Nov. 23, 2013
ALLENDALE, Mich. - For the second straight week, the Grand Valley State football team was on the winning end against its rival, Saginaw Valley State, although this time it was in the NCAA Division II Playoffs. The Lakers put the rout on, downing the Cardinals 40-7 in Lubbers Stadium on Saturday (Nov. 23) afternoon.
The victory sends GVSU to the second round of the playoffs, where the team will face Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday (Nov. 30) at a time to be determined in Pueblo, Colo.
The forecast called for wind and snow and the weatherman proved to be correct as the kickoff temp was 21 degrees with wind out of the Northwest at 23 mph. SVSU won the toss and elected to take the second half kickoff so the Lakers would get the ball to start the game, but they would be heading directly into the wind. GVSU went three-and-out and following a 10 yard punt the Cardinals took over on the GVSU 35 yard line. The GVSU defense forced a field goal attempt and the 51 yard attempt went wide left allowing GVSU to take over on its 34 yard line. Following a second three-and-out for the Laker offense SVSU drove into Laker territory once again, but junior DB Deonte Hurst picked off a Jonathon Jennings pass on the GVSU 12 yard line. The Lakers drove 88 yards in seven plays, with the big play being a 53 yard jaunt to paydirt by WR Brandan Green on a reverse to give GVSU a 6-0 lead.
"Obviously getting that early lead was key and what made it bigger was we got defensive stops inside out 35 and then scored going into the wind," said fourth-year head coach Matt Mitchell.
Following a Cardinal three-and-out and a 61 yard punt, GVSU took over possession on its own 13 yard line. Junior RB Chris Robinson tallied a 34 yard run to get the Lakers into good field position and junior QB Heath Parling hit Green with a key 10 yard pass completion on third-and-seven to keep the drive alive. The drive stalled, but freshman place kicker Joel Schipper hit a 35 yard field with the wind and GVSU led 9-0.
Saginaw drove to the Laker 12 yard line with a 14-play, 66-yard drive, but the GVSu held and forced yet another field goal attempt. Stanford's kick from 29 yards went wide left again and the Lakers took over on their own 20. The GVSU offense wasted little time, moving 80 yards in five plays for a score. Parling hit junior WR Keonte Miskel with a 17 yard pass and catch, followed by consecutive completions of 13 and 23 yards to junior WR Darryl Pitts. Parling concluded the drive with a pass to junior RB Chris Robinson out of the backfield that he took 27 yards for the touchdown. Schipper added the PAT for a 16-0 halftime lead for the Lakers.
Saginaw Valley State drove 36 yards in eight plays on its opening drive of the second half, but the GVSU defense held the Cardinals on a third and three and a fourth and one at the Laker 35 yard line.
"It was big to get that touchdown late in the first half and build a two-score lead," said Mitchell. "We knew our defense would be put under stress in the second half, but we came up big with that fourth down stop," added Mitchell.
The Laker defense flipped field position and sophomore tight end Jamie Potts, who was punting for the injured Chris Picano, dropped a 55 yard punt out of bounds at the Cardinal seven. Following a SVSU punt, GVSU drove 36 yards in 11 plays as Schipper connected on a 27 yard field goal to give GVSU a 19-0 lead with 3:17 left in the third quarter.
Parling continued to move the Laker offense, driving GVSU 66 yards in nine plays for a score. Parling hit Pitts with completions of 19 and 17 yards, the second going for a TD and a 26-0 GVSU lead. Saginaw Valley State scored its only points on a Jennings to Mike Albrecht 41-yard pass and catch.
SVSU turned the ball over and Parling took advantage quickly, hitting Green with a 20-yard TD pass. Jenning then tossed his third pick of the day as senior LB Jordan Kaufman stepped in front of a hurried throw and returned it 32 yards to the SVSU 30. The Cardinals were called for personal foul on the play, advancing the ball to the 15. Four runs by Robinson moved the ball to the Cardinal two and junior QB Isiah Grimes hit senior WR Billy Seiler with a TD pass and the final points in the 40-7 win.
Saginaw Valley State entered the game averaging 40.5 points and 492 yards of total offense. The Lakers limited SVSU to seven points and 307 total yards on 60 plays. The GLIAC Player of the Year, Jonathon Jennings completed just 13-of-28 passes for 156 yards and one TD, while tossing three picks. The GLIAC Back of the Year, WR Jeff Janis, caught five passes for 31 yards. SVSU was also just 3-for-13 in third down conversions. Hurst led the defense with 12 tackles, a pick, a pass breakup and a QB hurry, while Isiah Dunning added 10 tackles, a TFL and a QB sack. Kaufman and senior safety Erik Thompson each added seven stops. GVSU tallied four tackles for loss and two QB sacks.
The GVSU offense put up 405 yards of total offense, 198 on the ground and 207 via the pass. Robinson rushed for 120 yards on 24 carries, while sophomore RB Kirk Spencer added 46 yards on eight carries. Pitts caught five passes for 82 yards and a score, while Green hauled in four passes for 50 yards. Parling completed 15-of-27 passes for 205 yards and three TDs.
GVSU improved to 19-2 at Lubbers Stadium in NCAA DII Playoff action and 4-0 versus Saginaw Valley State.