Anchor Bone classic – Monday, Oct. 10

Beau Troutman

Beau Troutman, Oct. 10

Grand Valley State’s most efficient passer through three quarters of their game versus Ferris State wasn’t even a quarterback.

Running back Martayveus Carter held that honor thanks to a 32-yard trick play touchdown pass in the first quarter. However, leading only 28-23 in the fourth, quarterback Bart Williams lofted a beautifully placed ball into the hands of the receiver Nick Dodson for a 39-yard touchdown pass.

Statistics and efficiency aside, Williams regained the title of top passer.

The late touchdown put the game on ice, giving the No. 2 ranked Lakers (6-0) a 35-23 win over the No. 14 ranked Bulldogs (4-2) in front of an all-time record high Lubbers Stadium crowd (16,889) Saturday, Oct. 8.

“We just kept fighting, scratching and clawing, just like last week, we needed every single play we could get out there,” said GVSU coach Matt Mitchell.

The Lakers earned bragging rights as the 2016 Anchor-Bone Classic champion, and snapped a four game regular season losing streak to the Bulldogs. The win keeps the Lakers at first place in the GLIAC North, and drops FSU from second to a third place tie with Saginaw Valley State.

Bart Williams was 9-of-17 for 109 yards, had two interceptions and was sacked four times through the first three quarters, but was 5-of-7 for 91 yards and had the game-sealing touchdown to Nick Dodson in the fourth.

“I think that was big,” Williams said. “We needed to give ourselves a bigger cushion, so it felt really good when I saw Dodson trotting to the end zone.”

The Lakers had a 28-6 lead at halftime. The Bulldog offense, led by Division I Eastern Michigan transfer quarterback Reggie Bell, was able to get chunk yardage off of big plays, but couldn’t finish out drives.

Though the Lakers won quarters one, two and four, Bell and the Bulldogs won the third.

The Bulldogs outgained the Lakers 114-43 in the third quarter in net offensive yardage, much of which was from Bell. The Bulldogs held the Lakers scoreless, and brought the deficit down to 28-13 heading into the final frame.

The fourth quarter started off with Williams throwing an interception to the Bulldogs’ Tavierre Thomas.

Bell wasted no time, and brought the Bulldogs to within one score off of a 21-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marquel Hines to make it 28-20.

After a Laker three-and-out on the ensuing possession, the Bulldogs drove down to the GVSU 30 yard line thanks to a 13-yard run by Bell who, for most of the second half, had his way with the Laker defense.

That play represented the beginning of the end for the Bulldogs, though. Bell went down with an injury on that play, and was replaced by longtime Jason Vander Laan backup Trevor Bermingham.

The drive stalled and resulted in a field goal, cutting the GVSU lead to 28-23.

The next possession would be crucial for a Laker offense that had been ineffective up to that point, and with eight minutes on the clock, there was too much time left to play clock control.

Third down had been the bane of existence for a team that converted at a 30 percent clip for the game, and the Lakers were tasked with a third and nine from their own 16-yard line. The offense had a collective sigh of relief, though, when Williams found Brandon Bean on a 20-yard strike to move the sticks.

“We converted a third and long on that drive, which I don’t think we had done all game,” Williams said.

Three plays later, Dodson was celebrating in the end zone after the game-clinching touchdown strike.

Carter finished with 127 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Dodson led all receivers with four catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. Collin Schlosser led GVSU with 13 tackles. The Lakers won despite being outgained 570-350 in net offensive yardage.

Bell led all players with 19-of-39 passing, 343 yards and two touchdowns, along with 178 yards rushing. He also had four turnovers (two fumbles, two interceptions).

The Lakers’ four touchdowns in the first half came off of a three-yard jet sweep by receiver Brandon Bean, a one yard rushing touchdown by Carter, a fumble recovery in the end zone by Kalen Dunham and then Carter’s halfback pass to receiver Urston Smith for the first score of the game.

Carter doesn’t plan on trying out for quarterback anytime soon, but is happy to help the offense any way he can.

“It was too much for me, because I thought I was going to overthrow (Smith),” Carter said. “It was a real great play, we didn’t really get as much pressure as I thought I would, and I just lobbed the ball and he was there to make it.”

The Lakers host non-conference opponent Truman State next Saturday, Oct. 15 for homecoming.