Three point stance: GVSU versus Findlay preview
The Lakers host their final home game of the regular season this Saturday
GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Marty Carter (21) jukes his way down the field for a short gain. The Lakers square off against the Panthers of Ohio Dominican University Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016 and win with a final score of 24-21 in Columbus, OH.
Grand Valley State football has just one home game left in the regular season.
But to them, their season is just getting started.
The Lakers (8-0, 7-0 GLIAC) are coming off of the only game this season in which they were losing to start the fourth quarter—an eventual 35-17 win over Hillsdale.
The Findlay Oilers (4-4) are coming up to Allendale this Saturday, Oct. 29 before the Lakers end the year on back-to-back road games against Wayne State (Nov. 5) and rival Saginaw Valley State (Nov. 12).
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and fans are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes to the game.
One: King of the hill
The Lakers were recently named the top seed of the NCAA Super Region Four this week. Out of the four total regions, the top seven teams advance to the Division II playoffs, and the top seed from each bracket receives a first round bye.
If the regular season ended today, GVSU’s region would go as follows: No. 1 GVSU, No. 2 Southwest Baptist, No. 3 Midwestern State, No. 4 Ashland, No. 5 Texas A&M-Commerce, No. 6 Wayne State and No. 7 Colorado Mines. Truman State (No. 8) and Ferris State (No. 9) would be left out. The playoffs begin the weekend of Nov. 19.
Despite being ranked top seed, the Lakers aren’t looking ahead—something GVSU coach Matt Mitchell has stressed to his team week in and week out. As of this past Saturday, the Lakers’ biggest enemy is not Findlay or anybody else, but instead themselves.
The Lakers were flagged 10 times for 82 yards against the Chargers and had two players ejected. Mitchell made it clear that at this point in the season, these types of errors are unacceptable. At the same time, the Lakers came back from being down in a gutsy 21-point fourth quarter, and is taking the penalties and sloppiness as good problems to have.
“There was some negatives on Saturday that are really fixable things, the penalties and stuff like that,” Mitchell said. “I would be really concerned if we would’ve folded—that’s a program issue if we would have folded up the tent late in the fourth, so at least I can sit here as a coach and say 'OK, some of that intrinsic stuff about the grit and the grind, the resiliency and the fight, that’s in them.'”
Findlay figures to be an opponent similar to other GLIAC foes this season. The Oilers are coming off of two wins in a row, a 46-28 home win over Hillsdale and a 27-23 win on the road over Tiffin. They are similar to Hillsdale in that they have a strong offense, but a weak defense.
The Oilers rank fifth and sixth in yards per-game (453) and points per-game (31), but are 10th and 11th in points allowed per-game (28) and yards allowed per-game (395).
In the end, GVSU should be able to handle the Oilers on their home turf for the final time this regular season, given that they can beat their biggest enemy on Saturday—themselves.
Prediction: GVSU: 48, Findlay 21.
Two: Following a legend
GVSU defensive end Sydney Omameh had four sacks against Hillsdale this Saturday—and gave all the credit to his teammates—putting him at 10 sacks on the season and second in the GLIAC by half a sack.
Omameh, a proven pass rusher at Ohio Dominican for four years before coming to Allendale for his final year of eligibility, is hopeful his game translates at the NFL level after GVSU, just as all-time sack leader and current Baltimore Raven Matt Judon’s game did—part of why he came to GVSU in the first place.
Omameh has a brother in the NFL, Patrick Omameh, who started at the University of Michigan and now starts at offensive guard for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He is hopeful he can follow in the footsteps of his brother and Judon.
“I’m just trying to continue (to) help my team out in any way I can to win, and then hopefully after that, that will lead to everything that I hope to accomplish,” he said.
Three: The Carter
Running back Martayveus Carter broke the 1,000-yard mark for the season this past Saturday with his 205-yard, three touchdown performance. Kirk Spencer, the Lakers’ starting running back last season, had 1,185 yards and 13 touchdowns in 15 games—Carter has 1,115 yards and 14 touchdowns through eight games.
The sophomore is a big asset to a GVSU running game that has shown marked improvement over last year.
“It’s going as it’s planned,” Carter said. “God has a plan for everything, so I’m just basically doing what I got to do, making sure I keep my head level, make sure I read my keys, do my job as a running back in the offense.
“As long as I keep doing that, everything should go well.”