Homecoming hammering: GVSU wins 17-3

GVL/Michael Dykstra

GVL/Michael Dykstra

GVL/Michael Dykstra

Jay Bushen

It wasn’t pretty, but the Grand Valley State University football team found a way to push its win streak to three games after beating a cross-state foe for the 26th time in a row.

GVSU’s defense stifled Wayne State University in a 17-3 homecoming contest on Saturday night in front of 13,412 fans at Lubbers Stadium. The Lakers forced five turnovers in the game and held Wayne State to just 132 total yards of offense. Both teams move to 3-3.

“It’s hard in modern college football to hold somebody to three points,” said GVSU coach Matt Mitchell. “That’s only a credit to our defense for getting it done.”

GVSU struck first in the opening quarter when senior quarterback Heath Parling hit tight end Joe Warner with a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Lakers added to their lead early in the second quarter when senior running back Chris Robinson punched in a 1-yard score, but it would prove to be the last touchdown of the night for either team.

The GVSU offense finished with 341 total yards, but struggled to put points on the board against a blitz-happy Wayne State defense after the first quarter.

“They started bringing a little more pressure there in the second half,” said Parling, who completed 17-of-28 throws for 256 yards. “That’s a pretty good defense. We knew going in it was going to be a sloppy game where there wasn’t going to be clean looks…

“Obviously I think we still left some points out there. Seventeen points is not good enough. Luckily our defense kind of bailed us out tonight.”

GVSU was all over Wayne State’s offense throughout the game’s entirety. Prior to their final possession with 1:34 remaining, the Warriors had less than 100 total yards of offense.

The Laker defense was making plays in the backfield constantly, racking up nine tackles for loss and a trio of sacks. Sophomore linebacker David Talley led the way with eight total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

It was the seventh time since 2006 that GVSU held an opponent to three points or less.

The Lakers, who came into the game with the fourth most takeaways in the NCAA Division II, forced five Wayne State fumbles, recovering three of them. GVSU also picked off a pair of Carl Roscoe passes in the fourth quarter.

How important have turnovers been during GVSU’s three-game win streak?

“When you start creating turnovers, you just go out there and have fun,” said junior defensive end Matt Judon, who had a sack and two tackles for loss. “It’s not like you’re trying to force turnovers, you’re just focused on being in your gap.”

Even with senior cornerback DeVonté Jones on the sidelines, the GVSU defense gave up just 103 passing yards in the contest. Redshirt freshman defensive back Tre Walton had one interception before senior Deonté Hurst picked off his second pass in as many games. Hurst also added a fumble recovery and broke up a pass.

“They did a good job of keeping the ball in front of them, which we had not done at all really,” Mitchell said of his defensive backs. “It also helps too, when you look at the flow of the game; there weren’t a lot of runs that were breaking into the second level of our defense. That was a great job of our defensive line and linebackers of keeping the thing in front of them.”

The Lakers return to action Saturday afternoon in the Upper Peninsula against No. 22 Michigan Technological University (5-0).

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