Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team will keep the Anchor-Bone Trophy for another year after a thrilling 54-44 win over archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic on Saturday (Oct. 12) night before nearly 5,000 fans under rainy conditions at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.
The win over the Lakers lifted the Bulldogs to a 4-2 overall record and a 4-1 mark in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play in addition to being FSU's second-straight win in the rivalry matchup.
It marks the first time since 1994-95 in which the Bulldogs have beat GVSU in back-to-back seasons and only the sixth victory all-time over the Lakers at Top Taggart Field, including the first since 1995.
Ferris State trailed 23-20 with 3:15 to play in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs responded with three-straight scores to surge in front.
The Lakers scored first to start the game at the 7:07 mark of the opening frame when Joel Schipper connected on a 24-yard field goal after the Lakers had drove 52 yards in 14 plays.
FSU responded to tie the game up at three points apiece after one quarter when senior kicker Austin Kantola connected on a 27-yard field goal to finish a nine-play, 67-yard Bulldog drive.
Ferris State took its first lead of the game early in the second period by driving 68 yards in six plays with sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan capping the drive with a 22-yard scoring toss to Dewayne Boston in the endzone.
The Lakers, though, answered when Kirk Spencer scampered in from 27-yards out to finish a short five-play, 39-yard drive that started off a Bulldog turnover.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 17-10 edge at halftime as Vander Laan scored from eight-yards away with 2:10 to play in the half as the Bulldogs moved 72 yards in seven plays.
However, GVSU scored first in the second half when Brandan Green found the endzone from 19-yards out. The extra point was no good as the Bulldogs held onto a slim 17-16 edge.
FSU's pushed the lead to four points with 3:28 left in the third on Kantola's 22-yard field goal that was the result of a 10-play, 63-yard drive.
But, the Lakers quickly answered as Spencer ran the ensuing kickoff back 100 yards for a score to give GVSU a 23-20 edge.
From there, the Bulldogs took control. FSU marched 81 yards in five plays with senior back Korey Ringer finishing the drive with a 33-yard scoring run to put the Bulldogs in front for good at 27-23 after three quarters.
The two teams combined for seven touchdowns in a wild fourth quarter as the Bulldogs held onto the lead for the victory. FSU started the frame with a 10-play, 77-yard drive capped by Vander Laan's 11-yard TD toss to Jake Lampman.
The defense then came up with a big play as senior cornerback James Stewart picked off a tipped pass and raced 62 yards back to the house to push the lead to 40-23 with 8:44 remaining.
GVSU struck back to pull within 10 on a 68-yard pass from Heath Parling to Brandan Green, but after a failed onside kick attempt the Bulldogs used the short field to find the endzone on a 35-yard scoring run from Ringer.
The Lakers used a long kickoff return to pull back within 10 points with 4:20 left on Michael Ratay's one-yard run, but FSU again responded with a four-play, 45-yard drive that Vander Laan finished with a 27-yard scoring run.
Grand Valley State accounted for the final scoring as the Lakers moved 35 yards in four plays before Parling found Darryl Pitts on an 18-yard TD pass with two minutes to play.
Ferris State rolled up 583 yards of total offense, including 465 on the ground on 57 carries. Vander Laan ran for 210 yards and two scores on 27 tries while Jamaal Jackson had 13 carries for 91 yards and Ringer added six carries for 77 yards and two scores.
The Bulldogs' 465 yards rushing established a new school single-game record, topping the 457 yards the Bulldogs recorded a year ago at GVSU.
Vander Laan threw for 118 yards and two TD's on nine-of-16 passing with Lampman making six grabs for 76 yards.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were paced by Darnell Morris' team-high nine stops.
Grand Valley State posted 340 yards of total offense as the Lakers were held to 131 yards rushing on 35 tries. Ratay ran for a team-best 81 yards and a score. Meanwhile, GVSU's Parling completed 14-of-28 throws for 209 yards and two scores with Green making five grabs for 113 yards. Deonte' Hurst led the Lakers with 10 tackles on the defensive side as GVSU fell to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the GLIAC.
Ferris State is back on the road the next two weeks as the Bulldogs visit Hillsdale next Saturday (Oct. 19) followed by a trip to Michigan Tech the following week (Oct. 26). Kickoff against the Chargers next week is set for 2:30 p.m. (ET) in Hillsdale, Mich.