Yesterday we made the trip up to Big Rapids to see #1 Grand Valley State take on the Ferris State Bulldogs. As we got closer to Top Taggart Field the rain really started to pick up. We got to Ferris fairly early, and were able to park right in front of the stadium. After reading a little on the game we knew that there was a tailgate being put on by the Ferris State Athletic Department so we went looking for it to stay out of the rain for a while. What we found was a nice little spread waiting for us inside a tent. We were able to stay dry for a little while before going into the stadium.
Once inside the stadium the rain started to pick up so the parkas were put on. Rain is okay if you are watching a game on grass. Seeing the players fight through the conditions is actually pretty fun to see. On turf though it just makes everything a little harder. One thing I noticed right away was the fact that Ferris State has a canon like we used to have at Purdue. The only trouble on the day was that they did not have many opportunities to fire it. It had to be a boring day over there. We walked around the track to the visitors side and found some nice seats on the forty yard line. Very quickly the visitors side filled up. Grand Valley brought a lot of fans to the game. It was a short road trip though so I guess you would expect that. I would guess that the Lakers had close to as many fans as Ferris did. Speaking of attendance I know that it was raining, but they only managed to get 3,256 into the stadium for the game. This was supposed to be a huge game for them, but they did not seem to show up for it. It is probably a good thing though seeing what happened. I don’t usually dwell on the band, but they really had trouble keeping together. They were laughable the entire game. The only thing that could top that was the fake crowd noises that crackled over the public address system.
Grand Valley came out firing in the first half. They took the ball down the field and scored on their first possession chewing up some clock in the process. The 13 play 95 yard drive took just under eight minutes. You could almost see how the game was going to go right there. They seemed to be able to do whatever they wanted to on offense. I had not seen FSU play yet this season, but I heard about how great their front seven was on defense. Grand Valley really seemed to get the better of them. Playing just over a half Laker QB Kyle McMahon had 182 yards passing with one touchdown to go along with 64 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground. He really looked in control on the field yesterday. On the day seven GVSU players carried the ball for 242 yards. On the flip side Ferris had trouble moving the ball. They only had 105 offensive yards in the first half. Ferris quarterback Tom Schneider was harrased constantly, and sacked three time on the day. He was eventually knocked out of the game late in the first half on a hard hit by Nick Lawrence. Backup quarterback Michael Buday did not have much better luck getting sacked three times himself. The Lakers just seemed too fast for Ferris State. By the time the first half was over the Lakers held a 24-0 lead, and looked very good doing it.
When the second half started it was like we started a new day. The rain stopped and the sun came out. It actually turned into a perfect day. Once the game started back up though it was more of the same. Grand Valley marched right down the field and scored on a nice run by quarterback Kyle McMahon to make the score 31-0. This was the last time we would see most of the first team offense for the rest of the game. Heath Parling came into the game to quarterback the Lakers and looked fairly good doing it. One highlight late in the game was running back Hersey Jackson’s huge hit on a Ferris State defender during a Parling keeper. The hit happened right in front of us, and you could hear it very well. The reaction by the crowd as well as the Grand Valley players let you know how nice it was. The Lakers came to play. Charles Hill also kept the crowd entertained during the game. When the rain was really coming down he was standing by the Grand Valley bench looking up into it and singing. He was always having some kind of fun and even interacting with the crowd. He really seems to enjoy playing the game, and that is what it is all about.
I know I have said it before, but it bears repeating. The Lakers were dominant yesterday. They racked up over 500 yards of total offense while only allowing 118. To show how good they really were they only allowed 13 offensive yards in the second half. Not too bad considering a lot of that time second team players were in there. Ferris State did not cross mid field until just before the half. That was the drive that they lost their starting quarterback though so it was a costly drive for them. Justin Victor led the Lakers with 9 tackles on the day. Brandon Allen had 2.5 sacks on the day along with 3.5 tackles for loss. Ferris had some stars on defense too. Tayo Moss led the Bulldogs with 13 tackles on the day. Fellow linebacker Matt Ryan added 11 tackles. Bulldog defensive back William Miles picked off a McMahon pass in the end zone to stop a Laker drive early in the game. Other than that though it was a rough day for Ferris. Both the first and second stingers for Grand Valley had a good day. I thought that the Lakers were the better team, but never imagined a 41-0 shellacking when I left home.
After the game we used the autograph day promotion to walk on the field. We watched Chris Crawford interviewed on the radio as well as watched the Ferris State players interact with their families. It was really cool to see the players in full uniform heading out to the parking lots to the tailgate scene. We did not stick around to see what came of that, but I would love to see them partying in full pads. We left to get something to eat where we ran into the people we sat next to all game. What are the odds of that? After dinner we saw the Ferris State hockey game against Ohio State. I will have more on that tomorrow along with some more pictures from the football game.