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Ferris State rallies to upset rival GVSU in Div. 2 quarterfinals

The Bulldogs advance to the national semifinals for the fourth straight year.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Ferris State used a second half rally to stun their rivals Grand Valley State, 24-21 at Lubbers Stadium. The win allows FSU to advance to the national semifinals for the fourth straight year. 

The Bulldogs trailed the Lakers 14-7 at halftime, and 21-14 in the fourth quarter before mounting a tough comeback. 

It was an awkward start for GVSU. They went three-and-out on their first possession of the game. Their ensuing punt was blocked by Ferris State junior Mason Pline. The Bulldogs recovered it at the three-yard line and Carson Gulker scored on the next play to make it a 7-0 game. 

Credit: WZZM
Redshirt freshmen quarterback Carson Gulker celebrates the first of his two rushing touchdowns in Ferris State's win over GVSU on December 3, 2022.

The Zeeland West product had two touchdowns on the ground in his first quarterfinal game.

Lakers backup quarterback Avery Moore had two rushing touchdowns as well, with both coming in the second quarter, giving GVSU their 7-point halftime lead.  

In the second half, head coach Tony Annese and Bulldogs offensive coordinator Steve Annese decided to let junior quarterback Mylik Mitchell loose and call more run plays for him. 

His 8-yard score tied the game 14-14 and was the lone third quarter score for either team. 

With both teams struggling to move the ball in the fourth quarter, it was the Lakers who made their biggest defensive play of the day. Mitchell was intercepted by Antonio Strong, and the senior from Grand Rapids Catholic Central returnd it 23 yards to the Bulldogs two-yard line. Tariq Reid scored on the next play to give GVSU a 21-14 lead with 12:04 left in regulation. 

Mitchell found some success with his arm on the next Ferris State drive. He converted two fourth down passes to move the chains and keep the Bulldog offense on the field. That led to Gulker's second score and a 21-21 tie. 

Mitchell ran for 87 yards in the game, with nearly half that total coming during the fourth quarter comeback. His 28-yard scamper with less than three minutes left led to the games biggest moment. Freshmen Eddie Jewett nailed the winning 18-yard field goal with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter. 

Senior defensive back Cyntell Williams sealed the game with an interception in the endzone with no time left on the clock and the celebration was on. 

With the win, the Bulldogs moved to 12-1 overall this year. They'll host West Florida on Saturday Dec. 10 at noon. 

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