Jake Riepma

GLIAC Review: Week 6

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Saginaw Valley State’s unblemished record is no more thanks to Ashland; Davenport, Grand Valley State, and Ferris State all win big to remain undefeated, and the Northwood Timberwolves claim a road W up north in the dome.

Considering the numerous intriguing GLIAC storylines entering the weekend, it’s difficult to zero in on week six’s biggest takeaways, but I’ll give it a go (and per usual, compile a lackluster column with little to nothing to write home about).

For Ferris State and Grand Valley State I’m sure this week couldn’t get over fast enough – both teams entered the weekend as heavy home favorites, and needed to win in order to set up a matchup of unbeatens in the Anchor-Bone showdown next Saturday (Oct. 13). Mission accomplished – once again it was FSU’s Jayru Campbell with a big game at the “Battle at the Ballpark” at Fifth Third Ballpark against Michigan Tech to help Ferris cruise to the 42-24 win. For the third time this season, Campbell earned GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors – turning in 291 yards on 20-24 passing with three touchdowns to go along with 33 yards rushing and another score. Congrats, Jayru!

For the Lakers, they jumped all over visiting Dixie State to the tune of a 28-0 halftime lead, and eventually the contest mercilessly came to an end with GVSU on top 35-14. Don’t worry, it was before a sellout crowd at Lubbers Stadium. 10,763 to be exact. I only include this because, like all good capital J journalists, I only read the first few sentences of the game recaps and include what’s mentioned in the team’s recap in my own column… and every time, without fail, GVSU’s recap mentions something about the crowd at Lubbers Stadium, so lo and behold, it must be important and it must be mentioned again.

Both FSU and GVSU move to 6-0 and rank No. 3 and No. 2 in the AFCA Coaches poll respectively, setting up a showdown for the ages next weekend in Allendale. For the rest of my GLIAC faithful that couldn’t care less about these two teams and are sick of reading about them, don’t worry – I’ll have plenty more nauseating coverage of this game in my week 7 preview.

Let’s move to the other two programs who were unbeaten entering the Saturday slate and both of whom faced road tests. Davenport had the significantly less challenging road test, and passed with flying colors – a 37-14 win over Wayne State in which the Panthers dominated the second half. Yet again the Davenport Panthers made me look foolish as I picked Wayne State to win this one. When will I learn?! For what it’s worth (nothing), that was my only incorrect prediction this week, marking another 4-1 performance and moving my season record to 21-8. Nobody cares, I know, and if we weren’t all sick from the GVSU-FSU coverage, we’re all now feeling a little queasy thanks to me talking about my prediction record. Anyways, after a 14-14 stalemate in the first quarter, Davenport’s top ranked defense stiffened and kept the Warriors off the board for the remaining three quarters, including a fourth quarter in which Wayne State had minus 20 yards of total offense. The only thing crazier than that stat is the fact that Davenport still isn’t in the AFCA Coaches Top 25. Ridiculous! We’ll see if my fellow colleagues at D2Football.com show DU some love and have them in their top 25 poll later this week.

A long fourth quarter touchdown drive propelled Ashland over Saginaw Valley 21-17 in a weather-impacted, back-and-forth clash. The Cardinals impressive stretch of winning close games finally came to an end Saturday night as SVSU had the ball down 21-17 with a chance to mount a winning drive, but turned it over when Isiah Roberts picked it off for AU to seal the win. I know this in no way has anything to do with the outcome of the game, but I find what happened next very interesting – there was 1:47 left and SVSU had no timeouts remaining when lightning struck near the stadium, causing a 45-minute weather delay. I love football as much as anyone, but if a team has no timeouts left and can’t get the ball back, and there’s only 1:47 remaining, why not call the game instead of waiting out the weather delay for a few kneel downs? I’m sure I’m wrong about something and there’s a method behind it, but at the risk of sounding uninformed and idiotic for the umpteenth time, I thought I’d throw that question out there because that's what I do - I'm transparent and type what's on my mind. Thank you for your service, Jake. I’m sure one of the higher-ups at the GLIAC (hopefully the GLIAC twitter) can fill me in.

And now my friends, we save the best for last – my Northwood Timberwolves go on the road to Marquette and pick up their first win of the season. I could hear the glorious NU fight song all the way from the Superior Dome! In a game in which Northern Michigan outgained Northwood, it was the Timberwolves coming up with the big plays in all three phases of the game to earn the dub. A blocked punt, timely interceptions, big scoring plays, and flawless execution in the kicking game all contributed to Northwood’s win. It also lead to two Timberwolves earning GLIAC Player of the Week honors - Redshirt freshman defensive back Keenan Williamson and junior kicker David Riser both had big-time performances for the Timberwolves. In his first career game for 'The Wood, Williamson picked off two Wildcat passes and added four tackles for the NU defense in the victory. Not to be outdone, Riser connected on all five of his kick attempts going 2-2 on field goals (25, 38 yards) and 3-3 on PATs for nine total points in the win. Congrats Keenan and David! And to make the performance even more special, Riser’s brother, Daniel, is the kicker for Northern Michigan, meaning David Riser will have sibling bragging rights for the foreseeable future. Of course I’m rooting for this win to spark NU and turn the season around in the second half.

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Photo courtesy of David Riser Instagram.

All in all, another solid week of action in the nation’s best DII football conference. As always, if you didn’t enjoy reading the column, I’d recommend reading the other guys’ GLIAC reviews, they are much better than mine. Rest up folks, we’ve got a huge week in the GLIAC on the horizon.

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Updated 10-08-2018 at 09:20 PM by Jake Riepma

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