The nationally ranked #2 Ferris State Bulldogs defeated the visiting Northern Michigan Wildcats 42-10 in their first home game of the season. FSU quarterback Reggie Bell led the way for Ferris with 254 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, completing 16-of-24 passes. All but one pass came in the first half.
Early in the first quarter, it looked like both team might be trying to make it a shoot out. Ferris and Northern scored in the second and third series of the game. Both drives involved 55-plus passing plays to make the score 7-7. However the Bulldogs' defense rivaled their offense's prowess, holding Northern Michigan to only one more score the rest of the game. A 22-yard field goal late in the third when Ferris was already up by four touchdowns, 35-7. Wildcat QB Jaranta Lewis to held to just 167 passing yard with a 42% completion rate.
It's possible that Bulldog QB Reggie Bell could have had an even bigger day for Ferris however due to an injury suffered on his first play from scrimmage in the second-half, freshman Travis Russell took over passing duties for the remainder of the third quarter and for the first five minutes of the fourth.
Sophomore multi-threat athlete Jevon Shaw, who had not had practiced under center the entire week, closed the game out at QB for Ferris. Shaw's versatile day saw him tally five rushing attempts for 27-yards, two passes for 15-yards, and three catches for 28-yards that included a four-yard TD reception from Bell.
- Ferris State's high powered offense is built around senior Reggie Bell using both his arm and his athleticism. Any team suffers a setback when they lose their first string QB and the Bulldogs are not immune to that either. After scoring five touchdowns with Bell in the game, Ferris struggled to move the ball in any meaningful capacity for the next twenty minutes of play. Shaw did look comfortable under center and was able to help Ferris convert in the red-zone. I believe he would get the start next game if Bell is not available.
- The Bulldogs defense struggled initially against the pass but adjusted quickly after the first two NMU series. Almost 40% of Jaranta Lewis passing yards came from the 62-yard bomb to Tavierre Thomas that occurred in Northern's second series of the game. After that, Lewis did not have a completed pass that was longer than nine yards till the final six minutes of the game.
- An old school power football approach to Ashland might not be unreasonable. Ferris' formidable defense paired up with a run game that is averaging 366 yards/game is tough for any opponent to top.
- Shout-out to all those who attended the game. There were over 6,000 energized fans at Top Taggart for the Hall of Fame Game. The atmosphere and energy was amazing and hopefully a foreshadow of what Homecoming will be like on September 30.
#2 Ferris State (2-0) next plays Saturday, Sept. 23 on the road at Ashland University (2-1) in a 7:00PM game that will be broadcast on ESPN3.