Big Rapids, Mich. - Standout senior quarterback Reggie Bell ran for 216 yards on the ground and accounted for five touchdowns in leading nationally 2nd-ranked Ferris State University to a decisive 48-27 season-opening road triumph over the Findlay Oilers on Saturday (Sept. 9) at Donnell Stadium in Findlay, Ohio.
Bell accounted for more than 400 yards as FSU rolled up 653 total yards, including 413 on the ground, in topping the Oilers for the third-straight year in Ohio. With the win, Ferris State also stayed unbeaten at 9-0 in games played in the Buckeye State during the tenure of head coach Tony Annese.
FSU built a 31-13 halftime lead and stretched the margin to 38-13 early in the second half while cruising to the victory.
Along with Bell's performance, junior wideout Malik Taylor had five catches for 103 yards and a score. Meanwhile, the FSU defense forced two turnovers and sacked Findlay QB Rhys Gervais twice in the win.
Between the two teams, the contest featured 32 penalties with more than 300 total yards as a result.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on their opening drive as Bell raced 85 yards untouched for the game's initial score only 35 seconds into the contest.
However, Findlay drove 77 yards in seven plays to pull within point on the ensuing drive when Rhys Gervais hooked up with Jason Moore for a 19-yard scoring play.
The Bulldogs answered late in the first period when Bell scored his second TD on a 10-yard keeper to finish a six-play, 82-yard jaunt. FSU then added an early second quarter score on a 22-yard field goal from senior kicker Wyatt Ford, capping a 14-play, 70-yard march.
Findlay scored another first half touchdown when Gervais connected with Andrew Ogletree on a 20-yard scoring play, which concluded lengthy 93-yard drive and tirmmed teh FSU lead to 17-13 with 6:42 to play in the half.
Ferris State, though, came up with two additional first half scores in the final six and a half minutes. Bell followed up the Oiler score by tossing a 56-yard scoring strike to Taylor. Then, after an interception, Bell scored from five yards out as the Bulldogs needed to move only 46 yards in 11 plays to increase their lead to 31-13 at half.
FSU started the second half strong as Bell scored his final TD on a 41-yard run less than six minutes into the third quarter.
Moore caught his second of three scoring passes to cut the Bulldogs edge to 38-20 at the end of three on a 19-yard toss from Gervais. The scoring play wrapped up a 10-play, 59-yard march.
The Bulldogs scored 10 additional points in the fourth period to put the game out of reach as Ford drilled a 31-yard field goal and Jevon Shaw added a 40-yard burst to the endzone with 3:25 remaining in the game.
The Oilers finished out the scoring by driving 42 yards in four plays before Moore hauled in his third 19-yard TD reception with less than two minutes to play.
Overall, the Bulldogs had 17 first downs in the game and finished seven-of-13 on third down along with four-of-four in the red zone. Findlay was limited to 338 total yards with only 104 yards rushing against the FSU defense.
Along with Taylor, FSU's Keyondre Craig had five catches for 66 yards to help the Bulldog cause. Moore paced the Oilers with nine grabs for 125 yards while Daouda Sylla ran for a team-high 78 yards on nine carries. Gervais finished 18-of-27 in the air for 215 yards and three touchdowns.
For Ferris State, Bell added 206 yards passing by completing 14-of-21 throws in the win.
Ferris State will host the Northern Michigan Wildcats in its 2017 home opener next Saturday, Sept. 16, at Top Taggart Field. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office. Call 231-591-2888 for more information or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.