Lakers impressive in 42-23 blowout of Hillsdale

GVL / Robert Mathews
Quarterback Isiah Grimes steps back to throw a pass against Ferris State University.

GVL / Robert Mathews Quarterback Isiah Grimes steps back to throw a pass against Ferris State University.

Cody Eding

HILLSDALE, Mich. – The Grand Valley State University football team didn’t just dampen Hillsdale College’s homecoming festivities Saturday afternoon at “Muddy” Waters Field.

The Lakers absolutely, positively, destroyed their rivals.

With a share of first place in the GLIAC North on the line, GVSU (7-2, 6-2 GLIAC) dominated all facets of the game in a 42-23 rout over the host Chargers.

“It was a team win,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “You go on the road against a good football team, it was good to get that one on our belt.”

GVSU’s victory places them in a three-way tie for the GLIAC North lead, alongside Hillsdale and Saginaw Valley State University. The Lakers play Wayne State University in Allendale next weekend, and with a win, would set up a de facto GLIAC North championship game on Nov. 10 at SVSU.

Except for a long opening drive by the Chargers, the game was almost entirely controlled by the Lakers. Facing one of the nation’s best running backs in Hillsdale’s Joe Glendening, the GVSU duo of freshman Kirk Spencer and sophomore Michael Ratay outperformed Glendening handedly.

Spencer scored twice and reached 100 yards on 15 carries, while Ratay added another touchdown and 110 yards on 16 rushes.

“You have to like our offensive line, the way they controlled the line of scrimmage,” Mitchell said. “We were able to run the ball and set up some stuff off of that.”

Aided by the running game, sophomore quarterback Isiah Grimes completed 16-of-21 attempts for 259 yards and two touchdowns. The signal caller also scampered four yards for a touchdown to open the second half scoring.

Senior wide receiver Charles Johnson nabbed six catches for 97 yards, including a spectacular 42-yard leaping grab between defenders on GVSU’s first drive of the second half. Freshman Jamie Potts added four grabs and a second quarter touchdown.

Defensively, the Lakers made big plays when needed and picked on Hillsdale’s inability to break Glendening loose.

With Hillsdale mounting a scoring drive on its first possession of the second half, junior transfer Dana Dixon intercepted a pass in the end zone to take the last of the wind out of the Chargers’ sails.

GVSU received a big game from freshman defensive back Brad Horling, as he posted 14 total tackles and several times met Glendening as he attempted to cut through the middle of the defense.

“We knew we wanted to stop the run,” said Horling. “Bottling (Glendening) up was the biggest thing.”

The Chargers marched 75 yards on the game’s opening drive to take an early 6-0 lead, and with their homecoming crowd behind them, seemed poised to sustain the early momentum.

However, the game’s big break ultimately went GVSU’s way. Although Hillsdale appeared to recover the ensuing kickoff following a muffed catch, offsides negated the big play and forced a re-kick.

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First Quarter
08:21 HC – Kegan Smith 26 yd pass from Anthony Mifsud, 0-6

Second Quarter
14:23 GV – Kirk Spencer 21 yd run, 7-6
06:45 GV – Kirk Spencer 4 yd run, 14-6
01:47 HC – Colin McGreevy 19 yd field goal, 14-9
00:25 GV – Jamie Potts 10 yd pass from Isiah Grimes, 21-9

Third Quarter
12:03 GV – Isiah Grimes 4 yd run, 28-9
04:08 GV – Joe Wirth 6 yd pass from Isiah Grimes, 35-9

Fourth Quarter
14:52 GV – Michael Ratay 9 yd run, 42-9
11:57 HC – Joe Glendening 12 yd run, 42-16
00:31 HC – Isaac Spence 1 yd run, 42-23