GAME NINE RECAP:
FERRIS STATE 19, NORTHWOOD 13
Late Score Lifts Bulldogs To Another Close Win
Junior quarterback Kyle Parrish hooked up with redshirt freshman receiver Mike Ryan on a 50-yard touchdown pass with only 28 seconds left in regulation to lift the Ferris State University football team to a narrow 19-13 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) victory over the Northwood Timberwolves Saturday (Oct. 25) afternoon at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich.
The Bulldogs drove 68 yards on three plays in 42 seconds for the winning score after Northwood's Pat Sijan missed a potential game-winning 49-yard field goal try for the Timberwolves with 1:10 remaining. After back-to-back completions to senior receiver Cole Meredith and redshirt freshman slot David Freeman of six and 12 yards, respectively, Ryan was able to beat the Northwood defense down the left sideline on the third play of the drive for the TD reception from Parrish.
The win gave Ferris its fifth victory of the year in five games decided by seven points or less. FSU improved to 6-3 overall and 5-3 in league play with the triumph while Northwood dropped to 2-6 both overall and in the GLIAC this campaign. The crowd of 1,633 fans braved chilly and drizzly conditions for much of the game as FSU celebrated Reunion Day by honoring its first-ever unbeaten team from the 1968 season.
Northwood took the initial lead of the game on its first drive as quarterback Spencer Klukowski scampered in from 26-yards out with 12:03 left in the first frame to cap a six-play drive covering 60 yards. Ferris answered soon after as senior kicker Jim Yates booted a 24-yard field goal with 9:08 remaining in the opening period after a 59-yard march on six plays.
The Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the afternoon with 2:19 to go in the first quarter on senior back Paris Holloman's two-yard scoring burst to finish off an 80-yard drive that took six plays.
The Timberwolves, though, battled back to take a 13-10 halftime advantage on a pair of 27-yard field goals from Sijan. The first came at 12:19 of the second period with the second coming with only 3:04 left in the half. Both Northwood scoring drives took 57 yards and the second one chewed up seven minutes and nine seconds of action.
Ferris scored the only points of the third quarter on a 24-yard Yates field goal with 9:43 left, which tied the contest at 13 points apiece. The third-quarter field goal was set up on a fumbled punt return that was covered by FSU safety Santino Favot at the Northwood 16-yard line. The Bulldogs could not reach the end zone, going only nine yards in seven plays before the field goal and the tie score lasted until Ryan's TD reception in the final minute.
The Bulldogs held a slim 339 to 324 edge in total offensive yards with 117 coming on the ground and 222 in the air. Redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider started the contest and completed six-of-eight passes for 104 yards before giving way to Parrish. He was nine-of-20 passing for 118 yards in the game, but was sacked twice.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves' option offense ran for 230 yards on 46 carries with Klukowski running for a game-high 91 yards on 12 attempts before leaving the game in the second half with an injury. Northwood was limited to 94 passing yards on nine-of-16 attempts.
Holloman ran for a team-high 77 yards on 10 carries for the Bulldogs and Meredith caught four passes for 36 yards. Ryan added three catches for 73 yards and finished with 132 all-purpose yards.
Defensively, senior All-American Jake Visser paced Ferris with 11 stops, including five solo hits, and added an eight-yard sack in addition to 1.5 tackles for loss resulting in minus nine yards. Senior outside linebacker Jeff Hollandsworth also had 11 tackles and senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe contributed 10 tackles and a forced fumble.
The Timberwolves lost two fumbles in the game and were only three-of-13 on third down while the Bulldogs did not have any turnovers and converted five-of-15 third down attempts.
The Bulldogs, who wrapped up a two-game homestand with the win, will visit Hillsdale for their final regular-season road game of the season next Saturday (Nov. 1). Kickoff for the league game is set for 2:30 p.m. (EDT) at HC's Muddy Waters Stadium in Hillsdale, Mich.