GVSU Football rolls over William Jewell, 63-10


COURTESY \ Chris Dumond

Kellen Voss, Sports Editor

After a sloppy opening drive with a few penalties by the Grand Valley State defense, William Jewell kicked a 47-yard field goal to give the William Jewell College Cardinals an early 3-0 lead.

GVSU went on to score the next 56 points, dominating the Cardinals on both sides of the ball. After that initial William Jewell drive, the Lakers ultimately won, 63-10, to improve to 8-1 on the year.

“Defensively, the first drive was sloppy,” said GVSU coach Matt Mitchell. “We had a couple of penalties, but after that we settled and were really dominant from there on out.”

Dominance was the perfect way to describe it, as in that first half, the Lakers held the Cardinals to 42 total yards of offense, including only four rushing yards.

Their solid performance spurred from constant pressure from GVSU’s front seven, as they were able to rack 12.5 tackles for loss and three sacks, with two of those sacks coming from junior defensive end Jake Hlava.

“We knew they liked to pass the ball, and the quarterback was a little slippery, so we wanted to make sure to get to him,” Hlava said. “We knew they always had a higher tendency to pass, so we knew we wanted to play the run on the way to the pass, get after it and harass the quarterback.”

The offensive side of the ball saw the same dominance from GVSU, putting up well over 500 total yards of offense.

Junior quarterback Cole Kotopka exposed a Cardinal defense that’s given up nearly 250 passing yards a game. Kotopka threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

“I thought Cole played great,” Mitchell said. “We started off with a bang because his first play was a touchdown pass to Brandon (Wadley), and he ran it a little bit, but he was throwing the ball really well.”

That 63-yard touchdown by Wadley on the opening play was far from his only big catch. He dusted off his Jerry Rice costume for Halloween, totaling eight catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns on the night.

After being tampered with injuries all season long, Wadley was ecstatic to get back out on the field and contribute for his team.

“I’ve been battling injuries since earlier this year, and I’ve just been trying to get back to 100 percent as fast as I could,” Wadley said. “It felt amazing to get out there and play with the guys and execute well.”

In his first game back after being out for nearly a month, sophomore running back Aryuan Cain-Veasey got settled back into the offense quite nicely, rushing for 65 yards and punching in a 19-yard touchdown towards the end of the first half.

With the Anchor Bone Classic on the horizon, Mitchell was happy to work formerly injured guys like Cain-Veasey back into the offense, getting some game reps in before facing the Bulldogs.

“It was good to get Buck back out there,” Mitchell said. “It was nice to knock the rust off after about a month off, and it was good to see him running hard.”

This was truly a team win, from Nick Foster blocking a punt for the second week in a row to former offensive linemen Jack Driscoll catching a 26-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Mitchell was happy to see his team dominate and get every guy dressed for the game on the field.

“I’ve challenged our guys and said, ‘If we’re going to be a competitive team, you should be able to get every guy in the game,’” Mitchell said. “Winning any college football game is difficult, and we don’t ever take it for granted here, and we need to enjoy these victories with each other.”

After a quality win like this one, Mitchell advised his guys to celebrate this before preapring for a big rivalry game with Ferris State next week. All the running backs who have been struggling with injuries this season, including Cain-Veasey, junior Bryce Young-Walls, and sophomore Jack Provencher, will be active for that game.

“We’re going to enjoy this win and not look too far ahead,” Mitchell said. “We’ve had a plan for this game for years now at Grand Valley State, and we’ll get to work as coaches and start gameplanning for them.”

GVSU travels to Big Rapids to take on the Bulldogs on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m.