The Panthers scored three seconds into the fourth to go up 31-27, but the lead lasted just about two minutes.
Jason Vander Laan turned on his clutch-mode and sprinted into the endzone from 24-yards out to put Ferris up 33-31 after Mitch Bredberg missed his second extra point of the afternoon.
Nick McKnight was able to scamper in on a pass from Miller with 8:55 to play to put ODU up 37-33, and they went for two and converted on it to go up 39-33.
Vander Laan threw a ball that was tipped over the middle with 7:30 to play, and it was picked off by Cameron Kohl, who rushed to the Ferris 42 before being forced out of bounds.
The Dawgs were called for roughing the kicker as they were attempting to recover a punt, which gave the Panthers new life with 5:30 to play in regulation and a first down.
Daryl Johnson scored on a 29-yard touchdown reception with 4:35 to play which burned the Bulldogs, putting them down 46-33 as a result of the roughing the kicker penalty.
With 2:42 to go, Vander Laan lobbed a pass to the endzone that was nearly picked off if not for Ferris receiver Shakur Sanders who knocked the ball out of the defensive back’s hands.
Ferris was forced to burn a timeout with 2:16 to play which meant Ferris had to recover an onside kick if they scored in order to have a chance to win.
The Bulldogs were unable to score when Jason Vander Laan threw an interception on the goal line to Colten Skinner which effectively ended the ball game.
Vander Laan’s interception was his second of the day. The Ferris defense gave up 462 yards and four touchdowns to Panthers QB Mark Miller.
The score held at 46-33, and the Bulldogs finished their season 11-1 overall. The Panthers will play the winners of the Angelo State and CSU-Pueblo game on December 6.
The Bulldogs received the ball to start the half and squandered a chance to put the Panthers behind them even further.
After failing to convert on a fourth and one later in the third, the Bulldogs stopped the Panthers on the ensuing drive and received the ball.
Vander Laan electrified the crowd with a 42 rush to the Panthers 12-yard line, and finished it off with a second fade to Kenny Feyh to put Ferris up 27-24.
At the end of the quarter, JT McFarland made a circus catch to put the Panthers on the one yard-line as the quarter came to a close.
Panther QB Mark Miller had 347 passing yards through three quarters of play, and Bulldog QB Vander Laan had 106 yards on the ground.
The Bulldogs stuffed the Panthers and opened the 2nd quarter with a bang, when Dante Ingraham ran back a punt to the endzone for a 67-yard punt return touchdown to put Ferris up 13-7.
Ingraham narrowly dodged a first tackler at the Ferris 33-yard line, before side stepping two more as he crossed the 50 yard line. Ingraham tiptoed down the sideline for the last 25-yards as he split two defenders on his way to the endzone.
Panther kicker Brent Wahle made a 25-yard field goal with 6:27 to go in the first half to cut the Ferris lead to 13-10.
With 3:34 left in the second quarter, Panthers QB Mark Miller found Dez Stewart in the endzone from eight yards out to put ODU up 17-13.
The Dominican pass rush kept Vander Laan running for his life in the first half, which slowed the Bulldog offensive attack.
Jason Vander Laan turned and lobbed a pass to 6 foot 6 receiver Kenny Feyh in the corner of the endzone with 10 seconds to play in the first half. Feyh was blanketed in coverage, but managed to come down with the ball and put the Bulldogs up 20-17 at the half.
At halftime, Vander Laan had 107 passing yards on 6-11 throwing and two touchdowns. Vander Laan also led the Dawgs with 67 rushing yards.
ODU quarterback Mark Miller finished the half 19-27 through the air for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Schoen had 38 rushing yards to lead the Panthers.
The Panthers came out quickly and put the Bulldogs in a 7-0 hole 3:20 into the 1st quarter when Nick McKnight found the endzone on a throw from Panther QB Mark Miller.
The Bulldogs answered two minutes later when Jason Vander Laan dropped back and found Phil Annese over the middle for a 57-yard passing touchdown.
Vander Laan was hit late after the throw and drew a roughing the passer penalty on the play. Vander Laan’s ability to stay in the pocket knowing he was about to get hit led to a great over the middle throw to Annese.
The extra point attempt was blocked, and the Bulldogs remained down 7-6.
With 3:55 left in the first, the Panthers had a field goal attempt from 31 yards out. Brent Wahle was kicking into a stiff wind, and popped the kick up in the air. The ball seemed to hang up in the air before dropping harmlessly falling a yard short of the upright, leaving the score at 7-6.
Vander Laan threw an interception to end the first quarter, and the Panthers retained possession from the Ferris 25-yard line to open the second.
The sun peeked over the top of Wheeler Pavilion at Top Taggart Field, melting the snowbanks on the outside of the field.
An NCAA playoff game between the Ferris State Bulldogs and the Ohio Dominican Panthers is set for a 12:00 p.m. kickoff in Big Rapids.
A small crowd of Panther faithful face the press box, while about 200 Ferris fans and the pep band braved the chilling temperatures of an early Big Rapids winter.
Redshirt freshman running back Jahaan Brown will not dress for this playoff game, he rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in their last meeting back on Oct. 18 in a 34-19 victory in Columbus Ohio.
Senior receiver Jake Lampman remains sidelined with an undisclosed upper body injury. Lampman has not dressed since the Sep. 20 game against Grand Valley State.
Follow here for live blog updates.