Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football squad relied on its defense Saturday (Oct. 7) as the Bulldogs posted a hard-fought 13-3 triumph over visiting Tiffin in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
The two squads, who both entered the game with a single loss on the season, battled to a 3-3 deadlock in the opening frame before the Bulldogs finally got into the endzone and added a field goal in the third period to account for the final margin.
With the win, Ferris State improved to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC this season while TU fell to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
The Dragons struck first in the opening quarter when Joseph Metcalf converted a 22-yard field goal to finish a 14-play, 83-yard drive that stalled in the redzone. That would be the only points the Dragons' potent offense would score as the FSU defense held them off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Ferris State put together several offensive drives that ended in Dragons' territory in the first half, but could not put points on the board until senior kicker Wyatt Ford converted a 27-yard field goal with 3:29 left in the second quarter to cap a 15-play, 76-yard Bulldog march.
After the halftime deadlock, the Bulldogs stopped Tiffin on the first drive of the second half and finally found the endzone when sophomore quarterback Travis Russell hooked up with senior tailback Jahaan Brown on a 34-yard scoring play with 11:24 left in the third. It finished an eight-play, 55-yard FSU drive.
The Bulldogs would later add another 27-yard field goal from Ford with 6:48 remaining in the third following a 10-play, 59-yard jaunt to account for the final margin.
Ferris State totaled 376 yards of total offense, which included 147 on the ground and 229 in the air. Meanwhile, Tiffin finished with 289 total yards, but managed only 40 rushing yards on 29 attempts against the FSU defense. The Bulldogs also sacked TU's Nick Watson three times and intercepted a pass in the game.
Russell completed 14-of-34 throws for 229 yards and a TD for FSU with Brown running for a squad-high 86 yards on 17 carries. Wideout Malik Taylor hauled in a team-high five catches for 82 yards while Keyondre Craig also had nine receptions for 66 yards.
Watson led Tiffin by completing 22-of-44 passes for 249 yards. JaQuan Hardy had 19 carries for 50 yards while Tony Shead Jr. posted seven receptions for 76 yards.
Defensively, the Bulldogs were led by senior linebacker Nick Huckabay's team-high 12 stops, which included 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. Senior Terrell Porter made nine stops while senior K.C. Zenner had eight tackles in the win. All-America end Zach Sieler finished with 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Ferris State hits the road for its lone contest away from home in the month of October next week as FSU visits Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Oct. 14) for a 3 p.m. (ET) league tilt in University Center, Mich. The Bulldogs then return home the following week on Oct. 21 to host rival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic at Top Taggart Field.