce back off another road loss next week, as the Lakers will host Northern Michigan University for homecoming.
“We’re going to have to be resilient and I think we have a good bunch of seniors in there that are going to lead us and stay working,” said GVSU junior quarterback Heath Parling. “We’re not going to throw in the towel. Get back to work tomorrow and try to beat Northern on Saturday.”