GV football finishes home record undefeated in regular season


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Anthony Clark Jr., Sports Editor

Grand Valley State University’s football team dismantled Wayne State University 42-14 in their last home game of the regular season to defend their current undefeated record (10-0).

The Nov. 5 matchup was the second time the Lakers faced the Warriors as the first meeting was in Detroit and resulted in a win for GVSU (48-9). In this game, however, wind conditions were a significant factor in the overall pace of the game.

The opening drive was a slow and steady effort by the Lakers as it would eventually result in a forced punt.

Six plays and 18 yards later, WSU saw itself punting the ball back to GVSU with just over 10 minutes left in the quarter. The Lakers didn’t waste their opportunity this time as their offense couldn’t be contained.

GVSU saw an effort from several players as sophomore quarterback Avery Moore (14-yard rush), junior quarterback Cade Peterson (30-yard pass to senior tight end Jayk Slager), junior running back Tariq Reid (12-yard rush) and another five-yard run by Peterson set up the Lakers at the WSU eight- yard line.

The two-minute, 45-second drive (69 yards) was finally capped off by an eight-yard run from sophomore wide receiver Kyle Nott to put the Lakers on the board first.

With the ball back in their possession, the Warriors looked to knot up the score with a successful drive of their own. 

GVSU looked as if they would expand on their momentum after sophomore defensive back Nyzier Fourqurean picked off a pass attempt by WSU, but the celebration would soon be cut short as a holding penalty on senior linebacker Damon Wesley saved the opponent’s possession.

Even with the extra opportunity, the possession would prove to be fruitless as the Warriors ultimately were forced to punt once again after five plays.

The Lakers ran down the remainder of the game clock as the start of the second saw GVSU in a third and two situation at the WSU 39- yard line, only to end up as a forced punt after a six-yard loss on the third down conversion. 

Five failed possessions later (three WSU, two GVSU) dwindled the game clock down to just 43 seconds as the Lakers started the final possession of the half at their own 20-yard line.

Situations like this don’t necessarily produce results for the most part, but Peterson’s well-versed leadership came in handy once more.

With an explosive 52-yard rush, Peterson set up the Lakers at the Warrior’s 28-yard line and a timeout to stop the game clock that read 31 seconds. 

A completed pass by Peterson to sophomore wide receiver Cody Tierney for 15 yards and an offsides penalty by the WSU defense pushed the chains forward to the opponent’s five-yard line.

Two downs later, Peterson was able to scamper wide left, stiff-armed a WSU defender to the turf and dove forward to knock the pylon marker down to secure a second touchdown for the Lakers and resulting in a 14-0 lead going into the break.

“The score by Cade before the half was a huge boost for us,” said head coach Matt Mitchell. “It separated us a little more from them (Wayne State) and allowed us to come out of the break with a little more energy.”

The Warriors began the second half with possession after a solid kickoff by sophomore kicker Kollin Kralapp pinned the opponent on their own seven-yard line. A double-duo sack effort by junior and senior defensive linemen Seth Hoonhorst and Nate Umlor for a loss of seven yards put the Warriors just two yards from their own endzone.

WSU would be forced to punt as the possession ended in a three-and-out, but the poor kick gave the Lakers solid field position as their drive began at the WSU 38. 

GVSU’s third touchdown of the game would spring from this possession as Moore rushed for eight yards and another huge 30-yard passing touchdown from Peterson to Tierney put the Lakers up three scores to none with 12 and a half minutes left to play in the third.

Facing another potential failed possession, the Warriors went all in on a fourth-and-three situation only to be jammed up by the Laker defensive line and forcing a turnover on downs.

Three plays later and a fourth and one situation, Moore saved the possession on a quarterback keep on three yards and allowed GVSU to get a fresh set of downs. Peterson capitalized once again with a 10-yard pass to senior wide receiver Jacob Miller and a 23-yard rushing touchdown by the quarterback put GVSU up 28-0.

The Warriors’ second three-and-out possession led to another touchdown by the Lakers as this time Peterson connected with sophomore tight end Gavin Cossou for a 10-yard pass that rounded out the third quarter.

“Scoring 21 unanswered points in the third really showcased our depth of this roster,” Mitchell said. “It’s always good to see guys in deeper rotations to contribute to wins.”

The fourth quarter was all about the Lakers once again as they held their opponent scoreless up until just under seven minutes.

Although too little too late, WSU finally found the endzone after a 13-yard rush with 6:26 left to go, and would later follow it up after a punt by GVSU with a 20-yard passing touchdown just under two minutes left in the game to make the score 42-14 and ultimately run out the final ticks on the game clock.

Overall, the Lakers amassed 365 offensive yards while allowing 212 by the Warriors. Although there were more passing yards (193) than rushing (172), Peterson believed the running game was influential for the pace of the game overall.

“Our run game was strong and created opportunities for us all game,” Peterson said. “Overall, it was another strong win by the team.”

Peterson led the team as he logged 273 total yards (182 passing, 91 rushing) with two touchdowns. Reid finished with 45 yards on 11 carries that led to one touchdown as Nott scored on three attempts and 11 yards gained.

Tierney (87) and Slager (30) led the receiving yards as Tierney and Cossou would be the only two wideouts to contribute a touchdown.

On the defensive side, the Lakers saw 14 players record an individual tackle (junior defensive back Cole Patritto three total) while 25 Lakers logged an assisted tackle. In sacks, sophomore defensive lineman Jack Gilchrist, junior defensive end Colton Hyble and Wesley had an individual sack with assisted sacks from six other Lakers.

“When our offense and defense is clicking, we know we can win games,” Mitchell said. “In our last three games, we’ve converted all of our redzone possessions. We will have to carry that (mentality) into our next game at Davenport.”

With their fifth and final win at home (5-0) and one game away from finishing undefeated entirely, the Lakers are already locked in preparation for their final regular-season game against Davenport University (8-1) on the road – an opponent they managed to shut out last season 42-0 in their only matchup.

“It’s always a week-long process,” Peterson said. “It starts on Monday and leads all the way up to kickoff on game days. Show up and be ready, just like it has been all season.”

The game is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12 in Caledonia with kickoff at 12 p.m.