GVSU earns its first road win of the year, 23-17 over Northwood

GVL / Robert Mathews
GVSU players celebrating after a touchdown

GVL / Robert Mathews GVSU players celebrating after a touchdown

Bryce Derouin

For the Grand Valley State University football team, the third time was the charm.

After two lackluster performances on the road, GVSU (6-2, 4-2 GLIAC) earned its first win of the year away from Lubbers Stadium, as the Lakers scored a 23-17 win over Northwood University (2-6, 1-5 GLIAC)

The GVSU offense leaned on junior running back Michael Ratay, who continued his strong season with another outstanding performance, as he ran for 196 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns.

But it was the Laker defense that secured the victory.

Trailing 23-17 with 3:35 left on the clock, Northwood started its drive from its own 20 and the Timberwolves drove it to the GVSU 30. From there, the Laker defense stood its ground and forced four straight incompletions, sealing the victory.

The 23-17 final, would mark the only stretch of the game GVSU was in front.

Northwood got the scoring started when Keegan Haggarty converted a 37-yard field goal.

GVSU would go scoreless for the first quarter, but tied the game after freshman Joel Schipper knocked in a 27-yard field goal to remain a perfect 6 for 6 on the year.

Both of Northwood’s touchdowns came as a result of benefitting from a short field.

The first touchdown was set-up after the Timberwolves blocked a Laker punt, which allowed Northwood to start its drive from the GVSU 15. From there, quarterback Mark Morris found Carrington Thompson on a nine-yard pass for the touchdown.

Ratay recorded one of his biggest runs in the second quarter—an 87-yard run—but it wouldn’t lead to points for GVSU.

Facing a first and goal from the 2-yard line, GVSU was able to get it to the goal line after three plays. On fourth down, junior quarterback Isiah Grimes and Ratay had a miscommunication on the handoff, which resulted in a fumble and a turnover on downs.

GVSU went into the half trailing 10-3, but it wouldn’t take them long to respond, as the Lakers capped of an 8 play 93 yard touchdown scoring drive with a 28-yard end-around to senior wide receiver Brandan Green.

The second Northwood touchdown was a result of another GVSU miscue.

Laker junior cornerback DeVonte’ Jones was able to pick off Morris on an errant pass, but on the return, he fumbled the ball and Northwood recovered.

Northwood running back Glenn Winston capped off the 14-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown to give the Timberwolves a 17-10 advantage.

For the third consecutive time, GVSU entered the fourth quarter trailing on the road, but two touchdown runs by Ratay—1-yard and 3-yard scores—were the difference, as the Lakers outscored Northwood 13-0 in the fourth quarter.

With Parling still dealing with injury, Grimes got his fifth start of the season and completed 14 of 24 passes for 200 yards and two interceptions.

His favorite target was Green, who did most of his damage in the screen game en route to a six catch, 122-yard performance.

On defense, it was senior linebacker Jordan Kaufman who led the Lakers. Kaufman led the team with 11 tackles, and was key to limiting the Northwood offense to only 77 rushing yards.

The GVSU defense was able to be disruptive in the backfield, and recorded seven tackles for loss, including four sacks. Sophomore defensive lineman De’Ondre Hogan led the team with two sacks.

Up next, GVSU will host Hillsdale College on Saturday, as the Lakers will look to remain perfect at home.

Look for the full recap in Monday’s edition of the Lanthorn.