Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team overcame a 21-point first half deficit to stun defending NCAA Division II National Runner-Up Wayne State in a 35-24 victory on Saturday (Oct. 27) afternoon at Adams Field in Detroit.
The win was the Bulldogs' second-straight and assured themselves of a winning campaign as they improved to 6-3 overall and 5-3 in the GLIAC.
The Warriors jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the second period after scoring on three touchdown runs from tailback Toney Davis. All three scores came following costly Bulldog fumbles.
WSU scored first as the Warriors used the short field following FSU's first fumble to take an early 7-0 lead with 2:26 left in the opening frame on Davis' six-yard scoring run that capped a 37-yard drive in seven plays.
The Bulldogs drove to the Wayne State four-yard line after the Warriors' score, but another fumble by the Bulldogs allowed WSU to move 96 yards in four plays before Davis capped the drive with another six-yard run to make it 14-00 with 12:12 left in the half.
Then, only a minute later, Wayne State reached paydirt again when Davis found the endzone from seven-yards out to finish a 53-yard jaunt in three plays setup after FSU's third offensive turnover.
From that point forward, however, the Bulldogs battled back. FSU reached the endzone for the first time with 5:40 left in the half as redshirt freshman quarterback Jason Vander Laan engineered a 68-yard march in 12 plays before finding tight end Cody DeWitt on a five-yard scoring pass to cut the lead to 21-7.
After a big defensive stop that included a key third down sack from senior linebacker Mike Elias, the offense took advantage of a short punt and moved 36 yards in only five plays before tailback Korey Ringer plunged in from four-yards out to make it 21-14 at the break.
The second half then belonged to the Bulldogs. FSU tied up the game with 7:22 left in the third on a five-yard run from Vander Laan to finish a 14-play drive covering 64 yards.
FSU took its first lead of the afternoon with 4:17 remaining in the third when Dwayne Williams wrapped up a 43-yard march with a four-yard scoring run on the seventh play of the drive to give the Bulldogs a 28-21 edge.
Wayne State managed to cut the FSU lead back to four points at 28-24 when Stefan Terleckyj connected on a 26-yard field goal with only 20 seconds left in the third quarter following a 66-yard Warrior drive.
However, the Bulldogs answered back with the final score of the game with 12:11 left in the fourth stanza as Vander Laan scored for the second time from eight-yards away to finish an eight-play, 71-yard drive.
Ferris State was able to seal the victory by running out the clock late in the game on the final possession.
Overall, the Bulldogs rolled up 484 total yards, including 409 on the ground on 70 carries. Vander Laan had another big afternoon as he ran 37 times for a personal career-high 244 yards and two TD's. Williams added 59 yards on nine carries for FSU in the victory.
Additionally, Vander Laan completed eight-of-10 passes for 75 yards and a score. Three receptions were made by senior Skyler Stoker for 25 yards while sophomore Jake Lampman had two grabs for 32 yards.
Wayne State managed 302 total offensive yards with 248 on the ground and 54 in the air. Davis led the Warriors with 139 yards and three scores on 22 rushes while Desmond Martin had 121 yards on three carries. Quarterback Mickey Mohner was five-of-14 for 54 yards, but was sacked four times by the FSU defense.
Senior defensive end Jordan Morgan paced the Bulldogs with eight tackles while three others had six stops each. Ed Viverette had a game-high 17 tackles in the loss for the Warriors, who fell to 5-3 overall.
Ferris State will be back at home to host the Northwood Timberwolves in the regular-season home finale next Saturday, Nov. 3, at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET) for the Senior and Kids Day game.
Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more information. They can also be bought online at StarTickets.com and fans can save $2 per ticket by purchasing in advance.