No. 24 Lakers beat Wayne State 38-17

No. 24 Lakers beat Wayne State 38-17

Adam Knorr

Through the first three games of the season, the Grand Valley State football team was outscored 62-27 in the second half.

In the last three games, the Lakers have outscored their opposition 87-10 in the second half, including 31-7 in Saturday night’s 38-17 win over Wayne State (2-4, 1-4 GLIAC).

“Clearly we’ve really come out on fire the last three second halves,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “We just kind of pick and choose our spots – it’s a team that’s been through a lot, they’re sticking together.”

No. 24 GVSU (5-1, 4-1 GLIAC) went into the half down 10-7 at Tom Adams Field in Detroit, but, as has become a trend recently, the Lakers came out a changed unit in the second half.

Laker quarterback Bart Williams turned in one of his best games of the season, completing 25 of 37 passes for 327 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Williams has quickly developed chemistry with GVSU’s talented receiving corps, and found four different receivers for touchdowns in the win.

“(He’s) getting better every week,” Mitchell said. “I can’t tell you how big that touchdown drive at the end of the second quarter was. We struggled running the ball a little, but Bart was on point.”

Turnovers have been the hallmark of the Laker defense all season, and Saturday night was no different. GVSU found itself in a 10-0 hole early, but the Lakers forced four turnovers in the second half.

GVSU came into the game tied for 11th in the nation with 15 forced turnovers.

Kirk Spencer passed Michael Ratay for 13th on the GVSU all-time rushing list in the contest, in which he piled up 88 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries.

“Those were some really dirty runs, he got us some hard yards,” Mitchell said. “We kept feeding him the ball, he wanted the football.”

Senior defensive lineman Matt Judon continued his stellar senior campaign, recording eight total tackles – including four for loss and three and a half sacks – as the Laker defensive line limited a rush-heavy Warrior attack to 108 yards.

Williams threw an interception in the end zone in the first half, but from then on pitched a clean game.

The Lakers chipped away at the Warriors’ 10-0 lead in the first half, starting with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Bart Williams to Matt Williams.

In the second half, the Lakers punched in an early touchdown as Bart Williams found Jamie Potts on a 16-yard touchdown strike.

Spencer made it 21 consecutive points with an 11-yard touchdown rush to put GVSU up 21-10. GVSU scored twice more before WSU could find the end zone, courtesy of touchdown receptions of 27 and 26 yards by Nick Dodson and Brandon Bean, respectively.

The touchdown catch was Dodson’s first of his career.

“It’s awesome,” said Bart Williams about the depth of his receiving corps. “It’s cool because I know all the wideouts have to (worry) about personnel and who’s in the game. It’s nice because I don’t worry about that, I just have to drop back and find my receivers.”

Junior kicker Joel Schipper hit a 27-yard field goal to put GVSU ahead 38-17.

GVSU has now won 27 consecutive games against the Warriors.

The Lakers are back in action on Oct. 17 with a tilt against No. 14 Michigan Tech at home at 7 p.m., looking to avenge a 35-14 loss in Houghton, Michigan last year.

“We’re (going to) get on the tape, look at some things,” Mitchell said. “We’re excited for the opportunity. I will say this – we’re confident. We’re a confident group, everybody in the locker room has mentioned what happened last year.”