Jake Riepma

Round 2 Recap: Ferris State Moves On

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Ferris State earned its school record 13th win of the season with its victory over Northwest Missouri State and will now advance to the Super Region 3 Finals for the second straight season, but it took an unconventional approach and a total team effort to do so.

Backup quarterback Travis Russell stepped up big to lead the Bulldogs’ offense in the 27-21 win at Top Taggart Field on Saturday. The Ferris State offense accounted for 608 yards of total offense and 321 yards on the ground despite playing without starting quarterback Jayru Campbell who was sidelined with an injury. Perhaps Ferris State set the tone for the contest when the Bulldogs opened the game with some trickery on the first play from scrimmage that saw wide receiver Jevon Shaw connect with Sy Barnett for a 71-yard passing play which ultimately lead to FSU’s first score.

For the second consecutive week, the Bulldogs jumped out to a three-possession lead and found themselves in front comfortably, 20-0 late in the second quarter. That vaunted Northwest Missouri State defense and potent rushing attack we saw last week against Grand Valley State waited way too long to show up, and it was too little too late for the storied Northwest Missouri State program.

I raved about the Bearcats, and the Bulldogs made me look foolish, and FSU is playing December football again in 2018.
And for anyone that was honestly anticipating that type of performance from Ferris State’s offense, and defense for that matter, I cordially invite you to rub it in my face, because as I always do, I keep it real; watching that game on Saturday I was completely surprised with what transpired.

That said, I know Ferris State faithful had to be on edge when Northwest Missouri State scored its third touchdown to make it a one score game and recovered the ensuing onside kick! But like I said, too little too late from NWMS.

While running the table in the vaunted GLIAC and winning last week in round one of the playoffs certainly were impressive accomplishments for the 2018 Bulldogs, this win takes the cake for most notable win and best coaching performance by Tony Anesse and his entire staff. Yes, Ferris State was at home, but without Campbell and facing in my mind its toughest opponent yet. This team was ready to go and came out of the gates swinging. Not only were they ready to play, but schematically Ferris State was prepared and put into positions to succeed on both sides of the ball. It takes a total team effort to win in the playoffs, and Ferris State proved to be up to the task.

I’m sure there are readers out there that haven’t forgiven me for picking against your beloved Bulldogs, and that’s fine, I completely understand. I love the passion because that’s what being a fan is all about. I’m not here begging for your approval, but if you want to take satisfaction in me being wrong, be my guest.

The great thing about this time of year is each week we all hit the reset button and gear up to do it all over again. Rinse and repeat! The road only gets tougher for the Bulldogs who will now face the #1 seed in Ouachita Baptist in the Super Region 3 championship. This is where the road came to an end for Ferris State last year, and we all know redemption has been at the forefront of this run in 2018.

Like you all, I can’t wait for the next opportunity to see how it will all play out. I better do some more homework this week before I make my pick so I don’t end up wrong again.

I need a new crystal ball!

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