Injury bug halts GVSU offense, defense stands tall in 28-0 win

GVL / Robert Mathews 
Sophomore Chris Robinson (3) rushing past a defender.

GVL / Robert Mathews Sophomore Chris Robinson (3) rushing past a defender.

A week after allowing 46 points to Notre Dame College of Ohio, the defense of No. 4 Grand Valley State University responded Saturday by keeping Tiffin University off the scoreboard, but an injury to junior quarterback Heath Parling was all the buzz in the Lakers 28-0 road win.

Parling went down late in the first quarter and was replaced by his backup, sophomore quarterback Isiah Grimes. However, it was Parling who got the scoring started for GVSU.

His 58-yard pass to senior wideout Charles Johnson on the team’s second possession put GVSU on the Tiffin 1-yard line. Parling then found his go-to guy once again on a slant pass to cap off the drive and put the Lakers up 7-0.

An interception by junior cornerback Reggie Williams shortly after Parling went down led to a nine play, 63-yard drive by GVSU. It concluded in an 8-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Michael Ratay early in the second quarter.

Later in the first half it was Johnson hauling in another 58-yard reception, only this time from Grimes, spotting the Lakers at the Dragon 9-yard line. A couple plays later GVSU found the endzone on a 5-yard toss from Grimes to Ratay.

The Lakers would take their 21-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The second half started with some fireworks from GVSU when freshman Kirk Spencer returned the kickoff 77 yards to the Tiffin 9-yard line, putting the Lakers in position for another score.

They would capitalize thanks to a Ratay carry to the one and then Grimes finding Johnson in the back of the endzone.

“I think our team did a great job of handling the situation,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “We have to feel good about the defense and what they were able to do. I wish we could have been a little bit more productive in the second half on the offensive side of the ball.”

The shutout was the first for GVSU since defeating Ferris State University 41-0 in 2010. The strong defensive performance was also highlighted by two quarterback sacks and eight tackles for loss.

Dating back to last season, the win against Tiffin marks the 10th straight victory for the Lakers.

[email protected]