GV football goes on scoring rampage, defense rolls over Lincoln University


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University men’s football obliterated Lincoln University in commanding fashion as they won 66-7, totaling the most points and the most yards accumulated by the team while holding their opponent to the least amount of points and yards in a game so far this season.

“Our defense pitched a shutout, only gave up 148 yards and they did a great job flying around,” head coach Matt Mitchell said. “The offense did a great job mixing up the play calls, there were a lot of spots we were attacking and a lot of guys touched the ball; it was a good win.”

The Lakers started out hot and never looked back as senior linebacker Abe Swanson forced a fumble near Lincoln’s 29-yard line and set up the GVSU offense with great positioning to attack. Three plays later, junior quarterback Cade Peterson found sophomore wide receiver Jahdae Walker for a seven-yard touchdown to produce the first points of the game. 

“I was just trying to get off to a fast start,” Walker said. “So when I saw it was a back shoulder (throw), I knew I had it in the bag and I caught it and celebrated with my teammates.”

However, Lincoln quickly sucked the air out of the stadium on the ensuing kickoff, returning it for 98 yards to even the score 7-7 with 12:43 left to play in the opening quarter.

GVSU was unable to answer the monstrous play, but the defense forced a three-and-out on the next Lincoln possession and a botched punt set the Laker offense up with great field position once more. A face mask and defensive pass interference penalty pushed the chains forward and the Lakers were able to convert a two-yard touchdown run by Peterson to give the Lakers back the lead, 14-7. 

Later in the quarter, GVSU drove the ball 68 yards in just six plays which was ultimately capped off by a five-yard touchdown run by junior running back Tariq Reid, bringing the lead to 21-7 and scoring the final points of the first 15 minutes. 

The Lakers began the second quarter the way they left off in the first, taking advantage of crucial mistakes by the Lincoln defense, as Peterson connected with Walker again, this time for a four-yard touchdown to extend their lead to 28-7.

Although Walker put up video game-like numbers this time out, he emphasized that personal accolades aren’t his focus when on the field, but instead putting his team in a position to win by any means necessary.

“I don’t want to focus on having too many touchdowns, I just want to focus on being the best person I can be,” Walker said. “If the touchdowns come, they come, but if they don’t, they don’t. I really don’t care about touchdowns.”

On the following LU offensive possession, the defense forced another three-and-out and a 23-yard punt placed the Laker offense 44 yards away from the endzone. Seven plays and three minutes later, senior running back Jack Provencher found paydirt from 12 yards away to make the score 35-7 with 6:42 left in the first half.

“(Having great field position) is another confidence booster, when you’re smelling the endzone it just gives you that extra ‘We have to get in there,’” Peterson said. “Special teams and our defense did a great job setting us up in great field position, so that’s all on them, not on the offense. It’s our job once we’re put in that position to make sure we’re scoring touchdowns.”

After the defense forced a turnover on downs in their own territory, GVSU drove down the field in just over two minutes on ten plays, capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Peterson, his fourth of the first half, to take a 42-7 lead heading into halftime.

The second half was just as dominant as the first for the Lakers, as Peterson found sophomore wide receiver Cody Tierney, who scampered out of bounds after a 41-yard gain, for the opening drive of the second half. After the drive stalled out for the Lakers, sophomore kicker Kollin Kralapp drilled a 40-yard field goal, his career-long, to extend the lead, 45-7.

The defense remained stout as they forced another three-and-out, and the Lakers capitalized once more on offense as junior backup quarterback Cal Endicott led the team on a quick four-play drive and ending it with a ten-yard plunge into the endzone by redshirt freshman Syone Usma-Harper to make the score 52-7 with 7:26 left in the third quarter.

“We had a lot of opportunities for guys to play, so that’s really key for our football program in the short term in case we have some injuries or depth,” Mitchell said. “I think in the long term for developing those players for their future, it was key to get them out there.”

On the next play from scrimmage, sophomore defensive back Grant Hart intercepted a Lincoln pass, which set up a 52-yard touchdown pass from Endicott to senior wide receiver Kordell Hoover to add seven more points to the scoreboard, giving GVSU a 59-7 lead as LU continued to reel. 

The scoring barrage continued at the start of the fourth quarter as Endicott threw another 37-yard strike to Hoover to tally the final touchdown for the game, 66-7. The defense continued to shut down the Lincoln offense, as sophomore linebacker Sam Plate intercepted a tipped pass, the third time GVSU’s defense forced a turnover, essentially putting the game to bed.

On offense, Peterson completed 14 of 19 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns, while adding two touchdowns on the ground. Walker added three catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns, continuing to raise eyebrows with his performance this season thus far. Tierney also contributed heavily with two catches for 51 yards, while Hoover had two catches for 89 yards and two scores.

“(The receivers) put in a lot of work and I think the connections you see on Saturdays show that work we put in,” Peterson said. “I can’t give them enough credit and obviously the offensive line, those passes don’t happen without them, so it’s great to have them and we have more work to do still, so it’s going in the right direction,”

In the rushing game, Usma-Harper, Provencher, and Reid all had touchdowns, while sophomore quarterback Avery Moore had four rushes for 36 yards. 

“(Moore) has a skill set that we saw in fall camp especially, a little bit in spring ball, but he has a great feel for the run game,” Mitchell said. “When you combine that with his athleticism and size, it really provides opportunities to create an advantage for our offense when the quarterback is to run the ball.”

On defense, it was a complete team effort, as no player recorded over six tackles. However, the team forced three turnovers and only allowed two third-down conversions, seven first downs and 148 total yards. The defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage for the entirety of the game, forcing the Lincoln quarterback into tough passing situations all game long.

The team is back in action this weekend in Detroit as they look to extend their three-game winning streak and remain undefeated on the season against Wayne State University.

“We’ll get in tomorrow and make sure we put this game to bed, just to learn and grow from it,” Mitchell said. “It’s a unique situation; we play them twice and this will be the first time we play them, so we’ll get on the tape, look at their strengths and come up with a game plan.”

The game is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m.