Story and photo courtesy of Grand Valley State Athletics
HILLSDALE, Mich. - #23 Grand Valley State picked up a key GLIAC road win Saturday afternoon at #24 Hillsdale College, defeating the Chargers by a 42-23 margin. The Lakers, who are now 7-2 overall and 6-2 in GLIAC action, will host Wayne State next Saturday (Nov. 3) in the regular season home finale. Hillsdale falls to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in GLIAC action.
Hillsdale College started strong, taking the opening kickoff 75 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown. QB Anthony Mifsud hit TE Kegan Smith with a 26-yard TD pass for the score, but the PAT was wide left. The drive took 6:39 off the clock.
Grand Valley State took the ball on its opening possession inside the Hillsdale 1-yard line, but a fumble by TE Jaime Potts, when he appeared to be down, was recovered by the Chargers in the end zone for a touchback.
However, the Laker defense forced a three-and-out and the offense took over on its own 44-yard line. The Lakers moved quickly down the field and freshman RB Kirk Spencer finished the drive with a 21-yard TD run. Marco Iaderosa added the PAT for a 7-6 GVSU lead.
"Our defense came up with a key stop after we fumbled the ball on our opening possession and the offense kept rolling to get us a lead," said third-year coach Matt Mitchell.
Following a Hillsdale punt midway through the second quarter, Spencer concluded a 10-play, 67-drive with a 4-yard TD run. Iaderosa added his second PAT of the day to give GVSU a 14-6 lead.
Hillsdale College answered with a 9-play, 74-yard scoring drive that culminated with Collin McGreevy 19-yard field goal. Hillsdale had a first-and-goal, but the Laker defense forced the field goal, keyed by a tackle for loss by freshman safety Brad Horling.
"That was a big stop by our defense and we left our offense enough time to put together a scoring drive before the end of the first half," added Mitchell.
The Lakers took over on their own 25-yard line with 1:45 left in the opening half, but Grimes put together an 8-play, 75-yard scoring drive that took just 1:20 off the clock. He hit Charles Johnson with a 22-yard pass on third down and then hit senior WR Israel Woolfork with a key 29-yard pass and catch. Grimes then hit freshman TE Jamie Potts with back-to-back passes, the second covering 10-yards for a GVSU TD. Iaderosa hit his third PAT of the half to up the Laker lead to 21-9.
The Laker offense opened the second half with an impressive 6-play, 76-yard scoring drive. The big play of the drive came when Grimes hit Johnson with a 42-yard pass. Grimes then took it the final four yards on a bootleg and after Iaderosa's PAT GVSU led 28-9.
Sophomore safety Dana Dixon picked off a Mifsud pass in the end zone to end a Hillsdale drive and GVSU took over on its own 20 yard line. GVSU drove 80 yards in 5 plays, including a 22-yard run by Ratay and a 40-yard pass and catch from Grimes to Potts. Grimes concluded the drive with 6-yard TD pass to TE Joe Wirth to up the Laker lead to 35-9. The GVSU defense continued to shine as safety Erik Thompson forced a fumble that LB Luther Ware picked out of the air and returned 10 yards. GVSU drove 42 yards in seven plays for a TD. Ratay concluded the drive with a 9-yard TD run and Iaderosa added the PAT for 42-9 GVSU lead. Hillsdale added two late scores for the final margin.
GVSU rolled 546 yards of total offense on the day, including a balanced attack of 287 rushing yards and 259 passing yards. Ratay rushed for 110 yards and a TD on 16 carriers, while Spencer rushed for 100 yards and two TDs on 15 carries. Grimes completed 16-of-21 passes for 259 yards and two TDs. C. Johnson hauled in six passes for 97 yards, while Potts caught four passes for 85 yards. Woolford pulled down three passes for 51 yards.
Defensively, Brad Horling tallied a team-high 14 tackles and two tackles for loss (-5) for the Lakers. Erik Thompson chipped in 10 stops and forced a fumble.