Ferris State Season Comes To A Close In NCAA D2 Playoffs
|Game Statistics||Ferris State||Grand Valley State|
|Time of Poss.||30:16||29:44|
Postgame Press Conference
Allendale, Mich. - Two-Time defending NCAA Division II National Champion Ferris State had its 2023 campaign come to a close on Saturday (Nov. 18) as the Bulldogs fell to rival Grand Valley State in the NCAA Division II Playoffs by a 21-14 score at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale.
Ferris State was making its nation-leading ninth consecutive D2 Playoff berth, but unfortunately FSU's nine-game playoff winning streak dating back to 2021 was snapped in a tightly-contested defensive battle.
Grand Valley State took advantage of a Bulldog turnover in the early going to strike first with Tariq Reid reaching the endzone on a 14-yard carry to make it 7-0 only five minutes into the contest. From there, the two defenses limited opportunities for both offenses much of the first half before the Bulldogs finally knotted the game back up late in the first half with a lengthy nine-play, 73-yard jaunt. Senior quarterback Mylik Mitchell found junior wideout Tyrese Hunt-Thompson on a seven-yard scoring throw at the goal line to tie the game up 7-7 at the break.
The Bulldogs had a couple opportunities early in the third quarter to grab the lead, but could not produce points on either possession. The Lakers put together a seven-play, 69-yard drive and reached the endzone with only 49 seconds left in the period on Cade Peterson's 29-yard throw to Darrell Johnson, which gave the Lakers a 14-7 lead heading into the final period.
After a defensive stop, the Lakers then pushed the advantage to two scores when Peterson hooked up with Cody Tierney on the ensuing offensive play for a 72-yard TD throw, making it 21-7 with 12:47 left. The Bulldogs followed with a drive deep into GVSU territory before a fumble ended the potential threat.
Late in the game, the Bulldogs took advantage of a Grand Valley State miscue on special teams, recovering a blocked punt in the redzone. Carson Gulker found Xavier Wade on a six-yard TD throw with 18 seconds left to cut the deficit back to seven points and FSU recovered an onside kick and reached midfield, but time ran out.
Overall, the Lakers posted 271 yards of total offense to 261 for the Bulldogs. GVSU ran for 87 yards and threw for 184 while the numbers were similar for the Bulldogs with 79 yards rushing and 182 in the air. FSU finished five-of-17 on third down and one-of-two on fourth down with GVSU going five-of-15 on third down and zero-of-one on fourth down.
Individually, Mitchell completed 16-of-28 passes for 148 yards for the Bulldogs and ran for a team-high 34 yards on 12 attempts. Senior slot CJ Jefferson caught seven balls for 81 yards and Hunt-Thompson had four grabs for 54 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Sefa Saipaia led the FSU defense with 12 stops and Jason Williams had 10 tackles.
The Bulldogs finished the season with an 8-3 overall record and the contest closed the careers of a Bulldog senior class that helped produce back-to-back national championships in their collegiate career.