The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV clings to wild 57-49 victory over CSU Pueblo in double OT

GVL / Macayla Cramer

In a thriller for the ages, the #4 Grand Valley State University football team gutted out a seesaw win against the #20 Colorado State University Pueblo ThunderWolves, 57-49. The win gave GVSU head coach Scott Wooster his first career victory at the university.

From a pick-six, to a kickoff return for a touchdown, to eight touchdowns of 20 plus yards, and a third-string quarterback leading the Lakers to double-overtime victory in his first collegiate action, the best Hollywood screenwriters could not have written a script this riveting. 

The Lakers started off the game scoring touchdowns on five of their six first-half drives. Senior quarterback Cade Peterson was humming as he led the team in rushing with 61 yards and passing with 105 yards on 8/9 in the first half. He finished with 155 yards passing on the game after completing a 50-yard pass in the third quarter to senior wide receiver, Cody Tierney, before leaving the game with an injury. 

After the Lakers’ defense forced three straight three-and-outs to start the game, the offense put up a 21-0 lead including two rushing touchdowns by senior running back Tariq Reid, who finished the game with four touchdowns and 119 yards on 21 carries.

Pueblo’s senior QB, Chance Fuller, completed his first pass after an 0-5 to start and never looked back. Fuller followed it up by completing four straight and getting Pueblo into the endzone for their first score of the game with five minutes and forty seconds. This is where things got crazy.

WR Darrell Johnson returned the kickoff 60 yards, but to no avail, the first defensive stop of the game (and sack of the season) for CSUP came, forcing a 36-yard Josh Gorball field goal. The kick was blocked by Pueblo’s Josh McKaney, and caught by Eli Pittman who took it 72 yards for a touchdown. The longest block return in CSUP history.

The ThunderWolves were suddenly back in the game at 21-14. 

Johnson went right back on the ensuing kickoff with another monster return and moments later Peterson dropped a dime to Kyle Nott on a fade ball for a 27-yard touchdown to respond. The ThunderWolves answered as Fuller completed a 25-yard touchdown to Andrew Cook, moving the length of the field in under a minute, leaving less than a minute remaining in the half.

The one-sided race had become a track meet. After initially fumbling the ensuing kickoff, Lakers’ redshirt freshman WR, Kellen Reed, exploded, taking it 95 yards for a touchdown. GVSU went into halftime with a 35-21 lead.

Pueblo scored on a 32-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Zack Rackowski to make it a 35-28 game. With GVSU still leading, Peterson came out looking to answer. On a second down pass, ThunderWolves linebacker Makeah Scippio slung Peterson to the ground after the whistle for a sack. The crowd went silent as Peterson laid still, face-down on the field. Peterson would not return to the game and a personal foul was called on Scippio for a late hit.

After failing to score in the third quarter, Redshirt freshman Alex Thole, a 2022 Tarleton State University transfer, was beset with the task of taking over for the number four team in the nation in a one score ball game. Lakers’ backup QB Avery Moore did not dress due to an injury. 

Now, the Lakers needed their defense to step up. “Defensively I felt like when we needed them they were there,” Wooster said.

On the first play of the drive, with the ball at the 50-yard line, Fuller overthrew his receiver as Lakers’ defensive back Terez Reid ran under the ball for the only turnover of the game.

A few plays later Thole dropped back to pass and threw his own pick, directly to true freshman linebacker Gary Seidenberger, who ran it in 40 yards for a touchdown. After being down 21-0, the ultimate turn of momentum for GVSU after losing their star QB to injury, the game was now tied at 35 all. The team never gave up on Thole.

“(Following the pick-six) I saw a ton of dudes go up to Alex Thole and tell him, ‘hey we got your back,’” said senior linebacker Abe Swanson.

Turning to Tariq Reid to carry the load, he punched in the go-ahead TD for GVSU. With just under three minutes remaining, they needed a stop to win the game. Pueblo then drove 75 yards to tie the game. On fourth and four, Fuller hit his favorite target in Retzlaff for a touchdown over the middle as time expired, sending it to overtime.

The Lakers won the toss and deferred. Pueblo would start the overtime with the ball at the 25-yard line. Fuller immediately took a deep shot up the seam to running back Kiahn Martinez for a touchdown on first down. 

With Peterson still on the sideline, and the Lakers needing to respond to avoid the upset, Thole threw his own touchdown to Tierney on the Lakers first play of the possession.

“The response after that interception for a guy who hadn’t played college football was absolutely monstrous. Just shows what type of dude he is,” Wooster said.

The very next play Tariq Reid ran in his fourth touchdown of the game from the same spot after bouncing off of defenders and into the endzone. Back-to-back-to-back touchdowns had the score at 55-49, as Thole completed the two point conversion to junior tight end Drew Peterson to take a 57-49 lead. 

With a fourth down and three from the four yard line, Fuller’s pass was incomplete over the middle to CK Poulos, as the Lakers defense stood up to win in a thrilling victory.

The Lakers rose to the occasion when necessary and squeaked by Pueblo in an unforgettable matchup.

“That’s the definition of this brotherhood,” Tariq Reid said. “Offense might not have some good drives or the defense might not have some good drives, but at the right time we believe in each unit to get it done.” 

GVSU will take on Assumption University at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Allendale, Mich., as Lakers fans nervously wait to see if Peterson will be able to take the field.

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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism