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Ferris State wins 1st ever football Division II national championship

The Bulldogs dominated Valdosta State Saturday 58-17.
Credit: AP
Ferris State running back Tyler Minor (7) leaps over Valdosta State defensive back Sean Colman (27) in the first half of the Division II championship NCAA college football game against Valdosta State in McKinney, Texas, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Emil Lippe)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It turns out the hardest part about Saturday's Division II National Championship game for Ferris State was the wait. 

It took them three years to get McKinney, Texas, and then when it became apparent Valdosta State stood no chance of winning, the Bulldogs had to wait an additional 30 minutes of action before celebrating. 

But oh, what a celebration it was.

FSU capped off a perfect 14-0 season, giving them their first ever football championship. 

"It feels great. As a coach you do it for young people. When young people can thrive like this, it's just incredible," Ferris State head coach Tony Annese told ESPN.

The one-two punch of quarterbacks Mylik Mitchell and Jared Bernhardt led the way in Ferris State's 58-17 win. Mitchell threw for 122 yards and scored one touchdown while Bernhardt had three rushing scores, finishing with 148 yards on the ground. 

"We played really hard. The kids have been amazing all year," said Annese.

An ankle injury to Bernhardt in the first quarter was about the only drama that this game provided. Soon after, the Blazers went up 17-13. However, their field goal with 2:47 left to play in the period was the last time they would score. Bernhardt would return for an early second quarter touchdown and by the end of the first half with a score of 41-17, it was obvious who would be claiming victory. 

For the Bulldogs, this was sweet revenge as they had lost in the championship game in 2018 to the very same Blazers. However, they showed restraint against their opponent late in the fourth, opting not to score another touchdown which would have broke the record for most points in the Division II national title game record set by Delta 21 years ago with 63. 

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