Oct. 9, 2010
Allendale, Mich. - No. 1 ranked Grand Valley State claimed a 28-7 victory over Northern Michigan Saturday (Oct. 9) before a 50th Anniversary homecoming crowd of 12,307. The Lakers improve to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in GLIAC action, while the Wildcats fall to 3-3 overall and 3-2 in GLIAC action. GVSU will host Lake Erie College next Saturday (Oct. 16) at 7 p.m.
The Lakers started quickly, scoring on their first three drives of the night. GVSU took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards in eight plays as senior QB Kyle McMahon hit junior TE Andrew Lorman for a 9-yard TD pass. Senior PK Luke Briggs kicked the first of his four PATs on the night for a 7-0 Laker lead. Grand Valley State then drove 68 yards in nine plays for its second score of the night. Sophomore running back Norman Shuford concluded the 6:39 drive with a 4-yard TD run at the 4:38 mark of the first quarter. GVSU took over its third drive of game on its own 32 yard line and drove 68 yards in eight plays. Shuford tallied a 1-yard TD run to give the Lakers a 21-0 lead with 13:01 left in the first half.
GVSU drove inside the NMU 20 yard line midway through the second quarter, but was called for offensive pass interference on an apparent touchdown and then missed a 32 yard field goal. Norhtern Michigan moved the ball 62 yards in four plays to the GVSU 14 yard line and the Lakers were then called for pass interference and defensive holding penalties that gave the Wildcats the ball at the Laker 4-yard line. Junior LB Brad Howard tallied a tackle for loss (-6) and forced a fumble that went out of bounds on first down, while the Laker defense hurried NMU QB Carter Kopach on three straight passes that fell incomplete to keep the Wildcats off the score board.
"I felt like we really came out ready to play and it showed on our first three offensive drives," said first-year head coach Matt Mitchell. "Our defense also didn't allow Northern Michigan to sustain any offensive momentum on their first three possessions," added Mitchell.
GVSU had a chance to put the game away early in the second half as the Wildcats fumbled the opening kickoff and GVSU's Israel Woolfork recovered the ball on the NMU 16 yard line. However, McMahon was picked off by NMU's DJ Okie on the third down to thwart the drive. The Wildcats, playing without and injured Carter Kopach in the second half, drove 96 yards in 18 plays behind the direction of Jacob Hicks. RB John Privitelli went the final 17 yards for a TD and Rockne Belmonte added the PAT. GVSU was unable to get any offense going in the second half until midway through the fourth quarter when McMahon drove the Lakers 60 yards in 11 plays for a TD. Woolfork hauled in a 14-yard TD catch, the first TD reception of his career, at the 4:29 mark to seal the win and give GVSU a 28-7 lead.
"Northern Michigan is a good football team that plays physical," said Mitchell. "That was one of the more physical games we have played this season and I am proud that our football team withstood the physical nature of the game and came out with the win."
GVSU went over the 300 yard rushing mark for the second straight game, toting the ball 49 times for 312 yards and three TDs. Sherrod led the way with 109 yards on 13 carries, while Shuford toted the ball 11 times for a career-high 83 yards. McMahon added 66 yards on 13 carries and Michael Ratay finished the game with 40 yards on seven carries. McMahon completed 9-of-16 passes for 83 yards and a TD, while junior WR Greg Gay caught five passes for 62 yards.
Defensively, senior LB Justin Victor led the way with nine tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Senior DE Nick Lawrence chipped in seven stops, a TFL (-4) and two pass deflections. Junior CB Chris Huley, freshman safety Erik Thompson and junior LB Zach Breen each chipped in six stops. Breen tallied 2.5 TFL (-14) and 2.0 QB sacks (-14). GVSU limited NMU to just 101 rushing yards and 140 passing yards.