ALLENDALE, Mich. — #2 Grand Valley State claimed a 21-14 victory over #3 Ferris State Saturday afternoon before a crowd of 14,109 in NCAA playoff action. The Lakers will host #5Pittsburg State next Saturday (Nov. 25) at Lubbers Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. The Lakers, who have won three-of-the-last games in the series, recorded a season sweep over the Bulldogs. In addition, Grand Valley State has now won 10 or more games in a season 19 times in the 52-year history of the program, including 17 times since 2001.
The Laker defense started fast as sophomore LB Anthony Cardamone forced a Carson Gulker fumble that was recovered by senior DE Christian McCarroll on the Bulldogs' first play of the game. Senior RB Tariq Reid scored on a 14-yard run and Josh Gorball added the PAT for a 7-0 lead at the 10:06 mark of the first quarter. Neither team was able to get much going offensively until the final two minutes of the second quarter when the Bulldogs drove 83 yards in nine plays for a touchdown to even the game at 7-7. The Laker defense twarted a potential scoring drive for the Bulldogs when they took over at the Laker 26-yard line following a punt return. However, the GVSU defense stiffened and forced a 43-yard field goal attempt that was short and wide right.
Midway through the third quarter the Laker offense began to roll. Junior WR Darrell Johnson returned a punt 14 yards to the Laker 31-yard line. Senior QB Cade Peterson hit Darrell Johnson with a six yard completion to pick up a third down, then found junior WR Cody Tierney with a 27-yard pass and catch to convert another third down. Peterson then hit Darrell Johnson with a short underneath pass that he took 29 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 GVSU lead.
The GVSU defense continued to dominate and forced yet another three-and-out to force a punt. Junior safety Ian Kennelly returned the punt 13 yards to give GVSU possession of the ball at their own 28-yard line. Tierney ran a perfect route that a Bulldog defender bit on and Peterson tossed a strike that hit a wide open Tierney in stride for a 72-yard touchdown to build the lead to 21-7.
Ferris State scored a late touchdown for the final margin of 21-14.
The GVSU defense limited Ferris State to 261 yards of total offense, including just 79 on the ground. Ferris State produced two drives (out of 15) that consisted of six plays or more and 10 drives that tallied 11 yards of less. Sophomore LB Anthony Cardamone recorded a career-high 15 tackles, 2.0 TFL (-8), two forced fumbles and a pass breakup. Senior All-American Abe Swanson added 14 tackles and 1.0 TFL (-5) and a forced fumble. Junior safety Ian Kennelly chipped in nine tackles and a fumble recovery, while McCarroll added seven tackles, 1.0 TFL (-1) and a fumble recovery. The Laker defense recorded 8.0 tackles for loss (-51) and 4.0 QB sacks (-37).
Peterson completed 12-of-26 passes for 184 yards and two TDs, while senior RB Tariq Reid rushed 18 times for 67 yards and one TD. Darrell Johnson hauled in five passes for 71 yards and a TD and Tierney caught two passes for 99 yards and a TD. Johnson also returned four punts for 48 yards and a kickoff 24 yards for 144 all-purpose yards.