Ferris State traveled to Fargo, N.D to take on the two-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State Bison, but were sent home with a 56-10 loss.
With a sold out crowd at the Fargodome on their side, it seemed as though NDSU was up before the coin toss dropped, as the Bison ran up the score to 21-0 in the first quarter in front of over 18,979 screaming fans.
Ferris struggled to move the ball early in the first quarter, as their first two drives stalled; both ending in punts. They also struggled to stall the Bison’s own offensive attack, led by quarterback Brock Jensen, as NDSU was able to piece together five scoring drives in the first half alone.
The Bulldogs found the end zone once before halftime as sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan helped Ferris march down the field into Bison territory. Vander Laan then connected on a pass to freshman wide receiver, Dewayne Boston, for a 19-yard score. The scoreboard read 35-7 as Ferris headed into the locker room for halftime.
Ferris was able to put three more points on the board after getting the ball to start the second half on the foot of senior kicker, Austin Kantola. The field goal would be the final time the Bulldogs would score the rest of the matchup.
The Bison continued to put points up as running backs Sam Ojuri and Chase Morlock found the end zone on the ground. As the clock ticked away the last five minutes of play, junior defensive back Zach Colvin picked off Ferris junior quarterback Taylor Masiewicz and returned the interception for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs away, 56-10.
In the end, Ferris finished the game with 343 total offensive yards to NDSU’s 426. The Bulldogs rushed for 228 yards against a Bison defense that only gave up 41 yards to Kansas State a week ago.
“We moved the ball rather well at times,” Vander Laan said. “We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot in certain situations. There’s a lot we can learn from this game, and that’s what’s most important.”
Vander Laan finished the game 7-14 for 59 yards with a touchdown and one interception through the air. Masiewicz finished almost identically, going 7-15 for 56 yards and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Vander Laan also led the team on the ground with 100 yards rushing on 18 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball University of Michigan transfer Marvin Robinson led the team with 10 tackles. Robinson also nabbed the only turnover for the Bulldogs on a diving interception off of a deflected pass. Junior corner A.J. McEwen also had eight tackles and a deflected pass.
“Overall, I thought it was a great experience for the Ferris State Bulldogs,” redshirt freshman running back Kitwana Clark, who had 46 yards rushing in the game, said. “To be able to play in that type of environment and experience the game at that level of play was good for us.”
Ferris will square off against Lake Erie College in their home opener on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Top Taggart Field.