After handing Ferris State their first conference loss of the season, the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals have taken control of the GLIAC.
Ferris State (3-2) struggled scoring early, and failed to stop Saginaw Valley’s (4-1) high-octane offensive attack on their way to a 31-28 homecoming loss at the hands of the Cardinals.
“We made some mistakes, we were so discouraged by the way we started,” Head Coach Tony Annese said. “At some point in time, chasing with that kind of deficit, the clock becomes the big enemy. All in all, we ran out of time.”
SVSU dominated the first half, putting the Bulldogs in a 10-0 hole in the first quarter on a field goal by Cardinal place kicker Scott Stanford which was followed by a one-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Jonathan Jennings. Ferris was not able to put any points on the board in the first quarter.
The Cardinals scored early in the second quarter on a 42-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by Saginaw Valley defensive back, Major Metcalf. The fumble was caused by a strip-sack by SVSU defensive end Will Schwarz, which put the game at 17-0 in favor of the Cardinals.
Saginaw Valley would score one more time in the first half on a one-yard goal line punch by Cardinal running back. Mark Mays.
Finding themselves in a 24-0 hole, Ferris State was able to score their first points of the game late in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman running back Kitwana Clark scampered in for a four-yard touchdown run, which put the score at 24-7 heading into half-time.
The Bulldogs came out of the locker room in the third quarter and were able to piece together a 15-play 75-yard scoring drive that at over seven minutes of clock. Ferris capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown connection between redshirt sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan and senior tight end, Jace Heneveld.
The touchdown put Ferris back into contention with the score remaining at 24-14 for the remainder of the third quarter.
Saginaw Valley added onto their lead in the fourth quarter as Cardinal tight end Andrew Dillon reached the end zone on a seven-yard pass from Jennings. SVSU’s passing mark put the matchup at 31-14, leaving Ferris less than ten minutes to mount a comeback.
Ferris did just that as the Bulldogs scored twice on the arm and legs of Vander Laan. The first score was a six-yard pass to slot receiver Phil Annese. This was followed by a two-yard touchdown run by the sophomore quarterback. The scores put Ferris within striking distance in the 31-28 matchup.
With the Bulldogs getting one last shot at a tie or win late in the fourth quarter, Saginaw Valley corner, DeAngelo Parris, picked off Vander Laan to seal the Cardinal’s victory.
Ferris saw breakout performance in their conference loss from Annese, who had 5 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown, and junior linebacker Darnell Morris, who tallied 17 tackles.
The Bulldogs also got solid defensive performances from sophomore defensive end Justin Zimmer and junior linebacker Terrell Porter. The tandem paired for 18 tackles, five of which were tackles for a loss, and two sacks.
“I think that really we just missed our assignments,” sophomore defensive end Justin Zimmer said. “The major thing was they had three big drives against us where we just couldn’t get off the field. We just let up too many big plays, really.”
Ferris State next faces off against rival Grand Valley State at home on Oct. 12th with kickoff at 7 pm.