What can you do in 77 seconds? You could wash some dishes. You could do an insufficient job of brushing your teeth. You could download some music, send some text messages or make your bed. You could also orchestrate one of the most thrilling come-from-behind wins in Laker football history. What GVSU did in the last 77 seconds relied on a lot things to go right, and a lot of things to go wrong. What happened at Lubbers Stadium last night was an instant classic witnessed by 11,637 hearty fans.
So you’re up one on Grand Valley with a minute and a half to go in the fourth quarter, on the road, you’ve got possesion, momentum and the clock on your side. You can see the light and you’re so close you can taste it. You can barely stand it. You’re anxious to make a statement and put points on the board. You decide to go against logic and don’t burn the clock. You drive right down the field and give the ball to Joe Glendening (who’s already scored two rushing TD’s and compiled over 200 yards so far for the night) for a seven yard touchdown run. And just like that, you’ve built a seven point lead. Your crowd and sideline are hysterical. You figure kick the field goal to go up eight, so GVSU will have to go the distance, score a TD AND get a 2-point conversion to tie. Keeping in mind, you will have left them only 1:17 to do so.
Here’s where your nightmare starts.
The Laker’s Luther Ware breaks through the line and blocks your PAT. He scoops up the loose ball and runs clear for a defensive 2-point conversion. Your lead is now only five with little over a minute remaining and the home crowd is back in it. Here’s where you’re second decisive coaching directive comes into play. Instead of kicking it off deep to make the boys in black go the length of the field, you gamble. You want the ball back. You squib the kick which GVSU ends up recovering in great field position. The Lakers need to go only 53 yards to your endzone and have 1:01 in which to get it done. Now the crowd is roaring with hope and the home sideline believes they can work a miracle.
Laker QB Kyle McMahon drives his team right down the field and they now sit at your 8-yard line with 16 seconds remaining. You watch as McMahon sees Jovonne Augustus in the back of the endzone. McMahon floats a pass up and the 6′5″ WR toes the back of the endzone and comes down with the go-ahead score. In a dizzying amount of time, your 7-point lead has been erased, you’re down 42-41. Then Grand Valley’s QB calls his own number for the 2-point conversion and runs it in to make the score 44-41. Your fans and sideline are in silent shock. When you get the ball back, you call a timeout. Your final effort is a heaving pass down to the GVSU 19 yard line that is picked off by Erik Thompson. So close and yet so far, all at the same time. That’s what you can do with 77 seconds.
Folks, Hillsdale is for real and they have one heck of an offense. They came perilously close to taking us for the second year in a row. I’d be surprised if they don’t run-the-table the rest of the season and get a playoff birth. It’s a good bet we see them again in November for second year in a row.
The start of this season has seemed more like a playoff run than anything else. We’ve been treated to two wild, hard-fought matches with nationally ranked opponents. If this keeps up, the Laker faithful might aquire a collective cardiac arrest by season’s end.
Our third home game in a row is next Saturday, Sept. 18th against Indianapolis. We’ll see you there!