GVSU football soundly defeats Truman State on the road, securing sixth straight victory

GVL / Emily Frye 
GVSU football takes on Wayne State in Detroit Saturday, Oct. 7. 

GVL / Emily Frye 

GVSU football takes on Wayne State in Detroit Saturday, Oct. 7. 

Brady McAtamney

The No. 7 Grand Valley State football team took to the road for their second of three straight road games and soundly beat their out-of-conference opponent Truman State, now 1-6 (1-3 GLVC), with a final score of 42-7. The victory is the sixth in a row for GVSU as they improve to 6-1 (5-0 GLIAC).

The game was cut short in the middle of the fourth quarter after lightning was spotted near the area, clinching the victory for the Lakers. 

The Lakers came out and scored all of their points in the first half, led by quarterback Bart Williams, who connected on each of his 15 pass attempts for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He played one drive in the second half where he went 0-2 before handing the offense off to Cole Kotopka. GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell couldn’t complain about the production of Williams and the rest of the team.

“We were efficient. We didn’t turn the ball over,” Mitchell said. “Our quarterback was 15 of 15, and we protected him enough to hit a lot of explosive plays. Our receivers made a lot of nice contested catches. Brandon Bean and Nick Keizer had some good catches, and there were some tight windows that Bart got it into.”

Williams’ favorite targets were wide receivers Brandon Bean and Nick Dodson, who each hauled in five passes. Bean picked up 111 yards, while Dodson added 38 yards and two receiving touchdowns.

The Laker defense was led by linebacker Garrett Pougnet and defensive back Kyle Short, who both had seven tackles. Additionally, Pougnet had one tackle for loss, and Short recovered a fumble late in the first half.

GVSU’s run game was strong, too, as the Laker ball carriers contributed 126 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Marty Carter and Bryce Young-Walls spearheaded the ground attack with 63 and 39 yards rushing, respectively, on nine carries each, while Carter scored once and Young-Walls twice. Carter was removed from the game in the first half as a precaution with an undisclosed injury.

The Lakers started the contest with a bang when they capitalized on a six-play drive with the first Williams-to-Dodson score of the day, a seven-yard strike at the front of the end zone.

However, Truman State would respond on their ensuing drive with a 10-yard touchdown rush from Jordan Salima to tie the game at seven apiece. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it would be the last time they would be able to put points on the board.

The Lakers would then score on every possession they had in the rest of the first half, including a 35-yard scamper from Carter and backfield teammate Young-Walls taking the ball across the plane from 10 yards out. There was also a 25-yard touchdown completion by tight end Keizer from Williams and the second Williams-to-Dodson score, which came within the final minute of the half, following the aforementioned Truman State fumble on the kickoff after Keizer’s touchdown.

Mitchell decided to take his foot off the gas in the second half, giving his second-team offense, led by Kotopka and running back Dre’on Kemp, a chance to play.

Kotopka would complete four passes on six attempts for 34 yards before lightning struck a nearby area with 4:21 left in the game. Per NCAA rules, any sight of lightning during a game sets a 30-minute delay immediately into effect. After meeting at midfield, both teams agreed to end the contest.

“Both coaches were in agreement, administrators signed off on it, referees signed off on it,” Mitchell said. “With our long bus ride home and them being down and probably wanted to look forward to next week, it was a no-brainer decision on both sides.”

The Laker offense would pick up 450 total yards in the contest, their second straight game with at least 400 yards.

Conversely, the Bulldogs managed 223 yards with only 90 of them coming through the air against GVSU’s top-ranked pass defense.

“The defense was playing fast and physical after that first drive. We made a quick adjustment and came together,” Short said. “The defense as a whole played really well together. Up front we played well; secondary and linebackers played well. We have players in the secondary who believe we can hang with anyone, and heading into next week, we know what we’ve got to do. We’ll watch some film and get into next week, take it day by day as we head into Saturday.”

GVSU will look to finish their three-game road trip unscathed as they travel to Big Rapids, Michigan, Saturday, Oct. 21, to take on one of their rivals, No. 15 Ferris State (5-1, 4-1 GLIAC), at 1 p.m. in the Anchor-Bone Classic.