No. 18 GVSU knocks off No. 12 Michigan Tech

Lakers win 38-21 to hand Huskies first loss of the season

By Adam Knorr | 10/18/15 11:08pm

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Decked out in ice-white uniforms on a frigid October night, the Grand Valley State football team froze out Michigan Tech long enough to knock the Huskies from the ranks of the unbeaten.

The Lakers (6-1, 5-1 GLIAC) extended their win streak to four, besting the Huskies 38-21 at Lubbers Stadium on Saturday night.

"Obviously a good win (against) a good football team. All things considered, after the first drive we settled in defensively," said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell.

No. 12 MTU (6-1, 6-1 GLIAC) came into the game with one of the best rush defenses in the GLIAC. The No. 18 Lakers gained 139 yards on the ground, but exploited the Husky secondary all evening.

GVSU quarterback Bart Williams turned in another solid outing, completing 16-of-26 passes for 280 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

MTU scored the first touchdown of the game thanks to a 1-yard touchdown rush by Alex Sherbinow. The Lakers hung 24 consecutive points on the Huskies following the early touchdown, and put MTU in the biggest hole it has faced all season.

The Husky offense has used a methodical, clock-chewing approach all season. With the Lakers up 17 after the first half, MTU was unable to come up with enough big plays to eat into the deficit.

"I still think we have a championship-level defense," Mitchell said. "I still think we have the personnel and coaches, and the last four games, beside the Lake Erie first half, I think we’ve been playing that way."

The Huskies cut the GVSU lead to 10 points twice in the second half, but every time the Lakers took a shot, they gave one right back.

MTU trimmed the GVSU advantage to 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers pushed it back to 21 quickly. Bart Williams hit Jamie Potts for a 49-yard touchdown on GVSU’s third play from scrimmage following the Husky touchdown.

"We turned the ball over in the first half and the defense came right back out and they got a pick," Williams said. "It's really a team effort - the offense isn’t just concerned with the offense. We really try to pick the other units up and we do a good job throughout the week competing with each other."

MTU played the hand GVSU expected. Quarterback Brandon Cowie was efficient on screens and pop passes, going 32-for-44 for 323 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Led by senior Matt Judon, the Laker defense got pressure on Cowie throughout the evening and managed to force two turnovers.

In the second quarter with MTU driving, Judon hit Cowie from behind and forced a fumble, which the Lakers recovered deep in their own territory, swinging the momentum early.

The Lakers performed well in all phases, but the Huskies’ inability to capitalize on their opportunities doomed them as the clock wound down in a tight contest.

MTU missed a 34-yard field goal and dropped a pair of would-be interceptions, and the Laker lead was never reduced to single digits in the second half.

“We didn’t give up a big play all night and in the end that’s probably why we won,” Mitchell said.

GVSU's linebackers feasted on MTU's underneath routes all night, as a number of Lakers laid big licks over the middle. Junior David Talley recorded 18 tackles, while Marquez Gollman and Collin Schlosser added 17 and 15, respectively.

"The first couple games we had a pretty young team as far as in the (defensive) backfield, and they didn’t play with as much confidence as they do now," Talley said. "Now they’re just buying into going out there and playing the football they know how to play."

Brandon Bean led the Lakers in the receiving game with five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a right ankle injury. Bean did not return to the contest and no official word on his status has been given.

Potts pulled in touchdown catches of 17 and 49 yards, and freshman Martayveous Carter ripped off an 18-yard touchdown rush.

GVSU's last touchdown came on a bout of trickery, when running back Kirk Spencer threw a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Keizer. Spencer, who threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Potts on Sept. 26 against Lake Erie, is now 2-for-2 with two touchdown passes this season.

The senior running back also rushed for 108 yards on 13 carries.

Junior Joel Schipper nailed a 34-yard field goal in the second quarter, and, by the time the game ended, had moved into ninth place on GVSU's all-time scoring list.

MTU marginally outgained GVSU 424 yards to 422. The Huskies ran 87 plays to the Lakers' 52, and controlled the ball for 37:08.

GVSU will host Findlay (4-3, 3-3 GLIAC) for homecoming on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Lubbers Stadium.

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