GVSU football gets first loss, falls to Ferris State at home

Chawntez Moss trots into the end zone for a score against Ferris State on Oct. 13. GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Chawntez Moss trots into the end zone for a score against Ferris State on Oct. 13. GVL / Sheila Babbitt

Brady McAtamney

The No. 2 ranked Grand Valley State Lakers football team suffered their first loss of the season on Saturday, Oct. 13, dropping a home contest to the rival No. 3 Ferris State Bulldogs 35-31, dropping to 6-1 (3-1 GLIAC). 

“We’re all very disappointed,” said head coach Matt Mitchell. “I think our players are very hurt that we lost the game, especially because I think there were a lot of opportunities we had out there. That wasn’t lack of effort. It wasn’t like I’m heading the locker room saying we had lack of effort. We competed.”

After turning the ball over only once all season coming into the game, the Laker offense committed three on Saturday as quarterback Bart Williams surrendered three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and another that sealed the game in the closing minutes. Volume played a role in the turnovers, as the Williams attempted 50 passes due to GVSU’s inability to get the ball moving on the ground with a season-low 34 rushes on 19 attempts. 

Williams completed 23 attempts for 487 yards and one touchdown with wide receivers Nick Dodson, Brandon Wadley and Austin Paritee all eclipsing the century mark in receiving yards (200, 166 and 105, respectively). Running back Chawntez Moss gained only 37 yards on 14 attempts but scored three touchdowns.

“(Williams is a) great quarterback, I looked up at the video board and saw that they had a million yards passing through three quarters so unbelievable aerial show by them,” said Ferris State head coach Tony Annese. “We made them one-dimensional and for the most part, it’s risk-reward when you pass. Bart made a lot of plays, the receivers made a lot of plays, but you also have opportunities – a pick six, some interceptions – so that was key.”

The Laker defense held strong most of the game, allowing the Bulldogs to convert only three of their 16 third down attempts while forcing two turnovers and blocking a punt. It was a handful of big plays, including a 31-yard trick play that saw FSU quarterback Jayru Campbell catch the game winning touchdown with three minutes left in the game.

“It hurts right now,” Mitchell said. “If it doesn’t hurt, then you’ve got some problems. Our job as coaches and our job as leadership is to make sure this loss doesn’t turn into another one. We’ll get back in here and get to work. We have a 6-1 Davenport coming up so we’ve got to regroup pretty quickly. It’s tough when you look at the staff sheet and realize the opportunities, it’s tough, but at some point you’re going to have to learn from this. 

“It’s one of those games where you don’t put it on any one unit. It wasn’t the offense, wasn’t the defense, wasn’t the special teams. There’s mistakes made on all three units that led to it. When you have that type of situation, you have some humility, you look at yourself in the mirror, and you get back to work.”

With hopes of an undefeated regular season out the window, the Lakers must now collect themselves and prepare to take on the surprising Davenport Panthers (6-1, 3-1 GLIAC) on Saturday, Oct. 20 in Caledonia, Mich. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.