Last night in the second of two football games that I attended the Grand Valley State Lakers just ran down the Northern Michigan Wildcats. They ran for over three hundred yards as a team for the second straight game.The announced crowd was over 12,000 in a stadium that seats just under 9,000. People seemed to be everywhere to celebrate the 50th anniversary homecoming. Most of the free space in the stadium was claimed. We picked a hill near the Laker entrance to watch the game. Michigan State’s star basketball player Alyssa DeHaan was even in attendance sitting on the hill with us. Grand Valley really does a good job of putting on a show with the small school resources that they have. They have a nice stadium, and try to keep the fans in the game. This was quite a change from what we saw earlier in the day at Valparaiso. As you can see in the above picture of Laker quarterback Kyle McMahon the team came out in retro uniforms to honor the 50th anniversary of the school. I made fun of them at first for the color choice, but as the game wore on I liked them much better than the normal all black uniforms.
At the start I thought that we were going to see another 50+ point game. Grand Valley scored easily on their first three possessions, and thought that they had a fourth straight. A suspicious pass interference call in the end zone negated a great catch for a touchdown. Looking through my pictures of the play it looked as if both players went up for the ball at the same time. Penalties pushed the Lakers back, and they ended up missing a field goal. The normal quick strike passing game that I am used to seeing Grand Valley run was replaced by a read option offense. I guess Grand Valley saw a weakness and exploited it.
At the half Grand Valley was still up 21-0. They had great field position to start the half when Northern Michigan fumbled away the opening kickoff. A couple of plays later though Laker quarterback Kyle McMahon threw an interception at the goal line that ended the drive. The Laker offense really seemed to stall in the second half. Except for a sixty yard touchdown drive they really were kept in check. Northern Michigan seemed determined to stop the run. The Wildcats would score a touchdown to bring the score to 21-7, but Grand Valleys defense would not allow them any closer. The defense which I heard was the weak spot of the Lakers really seemed to rise up to the challenge when they needed to. They made big plays to stop threats. The picture above is of a key sack in the first half that killed a Wildcat drive. If the defense had broken on one of the key plays this game could have changed dramatically.
I had a great time watching the game last night. Both teams were playing real physical with bodies flying everywhere. Northern Michigan had their starting quarterback knocked out of the game. They also had a scary moment with one of their receivers early on. He was hit hard enough that he just fell to the ground. It looked like he was knocked out, but he came into play the next series so I guess he was not. It was a hard fought win by the Lakers. Northern Michigan came out trying to put Grand Valley in the hospital. The Lakers responded with some physical play of their own, and we were treated to a hit fest.