2023 Davenport vs Grand Valley State

GLIAC Football Title On The Line In Allendale As Davenport Faces GVSU

GLIAC Football Title On The Line In Allendale As Davenport Faces GVSU

Grand Valley State and Davenport are set to clash in a game that will determine the winner or winners of the 2023 GLIAC Football title.

Nov 9, 2023 by Ron Balaskovitz
GLIAC Football Title On The Line In Allendale As Davenport Faces GVSU

After 10 weeks of football, it all comes down to this in the GLIAC: One game that will determine the winner or winners of the league as Grand Valley State and Davenport are set to clash. 

While the game has major implications for the GLIAC title, it could have a big effect on the Division II Playoff picture as well in a crowded Super Region Three.

No. 16 Davenport (8-1, 4-1) at No. 2 Grand Valley State (8-1, 5-0), 1 p.m.

The stakes are simple in this game, but enormously complicated in the big picture. Scenario one involves Grand Valley State winning the game, claiming the outright GLIAC title, and entering the playoffs as no worse than the No. 2 seed in Super Region Three. Should that happen, it could potentially bring an end to Davenport’s season, as the Panthers slipped outside the top 7 of the region after last week’s loss to Ferris State, which vaulted the defending champion Bulldogs comfortably back inside the top 7.

But if Davenport wins, it would create a potential three-way tie for the title, assuming Ferris State beats Wayne State, and would almost assuredly mean all three of Davenport, GVSU, and Ferris State getting into the field of 28 that will be announced this weekend.

For Davenport, 2023 has to have a feeling of deja vu entering the last week of the regular season. In 2022 the Panthers were 8-0, then lost to Ferris State in a game where their offense was shut down while giving up 28 points to the Bulldogs. Last Saturday, the Panthers were held under 300 yards of offense and dropped a 28-10 decision to Ferris State. They’ll be hoping to avoid a repeat of last season’s GVSU game when the Lakers drubbed them 49-7.

For a while last week, things were looking good for the Panthers, they scored the first touchdown after a defensive first quarter, and a field goal at the horn gave them a 10-7 lead going into halftime, putting the rest of college football on notice.

Unfortunately for Davenport, they were blanked after halftime, and Ferris State rode its defense and special teams to a 21-0 edge in the second half. The Bulldogs returned the opening kick of the second half for a score, then six minutes later nabbed the first of two pick-sixes in the second half to pull away by the 28-10 margin.

If there is good news for Davenport in the loss, it’s that their defense proved they can hang with some of the top offenses in college football, holding Ferris State to just 371 yards, and allowing the Bulldog offense to score just one time. They’ll need a repeat performance if they’re going to knock off the second-ranked Lakers, who boast one of the highest-scoring and most efficient offenses in the country, and are coming off a 66-point performance against Wayne State.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, their offense once again proved it has trouble with top defenses, coughing the ball up five times in the loss, a recipe for disaster against any team, let alone the defending national champions.

For Grand Valley State, it was business as usual last week, with the Lakers steamrolling Wayne State by 56 on the road, scoring the first 49 points of the game early in the third quarter. The day ended with 515 yards of offense, and less than 270 yards allowed by the defense. Eight different players scored touchdowns, including one on special teams, showcasing the depth that GVSU has. 

On the season, the Lakers have outscored its opponents by 307 points. To put that number in perspective, Ferris State is the only team in the GLIAC that has even scored more than 307 points this season. In the last three weeks, the Lakers have especially turned it on, winning those three games by a combined 183-37 score.

Aside from two tight games early in the season where the pass defense was finding its footing, the Lakers have bludgeoned everyone in their path. It’s an enormous task for Davenport, or any team, to try and knock them off, needing to be practically perfect if it’s going to happen.

The Panthers have never beaten the Lakers, with GVSU taking all five previous games, with only one of them being decided by less than three scores, a 19-14 GVSU win back in 2018.

GLIAC Games at a Glance

No. 6 Ferris State (7-2, 4-1) at Wayne State (3-7, 2-3), 1 p.m.

It’s pretty simple for Ferris State: A win and they’re assuredly in the Division II playoff field, and would likely get to host a first-round playoff game, while a loss could potentially knock them out of the field.

It wasn’t the Bulldogs' best game last week in a win over Davenport, but its defense and special teams came up huge, getting a kick return and two interception returns for touchdowns in the second half while collecting five total turnovers in a win over what was an undefeated and Top-10 Davenport team.

Wayne State looks to play the spoiler while finishing at .500 in the GLIAC in Tyrone Wheatley’s first season. The Warriors are looking to bounce back after a 66-10 drubbing at the hands of GVSU.

Saginaw Valley State (5-5, 2-3) at Michigan Tech 5-4 (1-4), 1 p.m.

A pair of teams who have had polar opposite seasons, with SVSU being solid in league play, while Michigan Tech has just one league win despite being a game over .500 on the season.

Both teams are coming off blowout wins last week, SVSU crushed Northern Michigan last week, 62-17, putting up over 450 yards of offense, while the defense picked off five passes, holding Northern under 200 yards of total offense.

Tech meanwhile, blasted Minot State by a 37-3 final, holding MSU to under 150 yards of offense, and getting a pick-six of their own.

These two met twice last season, with SVSU sweeping the pair, 35-13 in Houghton, then ending the season with a 35-30 win for the Cardinals on their home turf.

Northern State (4-6) at Northern Michigan (0-10, 0-6), 1 p.m.

It’s been a long season for the Wildcats, going winless in the GLIAC, and getting one last shot to avoid a winless season when they host Northern State. 

The Wildcats were dominated in all three phases last week by SVSU, and in 10 games this season have given up 494 points.

Northern State at one point was .500 on the season, but comes in having dropped its last two games, each by less than 10 points.