2022 Davenport vs Saginaw Valley

GLIAC Games Of The Week: League Leaders Look To Avoid Upset

GLIAC Games Of The Week: League Leaders Look To Avoid Upset

GLIAC leaders Davenport, Ferris State and national No. 1 Grand Valley all hit the road for potential traps in conference play in Week 9.

Oct 28, 2022 by Ron Balaskovitz
GLIAC Games Of The Week: League Leaders Look To Avoid Upset

With three weeks left in the regular season, the race for the GLIAC title remains hotly contested, with a trio of teams still in the running.

The usual suspects like Grand Valley and Ferris State are there, but they sandwich a surprise Davenport team that sits tied with Grand Valley for first-place in the league race. In Week 9, the Panthers face their biggest test to date.

It’s a light schedule in the GLIAC this week with just three games as Wayne State will take a much-needed bye week, having dropped six in a row. Otherwise, all three games feature the the top three teams playing teams currently in the bottom half of the league.

Davenport at Saginaw Valley State

The surprise Panthers got their final non-league tuneup last week, taking on Lincoln (CA) and crushing the guests by a 58-14 final to reach 7-0, already setting the program record for wins in a season.

In the laugher over Lincoln, the Panthers came out sluggish, giving up the first score and leading just 17-14 in the second quarter before ripping off 41 unanswered points to close out the game. While the Panthers were held to just 350 yards of offense, they still set a school record with seven rushing touchdowns, while their defense shined by forcing four turnovers and getting three sacks.

Highlights: Lincoln Vs. Davenport

To this point, the Panthers schedule has avoided the top three teams in the GLIAC preseason poll, so closing out league play with SVSU, Ferris State, and Grand Valley is one daunting task.

While Davenport rolled a week ago, the Cardinals had to sweat out a defensive battle with Wayne State, but ultimately pulled out a 21-14 win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Derr Hinton Jr. rushed in from six yards out for the winning score inside the last minute to lift the Cardinals, who to that point had been hampered by three fumbles, and were outgained by a Wayne State team that caught the Cardinals off guard by turning to the passing game.

SVSU’s defense still held Wayne State to just over 300 yards of offense, and held the Warriors to 66 rushing yards on 28 attempts.

This matchup is the only game in Div. II featuring ranked teams this week. SVSU took last season’s game by a 24-3 final, but Davenport won the last time the two teams met at SVSU back in 2019, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Grand Valley State at Michigan Tech

The top-ranked team in the country, Grand Valley, continues to march along, not letting up after topping Ferris State two weeks ago. GVSU destroyed Northern Michigan in Week 8, 56-3, asserting its place atop both the GLIAC and the country.

The Lakers’ Top-10 ranked offense and defense were on full display in the win, posting nearly 500 yards of offense, while holding Northern to under 150 yards and collecting four sacks. The Laker defense was so stout, it managed to keep the Wildcats to that number despite not forcing a turnover in the win — it did, however, limited Northern to just seven first downs.

The Lakers also got help on special teams, getting the first 10 points of the game from that unit, including an 87-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Darrell Johnson for the first points.

They’ll face a tough Tech defense that nearly pulled off a shocker last week, taking Ferris State to the brink in a 28-20 defeat to fall to 2-2 in GLIAC play.

In that loss to the Bulldogs, the Huskies jumped out to a 10-7 lead at the half, and twice pulled to within a score in the fourth quarter, including a Hunter Buechel interception for a touchdown, but were unable to get the tying scores after Ferris put up a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns.

The Tech defense was admirable in defeat, keeping Ferris State mostly in check with just over 400 yards of offense.

In an unbelievable stat, despite getting sacked just twice Tech finished with -26 rushing yards on 14 carries. The sacks lost 12 yards, so on the other 12 carries, the Huskies lost 14 yards. GVSU swept a pair from Tech last season, winning 44-21 in a non-league game, then 14-9 in a conference tilt.

Ferris State at Northern Michigan

After a pair of tough battles the last two weeks, Ferris State hopes for a bit of breather against a Northern Michigan squad that has scored the fewest points in the league, while giving up the third-most in the seven-team circuit.

Ferris survived a scare from Michigan Tech last week, needing a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally from a halftime deficit. Ferris hurt their own cause with a pick six in the fourth, but the defense shined by holding the Huskies to -26 rushing yards, -14 even if you exclude sacks.

Northern has dropped three-straight games, and were hammered last week by top-ranked Grand Valley State, 56-3.

The Bulldogs took last season’s game in Big Rapids by a 44-24 final.