GVSU football dismantles Michigan Tech 42-7 for first road win
On an unusually hot afternoon—80 degrees even—in Houghton, Michigan, the No.12 ranked Grand Valley State Lakers defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies Saturday, Sep. 16, by a score of 42-7.
The Lakers move up to 2-1 (2-0 GLIAC) on the year, while the Huskies now sit at 2-1 (0-1 GLIAC).
Since it was GVSU’s first road game since dropping the season opener at Indianapolis, it was clear that hitting the road again was sure to be a test for the Lakers.
“I told the team in the locker room it should bring us confidence, and when you buy into the process (of going on the road), good things happen,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “We started stacking together practices, and now we’re stacking together wins. We played to our potential, unlike in week one, and it’s a much better bus ride home.”
The Huskies opened the scoring with an eight-yard touchdown run from John Williams in the first quarter. This came after GVSU drove from its own four-yard line all the way to MTU’s one-yard line, until running back Marty Carter fumbled the ball while diving toward the goal line.
However, Carter later redeemed himself as he went 68 yards in one dash for an equalizer touchdown five minutes into the second quarter.
It would be all Lakers from there on out, as the short-handed GVSU defense would hold MTU off the board for the remainder of the contest and even score two of their own touchdowns: one off a 28-yard pick-six from defensive lineman Demetrius Farmer and another interception return from defensive lineman Michael Pettis.
“It’s big," Mitchell said. "We were shorthanded. We’re allowed 58 (active players) in the GLIAC but didn’t even have 58. It was a gritty team win. We didn’t have a full fleet of guys. We’re taking safeties and moving to corners, and we were battling. It says a lot about this program and a lot about this team. We’re making progress.”
Along with numerous injuries, GVSU safety Jailyn Harden was ejected in the third quarter for targeting, leaving the Lakers even more depleted.
“We had a lot of guys that played a lot of snaps in regard to getting up in the game; we had to piece some things together,” said linebacker Collin Schlosser. “We had a wide receiver playing corner for a little bit. Guys were able to get in, and we pieced together a defense. We were able to get up the field and build confidence.”
On the offensive side, Carter would contribute for another touchdown when he threw a one-yard pass to tight end Nick Keizer on a trick play at the goal line. It was Keizer’s first of two scores, the other on a 16-yard pass from Bart Williams. Williams also threw a three-yard touchdown to wide receiver Brandon Bean.
Kicker Avery Echols was a sight for sore Laker eyes in his debut game Saturday, as he converted all six of his extra point attempts. It was the first game of the season where a GVSU kicker did not miss a kick.
“It was better (than other games)," Mitchell said. "(Echols has) been hurt; he didn’t kick during fall camp or during the first two weeks of the season. Obviously looked better today. I’ll have to watch it on tape, but obviously, they all went through, so that’s good.”
Mitchell added that with the makes, Echols has put himself in the lead for full-time place kicker duties.
GVSU rushed for a season high 231 yards on 26 attempts, good for 8.9 yards per carry. The attack was spearheaded by Carter, who took 17 handoffs for 177 yards and one score. Sophomore Bryce Young-Walls rushed five times for 48 yards.
Additionally, Williams went 16-23 on his pass attempts, picking up 188 yards and two touchdowns.
Seven different Lakers caught passes against Tech, including wide receiver Urston Smith making his first start of the season after missing the first two games with an injury. He made two catches for 18 yards in the debut.
The Lakers outgained Tech 420 yards to 274, despite having 15:23 less in possession time.
Tech’s Williams, who came into the bout 10th in the country in rushing yards, picked up 129 yards and one score on 21 yards, but the Laker defense is proud of how they handled the talented back’s attack.
“I feel like for the most part we shut him down," Schlosser said. "They’re physical and hard-nosed. We knew they were going to come with a heavy personnel and they would try to run it down our throats. Last week was a similar deal, and we tried to be effective and slow down the run last week and come out with power.
To be able to execute that on game day, and only giving up seven points, it’s important for our defense to see how things work out when done the right way.”
The Lakers' season continues when they host the Northwood Timberwolves (2-1, 0-1 GLIAC) Saturday, Sept. 23, at Lubbers Stadium for Family Weekend. The game is slated to begin at 7 p.m.