GV Football defeats Lindenwood 20-3, advancing to second round of playoffs


GVL / Rachel Slomba

Shawn Robinson, Staff Writer

The no. 4 ranked Grand Valley State University (10-1) defeated Lindenwood University (9-3) in the first round of the NCAA Division II football playoffs 20-3 on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Lubbers Stadium. This meeting marked the first matchup ever between the two teams. 

In the first quarter, GVSU came out on a hot start, driving down the field on their first offensive drive. On third-and-four at Lindenwood’s 22-yard line, sophomore running back Bryce-Young Walls was able to find a hole and rush for 13 yards, putting the Lakers on the Lindenwood nine-yard line.

After failing to score the game’s first touchdown, freshman kicker Kollin Kralapp made a 21-yard field goal to open the game for GVSU 3-0. 

After a quick three-and-out for Lindenwood, the Lakers started their next drive on their own 33-yard line. On second-and-four, junior running back Aryuan Cain-Veasey rushed for 17-yards, putting GVSU at the 50-yard line.

Later in the drive on fourth down, the Lakers looked to convert when sophomore quarterback Cade Peterson passed to junior receiver Kordell Hoover on the left side of the end zone. Lindenwood was called for pass interference which then set the Lakers on the Lindenwood two-yard line.

Peterson then connected with a wide open Young-Walls for the two-yard touchdown and extended their lead, 10-0 with 2:04 remaining in the first quarter. 

“We executed our fundamentals,” Young-Walls said. “They did a lot of different things we didn’t see on tape, but I feel like they played hard. They weren’t giving us anything and when that big play happened, all eleven guys executed and did their job.”

GVSU started the second with the ball. On first-and-ten at the GVSU 38-yard line, Peterson passed to junior wideout Hunter Rison for 44-yards to put the Lakers in the red zone. A play later, Peterson then threw the ball into traffic and the pass was intercepted by Grady Daniels. 

After the interception, the Laker defense was able to force another three-and-out, giving their offense excellent field position. Three plays and three yards later, GVSU was forced to punt as well, marking its first three-and-out of the night. 

With 4:26 remaining in the half, Lindenwood had a total of 18 yards and couldn’t get their offense rolling. The GVSU special teams made its mark when they blocked their first punt of the contest and was recovered by the Lions at the Lindenwood 23-yard line. 

On the next drive, the Lakers found themselves on another fourth down but failed to convert with 2:56 remaining in the quarter, giving Lindenwood enough time to get on the scoreboard before halftime. The Laker’s defense made another huge stop and forced the Lions to punt once more. Redshirt freshman Jake Archbold blocked the punt on fourth down, putting the Lakers at the Lindenwood 29-yard line. 

Just before the first half ended, Peterson was hit and shaken up, taking him out for the rest of the game. Sophomore quarterback Cal Endicott came in and replaced Peterson for the Lakers but failed to lead his team to the end zone before the end of the quarter. 

As the third quarter began, Lindenwood came out looking to get on the board. On first-and-ten at the GVSU 49-yard line, quarterback Alex Faddoul completed a 15-yard pass to receiver Clint Sigg. Laker’s sophomore linebacker Abe Swanson then forced a fumble and junior linebacker Brendann Brown recovered the ball and ran for ten yards. 

GVSU’s offense came out and drove down the field for 14 plays and settled for the field goal, giving the Lakers a 13-0 advantage. 

At the end of the third quarter, Lindenwood was finally able to get some momentum going. Kicker Logan Seibert made a 27-yard field goal, putting the Lions on the board, 13-3. 

To start the fourth quarter, the Lakers maintained possession of the ball. Redshirt freshman Kyle Nott rushed for 32-yards, setting up the Lakers at the Lindenwood 32-yard line. A play later, Young-Walls ran for another 32-yards to the end zone, extending the GVSU lead to 17. 

Towards the end of the quarter, the Lions’ offense started marching down the field. On fourth-and-one on the GVSU 22-yard line, Faddoul completed a pass to Payton Rose for 19 yards. Redshirt freshman Damonte McCurdy laid a hard hit forcing the ball to come out and junior defensive back Jon’Tavous Webb recovered the ball running 15-yards down the field. 

After another punt by GVSU, Lindenwood had one last shot. On second-and-ten on the Lions’ 34-yard line, Faddoul looked for an open receiver down field but was intercepted by McCurdy at the 50-yard line, giving the Lakers the ball to seal the 20-3 victory. 

“I’m proud of my guys,” said coach Matt Mitchell. “I thought it was a hard-fought, clean football game. Defense just did an unbelievable job of not giving them any life in the run game and harassed the quarterback to not let him get much. Back-to-back weeks that our defense hasn’t allowed the other team in the end zone, which is really hard to do in college football.” 

The Lakers will advance to the second round of playoffs and take on rival Ferris State University next Saturday, Nov. 27 at Top Taggart Field, and will look to continue their postseason run.