No. 14 GVSU routed by No. 5 Ferris State

GVL / Kevin Sielaff

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff

Adam Knorr

For the fourth year in a row, it was just too much Jason Vander Laan for the Grand Valley State football team to handle.

Vander Laan completed 32 of 45 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns as No. 5 Ferris State beat GVSU 61-24in front of a crowd of 16,121 at Lubbers Stadium Saturday night.

The Lakers (2-1) hung tight early, and went into the locker room down 27-17 at the end of the first half.

The second half, however, was all Bulldogs (2-0), and they ran away with the Anchor-Bone Classic.

“Credit to Ferris State. They made the plays and we didn’t,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “We stopped the inside run pretty good but we gave up way too much yardage in the passing game.

“(Bubble screens) hurt us and a couple big plays in the passing game, so I though Jason Vander Laan today was as advertised in terms of his production and performance.”

Vander Laan accounted for six total touchdowns – the nail in the coffin coming on a 3-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter to dash GVSU’s upset hopes.

The Lakers were able to limit Vander Laan, relatively, on the ground, but FSU’s passing attack was too much for GVSU.

Senior wideout Antonio Agurs showcased soft hands and lethal acceleration, pulling in 13 catches for 153 yards, with many coming on screen passes or dump offs.

Sophomore JaJuan Pollack had 90 yards receiving, while Jake Lampman and Shakur Sanders both pulled in touchdown catches.

“They were getting the ball out to those guys in space and we’ve talked about it all week – you have to make some plays,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t make plays at all.”

Offensively, the Lakers found little to hang their hat on. Quarterback Bart Williams threw two touchdown strikes – a 60-yarder to Brandon Bean and a 30-yarder to Jamie Potts – but he completed just 14 of 31 passes for 227 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

GVSU gained just 262 offensive yards, and were four of 14on third down – many of which came with over five yards to go. The Lakers struggled to find consistency in the passing game, and, outside of a solid night from Kirk Spencer, couldn’t find much success on the ground.

Spencer rushed for 54 yards on just 10 carries – effective in limited touches.

“It’s tough to get something going when you can’t run the ball, but that’s not an excuse,” Williams said. “You just got to drop back, throw and catch.”

The Laker defense intercepted Vander Laan twice – both deep in GVSU territory – but the offense was able to gain little traction and the Laker defense was forced back on the field time and time again.

“I don’t think (the defense) was fatigued, but they had to defend (82) snaps,” Mitchell said. “When you give up that many snaps against an offense like this you’re going to give up some yardage and give up some points.”

The second half was mostly three-and-outs mixed with sparing first downs for the overwhelmed Laker offense.

Bean was again Williams’ favorite receiver, as the sophomore pulled in five receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

The Lakers were able to get to Vander Laan, and delivered a number of licks to the Bulldog quarterback. But the returning Harlon Hill award-winner popped up each time to deliver more painful blows to the GVSU defense.

Down 21-10 in the first half, GVSU had a golden opportunity to draw within a score, but a lack of execution doomed the Lakers again.

GVSU pulled off a perfect double reverse pass, but Bean overshot a wide-open Potts on FSU’s 15-yard line. The Lakers ended up punting on the drive.

Potts also handled the punting for GVSU, booting the ball nine times for an average of 44.4 yards per punt.

FSU has now bested GVSU in four consecutive seasons – all with Vander Laan as quarterback. The loss hurts GVSU, but, according, to senior Matt Judon, the rivalry doesn’t play much into the sting.

“Looking at the record it doesn’t tell you who you lost to,” Judon said. “It’s just a one tally back there. We’re not going to pout. We’re not going to put our heads down. We’re going to learn from this situation and just come back and get better.”

FSU sprung out to a 7-0 lead on a Vander Laan touchdown rush. GVSU struck back with Bean’s first touchdown, and took a 10-7 lead when Joel Schipper kicked a career-long 46-yard field goal.

Sanders and Lampman pulled in consecutive touchdown catches to but FSU up 21-10. The Bulldogs outscored GVSU 14-0 in the third quarter, thanks to a pair of Vander Laan touchdown runs. He hit senior Kenny Feyh for a 7-yard touchdown to give FSU a 48-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

Bean’s second touchdown catch, a 14-yard strike, pulled GVSU to within 48-24, but a 76-yard touchdown rush by Ben Hinamanu and a Tavierre Thomas pick six left the final score at 61-24.

The crowd of 16,121 is good for second all-time high at Lubbers Stadium, falling just short of the record of 16,467 set against Saginaw Valley State in 2009.

GVSU returns to action with an away game at Lake Erie on Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. in Painesville, Ohio.