Lights Out: GVSU Football edges Edinboro, starts off season 1-0 at home

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Lights Out: GVSU Football edges Edinboro, starts off season 1-0 at home

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Kellen Voss, Sports Editor

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The 49th season of Grand Valley State University football got off to a successful start this weekend, as 14,552 fans saw the tenth-ranked Lakers defend their home turf at Lubbers Stadium to defeat the Edinboro Fighting Scots, 35-10.

The GVSU defense allowed an average of 19 points per game in 2018, and that average may be set to go down this year, as they held the Fighting Scots to 120 yards of offense, including only 13 total rushing yards.

Junior Tyler Bradfield, who led the team with six tackles, credited the dominant defensive performance to having a lot of depth and the senior leaders providing the energy to get everyone riled up to make tackles.

“The defense is the driving factor behind setting the tone for the game; getting off the field quick and getting our offense the ball really helped us at the start of the game,” Bradfield said. “We got a lot of senior leaders on defense and our coaches did a great job of getting us prepared. We have good depth, and the senior leaders do a great job of getting everyone fired up to play.”

While the young offense showed flashes of greatness on a few big plays, a few untimely penalties and the pressure given up by the offensive line fully displayed that inexperience. Head coach Matt Mitchell is confident that the offense will tighten up with more experience playing together.

“Offensively, we knew Edinboro was going to bring a lot of pressures, and we knew in the run game at times it was going to be messy,” Mitchell said. “Kotopka had some messy pockets, and looking at it from a turnover standpoint, we lost the turnover battle 4-0. It’s going to be hard to sustain and win football games. We have to try to get that cleaned up, and I think there’s some room for improvement.”

Junior quarterback Cole Kotopka did a decent job in his debut as the starting quarterback, throwing for 253 yards and two touchdowns — one to senior Austin Paritee and one to redshirt sophomore Jayk Slager.

With an injury to senior Chawntez Moss, sophomore Aryuan Cain-Veasey took the wheel and proceeded to drive that metaphorical car 120 miles per hour. ACV had 200 yards and three touchdowns, including a 94-yard touchdown that currently stands as the third-longest touchdown run in school history.

“During the run, I just thought that no one could tackle me,” Cain-Veasey said. “I appreciate my o-line for blocking. They are young, but they put in a lot of work this summer, making it a lot easier for me.”

To put into perspective how dominant Cain-Veasey was on the night, he had 210 yards last season total in the six games he appeared in. Mitchell loved the way he was able to step up when called upon, and wasn’t surprised with that performance after his summer.

GVL / Sheila Babbitt

“I don’t think (Aryuan) missed a practice the entire fall camp,” Mitchell said. “He practiced extremely well and I think that preparation really paid off tonight.”

Mitchell kept referring to Cain-Veasey as “Buck” in the post-game interview, and when asked about the origin of that nickname, the running back had a story to tell regarding the nickname’s origin that drew a few chuckles from those in attendance.

“I’ve had it since I was a child,” Cain-Veasey said. “As a baby, I used to like to eat a lot. It took three bottles to fill me up, and after the third bottle I’d throw it right up. My grandma felt like I needed a bucket everywhere I went, and the nickname stuck.”

After the win, GVSU starts off the year 1-0. They look to double their win total at home next week, as they’ll face the Delta State Statesmen Saturday, Sept. 14. Kickoff for that game is set for 7 p.m.