Close call for Spartans

E-Bulldogs hold tough against #16 Spartans, lose 23-17

Spartan Stadium has seen many upsets recently; and a visit from the Bulldogs nearly resulted in another. 

Halfback Tyler Minor scores Ferris State’s first Division I touchdown. Photo by: Brendan Sanders | Sports Editor

Ferris State played its first of five in-state college football games, going toe to toe with the Michigan State Spartans. After a loss to Wyoming the previous week, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Bulldogs struggled against the home team. Yet, the Bulldogs hung with the Big 10 team through all four quarters. 

Michigan State attacked early, driving inside the Bulldog RedZone before having to settle for a field goal. The Bulldogs would string together a few first downs before Campbell would throw his first interception of the afternoon on a 3rd and ten play from the Spartan 40-yard line. Luckily, the defense would hold, forcing a three and out on the Spartans.   

Both teams would trade punts to end the first quarter, with the Bulldogs hanging tough 3-0 against the heavily favored Michigan State Spartans. 

Disaster would nearly strike in the second quarter when Campbell was hurt on a fourth-down conversion that put the Bulldogs in field goal territory; Travis Russell would replace him. Russell would get the Bulldogs close enough for a field goal try, which was converted to tie the game at 3-3.   

Both offenses would struggle before Cody White returned Sy Barnett’s punt 27 yards, putting the Spartans in plus territory. Soon Brian Lewerke would find Tre Mosley for a 31-yard touchdown pass, putting the Spartans up 10-3. 

Omari McCauley would earn Lewerke’s first interception of the season as time wound down in the first half. This gave the Bulldogs an opportunity in Michigan State territory. But it was not to be, as Campbell would throw his second interception of the game. 

Michigan State would complete a hail mary, but it was just short of the goal line, keeping the score at a surprising 10-3 at the half. 

The Spartans would receive the second half kick and go to work immediately, with a 22-yard scramble by Lewerke putting the Spartans inside the Bulldog 40. But Lewerke would once again make a mistake, seeing a deep pass intercepted by Najeem Hosein. 

After Campbell would be injured again, Russell would spark the Bulldogs offense with a 21-yard run putting the Bulldogs in the red zone. Running back Tyler Minor would punch it in from two yards out to tie the game 10-10.   

Elijah Collins would put the Spartans on his back on the next drive, breaking away with a 31-yard run before making an 8-yard reception to put the Spartans in field goal range. He then would catch a 14-yard pass to walk into the endzone to get Michigan State to a 17-10 lead. 

Campbell would re-enter the game, immediately breaking away with a 22-yard carry, putting the Bulldogs at midfield. Multiple completions later and the Bulldogs were within field goal range. On 4th and 12, the Bulldogs shocked many by going for it, but it paid off, with Campbell hitting wide receiver Xavier Wade for a 22-yard touchdown pass. The game was tied late in the 3rd quarter at 17. 

In the fourth, Lewerke went deep, hitting Julian Barnett for a 39-yard completion. He would then connect with Cody White for a 27-yard reception to put the Spartans inside the Ferris 10-yard line. The Bulldogs would stiffen, with a field goal being the best the Spartans  could muster. The score read at 20-17. 

Omari Mccauley would once again make a heroic play for the Bulldogs with another interception on Lewerke, giving the Bulldogs a shot with 5:30 left in the game. They would not be able to take advantage, punting Michigan State, who would kick another field goal to go up 23-17 with 2:59 left in the game. A touchdown would win for the Bulldogs. A touchdown would not come. 

The Bulldogs would punt on what would be their final offensive drive, with Michigan State running out the clock to escape with the win 23-17.