After a narrow victory against Saginaw Valley, Ferris came out and dominated Davenport on homecoming with a 38-0 victory.
Ferris began the game on the defensive side of the football, where they established their defensive presence immediately, forcing Davenport to go three-and-out.
“Everybody up front played phenomenal,” senior linebacker Liam Daly said. “We had a lot of opportunities to make tackles.”
The Bulldogs’ first offensive play from scrimmage energized to the homecoming crowd, Top Taggart’s largest of the year. Starting quarterback sophomore Mylik Mitchell found junior receiver Marcus Taylor on a back shoulder throw to pick up 30 yards. However, Ferris was forced to punt after stalling on the drive.
The next six drives of the contest combined for five punts, one turnover on downs and an average of 17.8 yards per drive for both teams.
“The game was totally different than I anticipated,” head coach Tony Annese said. “We tried to run the ball early with little success.”
With just over three minutes remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard thanks to a 3-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Marvin Campbell.
From there, the Bulldogs grasped the momentum. After forcing a Davenport three-and-out, the offense put together a quick drive to reach the redzone with under one minute to go in the half. Junior quarterback Evan Cummins found freshman receiver Tyrese Hunt-Thompson to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead before halftime.
“That was the key possession,” Annese said of the touchdown before half. “It was critically important.”
Late in the third quarter, Cummins found junior receiver Brandon Childress for a 28-yard touchdown pass.
The Panthers tried to get something going offensively in the third quarter, but strong defense from Ferris kept Davenport off the scoreboard.
“We have a lot of experience in the defensive front,” Annese said. “I loved our fight.”
Hunt-Thompson scored his second touchdown of the game on an end-around early in the fourth quarter, giving Ferris a 28-0 lead.
“We practiced that play a lot,” Hunt-Thompson said. “Marcus (Taylor) made a great block for me. I give it up to my teammates for trusting me and allowing me to make the play.”
Mitchell later returned to the contest in the fourth quarter and led a 40-yard touchdown drive. He connected with junior running back Jeremy Burrell for Ferris’s fifth touchdown of the afternoon.
“Mylik did a lot of good things,” Annese said on the starting quarterback’s performance. “It was a great performance and I’m real proud of him.”
Ferris’s defense dominated the game from start to finish. The Bulldogs held the Panthers to 163 yards of total offense, allowing an average of three yards per play and only three third down conversions on 15 attempts throughout the game. Daly led the team with eight tackles and the team recorded two sacks.
Daly said his team wanted to record a shutout, and credited their ability to keep Davenport from capitalizing.
The Bulldogs finished with 475 yards of offense, 332 yards coming in the passing game. Mitchell paced the team with 194 yards in the air while senior running back Tyler Minor led Ferris with 48 rushing yards. Taylor finished with 101 receiving yards on eight catches and Hunt-Thompson gained 81 yards on four catches. While they did not reach their average of 273.3 yards rushing per game from the first three games, Coach Annese believes the game’s flow dictated the change in game plan.
“I tell our guys that our offense is built to take what the defense gives us,” Annese said. “Today, they gave us the pass and we were able to make some big plays.”
After commiting seven turnovers against Saginaw Valley, Annese was glad to see his team commit no turnovers against Davenport.
“Taking care of the ball is obviously critically important,” Annese said. “Our penalty yardage was way down. Sometimes you must internalize the mistakes you’re making and own those circumstances.”
The Bulldogs will begin a three-game stretch on the road Sat., Oct. 2, where they will face Northwood University in Midland. For tickets or information on Ferris State Football, visit the “Football” tab on ferrisstatebulldogs.com.