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 Football takes huge 55-14 victory in Battle of the Valleys

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

Grand Valley State University’s football team came out with a huge 55-14 victory over Saginaw Valley State University in the “Battle of the Valleys.” The in-state Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference (GLIAC) rivals faced off this Saturday, Sept. 30 at Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium in Saginaw, Mich. coming off of a bye week for the Lakers. 

GVSU’s run game has continued to dominate opposing defenses week in and week out. The Lakers ran for a net total of 248 yards, relaxing the job of their star quarterback Cade Peterson. Peterson’s night was solid, throwing for 156 yards on seven completions. The Lakers’ head coach Scott Wooster saw a terrific outing in all facets of the game.

“A completely dominant performance by the defense,” said Wooster. “Just the complete synergy between all three units.”

The Lakers struck first with a one-yard touchdown, punched in by redshirt freshman running back, Khalil Eichelberger, after a 46-yard passing touchdown to junior tight end Gavin Cossou who was called back on a holding penalty earlier in the drive.

GVSU would get the ball back with five minutes left in the first quarter before Josh Gorball knocked in a 38-yard field goal to take a 10-0 at the end of the first. 

The Lakers kept a quick tempo on their first drive of the second quarter with Peterson finding wide receiver Donovan Johnson for a 38-yard completion to put GVSU in the redzone. From SVSU’s 12-yard line, Peterson would then connect with Cossou for a touchdown, giving the Lakers a 17-0 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the half. 

GVSU’s next possession resulted in a pick-six, giving the Cardinals their first score of the game to draw closer at 17-7.

The Laker offense responded quickly after nine plays, pushing them to the red zone in the final moments of the half. Gorball hit another field goal, this time from 36 yards, giving GVSU a 20-7 lead entering halftime.

SVSU started the half with the ball but was intercepted by GVSU defensive back Ian Kennelly at the Lakers’ twenty-yard line. The Laker’s offense, however, was slow to start the second half and stalled out on the ensuing drive. The Cardinals then scored a three-yard rushing touchdown late into the third quarter, shortening the Lakers’ lead to 20-14. 

For a moment, SVSU appeared to be back in the game, but GVSU wide receiver and star kick returner Kellen Reed had other plans. Reed exploded for a 94-yard kick return touchdown, fueling GVSU’s domination over the next 18 minutes of regulation.

“The guys did an unbelievable job setting that return up. Some absolutely incredible blocks,” Wooster said. “He’s a football player that has track speed. He’s a football player that people bounce off of. He’s tough, he can see things. His growth and maturity will be exciting.” 

Reed was named the GLIAC conference special teams player of the week in week three and will likely make a case for the title in week four.

“He’s (Reed) the definition of a big play guy. He’s got speed unlike I’ve ever seen,” Peterson said.

The Cardinals were down 27-14 with three minutes left in the third quarter before a punt would lead to another touchdown, this time returned by GVSU wide receiver Darell Johnson, increasing SVSU’s deficit to 34-14 heading into the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been really working on punt returns. It’s something that early in the season had cost us and now it’s becoming not just a break even, but a weapon for us,” Wooster said.

SVSU’s next possession went no better with a fumble recovery by GVSU defensive lineman Colton Hybel after linebacker Tommy Barnett forced it on a sack.

“When your defense plays like that you’re going to win games,” Peterson said. 

GVSU found themselves in the red zone once again, this time finding running back Syone Usma-Harper for a two-yard run, giving the visiting Lakers a 41-14 lead early into the final quarter. 

SVSU failed to make any adjustments before a 44-yard pick-six by GVSU defensive back Luke McClean pushed the lead to 48-14. Which Wooster said was “a completely dominant performance by the defense.” 

GVSU scored another rushing touchdown in their next position, this time from 87 yards out for wide receiver Kyle Nott. The Lakers finished the game with an impressive 55-14 victory. 

Despite GVSU having a below-average performance passing the football, it did not matter on Sept. 30. In their current three-game win streak, no defense has had an answer for the unstoppable Laker offense when it is in full force. With two touchdowns on special teams plays and an unbreakable defense down the stretch, GVSU showed no signs of slowing down. 

“I don’t think this team is very touchable, we can handle a lot of adversity,” said GVSU linebacker Abe Swanson. 

The Lakers improved to 3-1 on the season following their bye week and will invite Kentucky State University to Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich. on Saturday, Oct. 7.

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