ALLENDALE, Mich. -- The Ferris State Bulldogs are on to the NCAA Division II Football Championship Semifinals after a 47-32 road victory at top-seeded Grand Valley State. It marks the second-ever appearance in the national semifinals as the Bulldogs were awarded the Super Region Four Championship following the contest.
Ferris State is now one of four teams remaining joined by No. 1 Northwest Missouri State, No. 2 Shepherd and No. 3 North Alabama. Ferris State will be the No. 4 seed after being reseeded following quarterfinal action. The Bulldogs will travel to Northwest Missouri State next Saturday, December 10th for the national semifinals.
The contest got off to an unexpected start as Ferris State jumped on the scoreboard midway through the first quarter thanks to an errant Grand Valley State snap on a punt as the ball proceeded to go out of the back of the endzone to give FSU a 2-0 edge. After a Reggie Bell 9-yard TD rush and a Wyatt Ford 25-yard field goal, the Bulldogs held a 12-0 lead with 9:22 remaining in the first half. However, the Lakers stormed back with a Joel Schipper 37-yard field goal and a Marty Carter 48-yard touchdown scamper gave Ferris State a 12-10 advantage heading into the break.
In the second half, Ferris State relied on senior quarterback Trevor Bermingham's four rushing touchdowns (2, 19, 2, 5) to orchestrate an offensive attack that racked up 465 yards of total offense. FSU withstood a late GVSU comeback when Laker wide receiver Nick Dodson caught a 20-yard TD pass from Bart Williams to trim the Bulldog lead to 40-32 with 1:05 to play. On the ensuing onside attempt, KC Zenner cut in front of the bouncing ball and took it 56 yards to paydirt and the Super Region Four title.
Ferris State converted on 7-of-14 third down attempts, while holding Grand Valley State to 6-of-16 third down efficiency. Both teams recovered two fumbles but it was the Bulldog defensive line who controlled the action recording six sacks on the day, including GLIAC Defensive Lineman of the Year Zach Sieler's 3.5 sacks for 23 yards and Nick Huckabay's 10 tackles to anchor the FSU defense.
The Bulldogs rushed for 275 yards on 59 attempts with three players (Jahaan Brown, Trevor Bermingham, Reggie Bell) carrying the ball 15 times or more. Malik Williams caught five passes for Ferris State to the tune of 132 yards, while his counterpart GVSU wideout Nick Dodson racked up 11 catches for 162 yards and two scores. FSU started the day with Reggie Bell under center before Trevor Bermingham strategically took over duties to finish with 163 yards passing on 9-of-11 attempts to go with 15 rushes for 51 yards and four touchdowns. GVSU quarterback Bart Williams went 23-for-40 to total 310 yards and three TDs. GVSU running back Marty Carter had a big day once again toting the ball 18 times for 163 yards and a score.