Peter James - Writer and Columnist - GVFootball.com
So this is listed as a rivalry officially between the two schools and the rivalry even has its own trophy. It certainly was a rivalry in the 1990’s when the series was a close, hard-fought battle between Ferris and GV whom the Lakers edged 5-4-1 in that decade. Ferris actually brought something to the table in those days. I’m curious as to the health of the rivalry almost more than a decade later. As we noted in the preview Ferris hasn’t won a game in this rivalry since 1999. A lot has changed since that time and in a lot of ways.
It was a slightly chilled day Saturday with pesky intermittent rain showers throughout the morning and first half of the game. Despite the annoying conditions, a rather decent GVSU following showed up. However not quite as many students as I would have liked to see. As kickoff approached, it was apparent there was an evident apathy amongst the Ferris faithful. A home crowd that was far from being a sellout with hardly a sniff of an organized student section (on a campus with 12,000+ undergrads). The announced crowd was only 3,256 in a stadium of 5,000 total seats and plenty of open lawn area. The lead-up to the game hardly felt like a rivalry and what followed confirmed the suspicions.
Grand Valley started off the day with a drive that lasted almost eight minutes of the first quarter, ending with a four-yard touchdown run by QB Kyle McMahon. That drive set the stage for the rest of the day. A grinding, meticulous GVSU offense ground down the Bulldogs without much flash or fanfare. They just did their job and it showed. After forcing a Ferris three-and-out on the “Dawgs first posession, the Lakers took less than two minutes to drive down to the FSU red-zone and convert a Ryan Stokes field goal to make the lead 10-0. At the 7:03 mark of the 2nd quarter, Norman Shuford rushed up the middle for a one-yard scoring drive to grow the GVSU lead to 17-0. After forcing another Ferris punt, the road-warriors from Allendale put on their most explosive offensive show of the day to that point. McMahon found Jovonne Augustus for a deep, 55-yard touchdown pass. At the 2:13 mark of the 2nd quarter, it was now 24-0 Grand Valley, and the outcome was certainly stamped.
The game followed much of the same script in the second half, this time with a lot of the second string getting valuable playing time. By the time the clock hit 00:00, the Lakers had racked up 41 points, and had recorded their first shut-out win since 2008. The effort was a full-team achievement. All aspects of the game were executed as needed culminating in what many feel is the most complete game played to date by the Lakers. Let’s go over some of the notable game stats that really help tell the story of this win.
Grand Valley racked up 503 yards of offense on the day and held the Bulldogs to only 118 total, all-purpose yards. An even more shocking number was that Ferris was held to a frighteningly measly 29 yards of rushing. That means that the FSU passing attack was equally tepid, amassing less than 100 yards on the GVSU secondary. GVSU recorded 29 first downs, to only 9 for Ferris. GVSU only punted once in the game, compared to eight times for FSU. The Lakers had seven total red-zone scoring chances, converting on six of them. The Laker defense was in the face of the Ferris QB all day long, sacking him six times for a total loss of 41 yards. The Bulldogs on the other hand had ZERO, yes (0) red-zone scoring chances on the day, and despite having more than twenty three minutes of posession time. It doesn’t matter how long you have the ball, if you can’t move the chains, you won’t score!
How is this still a rivalry? Well, it’s a rivalry it appears in name only lately. Maybe down the road it will heat up again, but we will have to wait for that day to come for at least one more year. The photo below really sums up the rivalry from the past ten games between the schools.
The Lakers travel to their farthest location of the year next weekend, as they will take on the Huskies of Michigan Tech on the tundra of Sherman Field in Houghton, MI. The match-up looks to be a fun one, and we will see if the Techies can give the Lakers a challenge in the Keweenaw. CowboyEric and a small crew will be present with the camera at the game. Look for my preview later in the week.
Congrats again to the Lakers!