No. 23 Eagles fly by GVSU at Lubbers, 37-14

GVL / Emily Frye
Football vs. Ashland

GVL / Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Football vs. Ashland

Jay Bushen

GLIAC Standings – Stats

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Redshirt freshman Travis Tarnowski threw for 369 yards and two touchdowns as No. 23 Ashland University handed Grand Valley State its fifth loss of the season in a 37-14 game Saturday night.

“We got beat, and beat badly,” said GVSU coach Matt Mitchell. “Defensively, we stopped the run decent in the first half. We didn’t have enough discipline to play great man coverage and gave up some scores. Credit to their quarterback, he kept battling.”

The victory moves Ashland (8-1, 8-1 GLIAC) into second place in the overall GLIAC standings behind Ferris State, while the defeat gives GVSU (4-5, 4-4) its first five-loss season since 1999.

The Lakers moved the ball offensively, but couldn’t turn long drives into points. They were 0-for-4 on fourth down and didn’t score until the 1:55 mark in the third quarter.

“We got nothing going offensively,” Mitchell said. “We struggled to run the ball effectively in the first half and struggled to protect the quarterback. When you can’t run the ball, you can’t protect the quarterback. There’s not much you can do.”

Ashland ran 52 plays in the first half to GVSU’s 24 and finished the game with a significant edge in time of possession (35:09 to 24:51). The Eagles did not turn the ball over and were 14-of-22 on third down.

Tarnowski threw the ball 33 times in the opening half, and his ability to escape the pocket and make plays appeared to be the difference for Ashland. Senior tailback Anthony Taylor sealed the deal with two second-half touchdowns, including a 37-yard burst up the sideline which put the Eagles up 27-0. He finished with 129 yards on 19 carries.

A number of Laker miscues were also a factor in the game. A muffled punt, a few dropped passes and a number of penalties plagued the team. GVSU was penalized seven times for 70 yards.

“Defensively, we gave them – with the penalties we had on the defensive side of the ball – the extra yardage we gave them was astronomical,” Mitchell said.

GVSU quarterback Heath Parling completed 19-of-34 throws for 266 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Parling had some success in the passing game, especially when targeting wide receiver Jamie Potts. Potts hauled in nine receptions for a career-high 172 yards and one touchdown, moving his career total to 2,004 receiving yards. He became just the ninth Laker to eclipse the 2,000 mark.

Running back Chris Robinson, who set the GVSU single-game rushing record last weekend, was injured in the first quarter and did not return. Terrell Dorsey racked up 81 yards on 12 carries (6.8 average) in his absence.

The team plays its final home game of the 2014 season at 4 p.m. on Saturday against Tiffin (4-4) before the Battle of the Valleys at Saginaw Valley State (2-6) on Nov. 15.