GV football bulldozes NMU in Homecoming game blowout


GVL / Anthony Clark Jr.

Anthony Clark Jr., Sports Editor

In an offensive onslaught, the Grand Valley State University football team defeated Northern Michigan University 56-3 in the annual Homecoming game to maintain their undefeated season (8-0).

The Oct. 22 victory saw an overall team effort not only from its explosive offense but from the defense and special teams as well.

“I think it’s a credit to the character of the coaches and players on this team,” junior quarterback Cade Peterson said. “There’s a lot of humility; every guy wants success for each other and that’s the best thing when it comes to a football team. Offense, defense and special teams – there’s not a spotlight.”

After an unsuccessful opening drive by the Lakers and a forced three and out by their defense, NMU was forced to punt the ball away.

Sophomore wide receiver Darrell Johnson took full advantage of phenomenal blocking on the return as he ran the pigskin 87 yards for the first of many points of the afternoon. Sophomore kicker Kollin Kralapp converted the extra point attempt and made the score 7-0.

Following the huge play, Northern Michigan attempted to respond with a touchdown of their own after a huge 24-yard pass completion that set them up deep into GVSU’s territory (26 yard line).

However, the Wildcats’ offense was jammed up by the Laker defensive line and were forced to kick a field goal that sailed through the uprights and put the score at 7-3.

The Lakers expanded on the momentum with a combination of the pass and run game as sophomore wide receiver Kyle Nott rushed for a 10-yard gain and a completed pass from Peterson to sophomore wide receiver Jahdae Walker for 14 yards setup GVSU at NMU’s 47-yard line.

An offsides penalty by the Wildcats and a 14-yard rush by Peterson eventually led to junior running back Tariq Reid finding the endzone on a two-yard run to put GVSU on top 14-3 after Kralapp capped off another extra point attempt. 

The first-quarter clock would eventually run down as the Lakers began the second on their own 23-yard line. The deep start in their own territory wouldn’t be an issue, however, as senior running back Jack Provencher forced a 10-yard and 15-yard rush in back-to-back plays. 

A few plays later, GVSU faced a fourth-and-two situation and elected to go for it. The antsy NMU defense were caught slipping as the team committed a second offsides penalty that created a fresh set of downs for the Lakers with the ball placed on the NMU 39-yard line.

The possession ended with sophomore wide receiver Cody Tierney rushing 14 yards for GVSU’s third touchdown, 21-3.

The Wildcat offense couldn’t string together a successful drive as the Laker defense collapsed the offensive line on just about every possession. Several forced three-and-outs led to GVSU scoring two more touchdowns (12-yard rush by Reid, sophomore quarterback Avery Moore three-yard pass to Drew Peterson) as the game clock dwindled down to zeros and the halftime whistles blew, 35-3.

Poised against a 32-point deficit and hardly able to create anything on offense, the Wildcats began the second half with possession. Five three-and-outs (two by GVSU, three by NMU) would eventually lead to the Lakers gaining possession with 6:45 left in the third.

Big rushes by Reid allowed for a connection from Peterson to sophomore wide receiver Jaylon Tillman for a three-yard touchdown, 42-3 and capping off the third quarter with just 12 minutes left in action.

Just under 10 minutes left in the fourth, the Lakers regained possession after another unsuccessful NMU drive which eventually led to a two-yard rushing touchdown by junior quarterback Cal Endicott and expanded the lead to 49-3.

In the final scoring drive by the Lakers, redshirt freshman running back Armani Moreno took over the drive on the ground and rushed for 38 yards that led to the final touchdown of the game, capped off by another successful extra point kick by Kralapp that led to the final score of 56-3.

Heading into the matchup, GVSU averaged 38.6 points per game while holding their opponent’s scoring average to just 11.7 points – both of which were topped.

Peterson finished with 133 yards (11-18 passing, 59 rushing yards) and a touchdown while Reid led the ground game with 63 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jordan Johnson grabbed two passes that garnered 59 yards followed by Provencher’s 54 yards.

The defense was monstrous once more, only allowing 128 passing yards and a mere 47 rushing yards.

With the defense preventing just about every attempt by the Wildcats and scoring from both the Laker offense and special teams, Peterson said these sorts of efforts are what create a positive culture.

“Everyone can have their pop-out game whenever,” Peterson said. “It’s a balanced run-pass on offense (and) it’s incredible. We got something special brewing and the culture is going really good right now.”

GVSU’s next match is on the road against Michigan Tech University Saturday, Oct. 29 and will kick off at 1 p.m as they hope to continue defending their undefeated season.

“It’s important that we keep going,” Peterson said. “(We’re) really happy with this win.. (we) look forward to getting in on Sunday, learning from this game, (watching) tape on Monday and figuring out what’s going on for the next game.”