Undefeated Lakers hit road to face Findlay

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter
Justin Sherrod gets up after scoring a touchdown in last weeks game. Kyle McMahon cheers in the background.

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter Justin Sherrod gets up after scoring a touchdown in last weeks game. Kyle McMahon cheers in the background.

Cody Eding

Top-ranked GVSU (3-0, 2-0 GLIAC) heads south after narrowly defeating the University of Indianapolis on a last-minute touchdown grab by junior wide receiver Jovonne Augustus on Saturday.

“I felt like our defense and offense were controlling the football game (against Indianapolis),” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “Once again, we could never get it to a two-score game. That’s been our problem in the first three weeks of the season. We’ve had opportunities to extend leads, and we haven’t taken advantage of them.”

Mitchell said Findlay’s strength is its defense. The Oilers’ defensive line features junior Mark Johnson, a transfer from Ohio State University, and Brandon Cornell, a transfer from the University of Louisville.

“They got four-down guys that are very big and very, very physical,” Mitchell said. “This is probably going to be the biggest and most athletic front we’ve seen maybe next to (West Texas A&M University) … Their front four guys, they can rock your world.”

The GVSU offensive line has allowed only two sacks this season, but the group will be tested by the size of Findlay’s defensive front.

“They have some dudes up front for sure,” said senior center Joey Teague. “What we have to do is pick up the intensity in practice. We have to practice a lot harder. We have to go 110 percent every play. That’s going to make us get better; that’s going to help us succeed.”

Zach Tate, a true freshman, directs the Findlay offense as quarterback. The Oilers rely heavily on running back Montarae Williams, last year’s GLIAC Freshman of the Year. Through three games, he has carried 77 times for 308 yards.

Mitchell said he expects Findlay to try to control the clock with their running attack.

“I’m sure for them, they’d like a low-scoring affair that’s tight,” he said.

‘Versatile’ Gay proving

effective across field

Junior wide receiver Greg Gay is being utilized in much of the same way that former all-purpose back Blake Smolen was used during the last four seasons. Smolen, GVSU’s all-time leader in all-purpose yardage, split time as a running back and wide receiver.

Gay caught five passes for 80 yards against Indianapolis but also rushed four times for 19 yards.

Mitchell said Gay, who played running back in high school, provides another threat for the offense.

“Greg is a very versatile player that can do a lot of different things,” Mitchell said. “We have two really strong running backs (in senior Justin Sherrod and sophomore Norman Shuford), but sometimes when you get out there and you want to run a jet play, he can also be at the running back.”

Gay said Smolen inspired him to learn multiple positions.

“The biggest reason why I learned all of those positions is so I could be involved,” he said. “Watching Blake last year, how he got involved with all of the positions he played, I just taught myself from now on to know all of the positions so I could be that person. As long as I’m catching the ball, running the ball, it doesn’t matter. I just want the ball in my hands so I can make plays and help this team win.”

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