Battle on the homefront

Bulldogs cap off Homecoming week with a win

The Bulldogs defeated the SVSU Cardinals 35-18 at Top Taggart Field last Saturday during Homecoming.
The Bulldogs defeated the SVSU Cardinals 35-18 at Top Taggart Field last Saturday during Homecoming. Photo by Katie Tobak
The atmosphere was electric on Homecoming Day as the boys in the crimson and yellow blew by the Saginaw Valley Cardinals at home.
Ferris State improved their record to 3-0 winning by a score of 35-18; however, the visiting team was the first to score.
Saginaw Valley junior Brad Odeman Jr. connected with redshirt freshman Marq Johnson for 26 yards on the first Cardinal possession but the Dawgs came up big on special teams by blocking the extra point, which they also did later in the first half and returned for two points.
The Bulldogs came back in the subsequent drive and scored as senior Jake Lampman scored on an outside run in the redzone on fourth down to tie the game.
Ferris State owned the rest of the second half with their usual high-paced, slashing offense going into half-time leading 29-12.
Neither team could score on their first few possessions of the second half. Saginaw came out stout against the spread run offense of Ferris State.
“They switched up their defensive front a lot, going from a 4-man front to a 3-man front which put a lot of pressure on us,” head coach Tony Annese said. “You got to hand it to them [Saginaw Valley]. They came out and played us tough.”
The home team was stout as well not allowing the visitors into Bulldog territory more than a few times and only allowing 73 yards rushing on the day.
The Bulldogs were first to strike in the second half on a four play 49-yard possession. Junior Jamel Lockett got loose for a 40-yard pass to the nine from last week’s National Player of The Week, Jason Vander Laan. A few plays later, Jamel Lockett appropriately finished off the drive with a tough catch where he was hit hard into the endzone.
The last score of the game was by Saginaw Valley after Ferris State found themselves in fourth and 49 from inside their own five where they had a punt blocked. It was picked up by a Cardinal after a scramble.
Jason Vander Laan had been taken out at that point of the game, but once the Cardinals gained that momentum, the Ferris coaching staff made the decision to put him back in on the subsequent drive.
With four minutes left, putting Vander Laan in proved to be wise as he converted a fourth down run on a drive that would ice the game.
As usual, it was a backfield by committee for the Bulldogs with Vander Laan leading the way on the ground with 88 yards rushing. He also threw for two touchdowns and 220 yards.
The wealth was definitely spread through the air as well as both Jamel Lockett and sophomore Jajaun Pollock had short touchdown catches with 91 and 31 yards receiving respectively. Both were mixed into the rush game. Senior Antonio Agurs led the team in receptions with seven.
Senior defensive back David Churchwell led the Ferris defense with 10 tackles.
Ferris State looks to continue its stroll through the GLIAC next week against the undefeated Oilers of Findlay University.
Findlay seeks to be the next Ohio school to knock off Ferris State recently. Ohio Dominican defeated the Bulldogs in playoff action last year, ending an undefeated run.
It’ll be difficult for the Oilers as they are facing a team that has more than enough firepower to match up.
Causing a lot of the smoke, Jason Vander Laan is closing in on the all-time NCAA rushing yardage record for a quarterback.
“I’m not really focused on the individual accolades. Those are going to come. The people playing around me are who allow me to do what I do so I go where they go,” said Vander Laan.
The Bulldogs will look to improve to 4-0 on the road this Saturday at 12 p.m. in Findlay, Ohio.