Lakers host winless Lake Erie Saturday

Lakers huddle up during a time out

Eric Coulter

Lakers huddle up during a time out

Cody Eding

For the second time in three weeks, the Grand Valley State University football team will face off against a winless team when Lake Erie College travels to Allendale Saturday night.

However, the Lakers (6-0, 5-0 GLIAC) are not taking the game any more lightly just because of Lake Erie’s 0-6 record.

“Don’t be fooled by their record,” said GVSU head coach Matt Mitchell. “They’re a pretty good winless team.”

Despite being a first-year member of the GLIAC and a three-year-old program overall, Lake Erie has already proven this season that it can challenge even the best football programs in Division II. On Sept. 25, the Storm lost a 42-37 thriller on the road against then No. 12 Hillsdale College, and last week the team put up 498 yards of total offense in a 28-16 loss to Wayne State University.

For the second straight week, the GVSU defense will be tested by a multi-talented quarterback. Lake Erie’s Sean Bedevelsky leads the Storm in rushing attempts (88), rushing yards (329), passing yards (1,223) and total touchdowns (9).

“He’s a good player,” Mitchell said. “He can run and pass. He’s their leading rusher, and he’s not doing too bad.”

Last week against Northern Michigan University, the Lakers held Northern Michigan’s dual-threat quarterback Carter Kopach to 6-of-14 passing and only seven rushing yards before he left the game with an injury at the start of the second half.

Lake Erie, whose offense lacks a single senior, runs an option scheme similar to the one Carson-Newson College used against GVSU in last season’s NCAA playoffs. In the option, the quarterback reads the defense as the play develops and can opt to keep the ball or pitch it to one of the tailbacks.

The Storm have used the option with great success this season – they average 394.3 yards of offense per game – but the scheme is at high risk for turnovers. Against Wayne State, Lake Erie fumbled the football five times, losing four, and the Storm have 12 total fumbles on the season.

“They’ve been plagued by a little bit of turnovers, and that’s what happens when you’re an option-based team,” Mitchell said. “You pitch the ball, it’s put on the ground. But, in terms of moving the ball, they haven’t had any problems in the GLIAC against some pretty good defenses.”

GVSU senior linebacker Justin Victor said Lake Erie’s offense would challenge the defense’s discipline.

“Everyone has a job on the defense,” said Victor. “We’ve just got to be sound on doing our jobs, making sure there’s no busts because one guy not doing their job can be a big play real quick.”

Despite Lake Erie’s winless season so far, Mitchell said he does not expect his team to have any trouble getting in the right mindset Saturday night. He said a look at game tape of the Storm will show how dangerous they can be.

“Tiffin was winless at the time (we played them),” he said. “We’ve got Lake Erie winless. But, make no mistake, there’s a big difference in my opinion between those two clubs. I think if those two teams play, Lake Erie is going to come out on top of that easily.”

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