GV football adds ninth-straight win against Michigan Tech with offensive explosion


Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Brian Bloom, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University football team (9-0) defeated Michigan Tech University (3-6) this past weekend in yet another dominating win that finished 42-7. 

With the win, the team extended its winning streak to nine games straight, its longest since 2016. 

“We played a complete game in all three phases,” head coach Matt Mitchell said. “We did not turn the ball over and had a lot of explosive plays offensively. We were dominant defensively, aside from one drive, we played great shutout football. Special teams did a great job as well.”

Despite being short-handed offensively with sophomore wide receivers Jahdae Walker and Darrell Johnson sidelined due to injuries, GVSU got out of the blocks fast and never looked back. 

After the defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession by MT, the momentum swung in GVSU’s favor as junior running back Tariq Reid found the end zone from 14 yards away for his 13th touchdown of the season, giving the Lakers an early 7-0 advantage.

The next possession saw the Huskies punting away again, only this time pinning GVSU at their own four-yard line.

However, the tough field position didn’t phase the Lakers as junior quarterback Cade Peterson led the offense down the field in just ten plays, giving way for sophomore quarterback Avery Moore to waltz into the endzone from eight yards away to extend the Laker lead to 14-0 with 1:37 left to play in the opening quarter. 

Michigan Tech responded quickly this time as their senior quarterback made multiple big plays to set up a four-yard touchdown pass to one of their wideouts to cut the Laker lead to seven points.

GVSU’s offense continued its near-perfect start to the game, as Peterson again led the Lakers on a long drive, this time in nine plays on 70 yards that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown pass from Peterson to Reid to make the score 21-7. 

The Laker defense didn’t allow the Huskies to add to the scoreboard for the remainder of the half as they took their 14-point lead into the halftime break.

Wasting no time to start the second half, the GVSU offense kept rolling as Peterson completed passes to sophomore wide receivers Jaylon Tillman and Cody Tierney of 37 and 40 yards respectively. In a third-down situation from the Michigan Tech 11-yard line, Moore fired a pass to Tillman for a touchdown and extended the Laker lead to 28-7.

“The whole offense executed really well,” Peterson said. “(Our) stats were a lot better this game than in the past. Our guys made good, contested catches. I’m (also) really happy with how I played, it sets a new expectation for me going forward.”

The following GVSU offensive possession saw Peterson and company again backed up inside their own eight-yard line due to another punt that fell in favor of MT. However, Peterson expanded on his passing accuracy and outran the defensive line to position the offense deep in Husky territory and threatening to add more points to the scoreboard. 

After throwing his only incompletion of the day, Peterson responded with a connection to Tierney from 23 yards for his second touchdown of the game, making the score 35-7 as the game clock dwindled and the final quarter of the game began.

Yet another unsuccessful drive by MT would force them to punt again, which ultimately led to the Lakers scoring their final touchdown of the game which happened to be their quickest.

Peterson found Tillman for a 25-yard gain to put the offense at their own 49-yard line, and in the ensuing play, sophomore wide receiver Kyle Nott pounded the ball on the ground for a 51-yard scamper to add the final points of the game, 42-7.

The commanding defense shut down the Michigan Tech offense for the remainder of the game, and junior quarterback Cal Endicott closed out the game with a six-minute drive to run out the clock to secure the victory.

GVSU’s offense outplayed the Huskies’ 552 total yards to the opponent’s 167 yards, while possessing the ball for a total time of 38:21 of the 60-minute match.

“When we’re able to have the ball for that long, (the defense) gets out of their rhythm, it messes up what they want to do,” Tillman said. “It gives our defense a chance to rest and tires out their defense.”

Individually, Peterson had a career game, completing 18 of 19 passes for 304 yards while adding 64 more yards on the ground. Tillman had what could be the best game of his young career as he caught ten passes for 191 yards and added a touchdown. 

“Jaylon did a great job on contested throws,” Mitchell said. “Cade delivered the football well, he only had one incompletion, and Jaylon was on the receiving end of a lot of those passes.”

Tierney also added five catches for a career-high 106 yards and a touchdown to the win. 

In the run game, five Lakers recorded at least 20 rushing yards. Nott paced the group with 76 yards and a touchdown, while redshirt freshman Armani Moreno and Reid added 28 yards each with Reid adding two total touchdowns. Dual-threat quarterback Moore added 22 rushing yards of his own to go along with a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown.

Defensively, the unit continued its dominant season. Despite forcing zero turnovers, the defense only allowed a mere eight-total first downs and only 3.9 yards per play.

Mitchell said the team prides themselves on stopping teams on third or fourth down situations as the team capitalized on this all afternoon; allowing only two third-down conversions in ten attempts and stopping the Huskies’ offense twice on fourth down. 

“Defensively, we play a lot of man and make it tough for teams to throw it and pick up third downs,” Mitchell said.

Sophomore defensive back Nyzier Fourqueran led the unit with five tackles while a slew of Lakers added at a tackle for a loss; senior linebacker Damon Wesley, senior defensive back Anthony Humm, sophomore defensive lineman Jack Gilchrest, junior defensive lineman Johnanthony Lowery and redshirt freshman linebacker Anthony Cardamone (Cardamone only player to record a sack).

With two games left in the regular season and an already defeated opponent in Wayne State coming up next in Allendale, the Lakers will look to sweep the season series and defend their No. 1 position in the GLIAC and NCAA DII rankings.

“It’s hard to beat a team twice, but we need to flip the switch this week and focus on Wayne State,” Peterson said. “We have a lot of opportunities still ahead of us, but we can’t look too far ahead and overlook anyone.”

The game is set for Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3 p.m. at Lubbers Stadium.