FSU’s Pierce gets 100th win in dominant performance

BIG RAPIDS — Jeff Pierce’s 100th career win as coach at Ferris State was a team effort that any coach would be proud of.

The Bulldogs amassed 500 yards of total offense while surrendering just 14 points in improving to 4-1 with a 38-14 win over Lake Erie on Saturday.

Pierce — the program’s all-time leader in wins with a 100-81 record — took a second to enjoy the win before sharing his excitement for the remainder of the season.

CONCENTRATION: (ABOVE) Ferris State running back Skyler Stoker hauls in a catch late in the first half against Lake Erie. (BELOW) Ferris State coach Jeff Pierce picked up his 100th career win as coach of the Bulldogs in the 38-14 win on Saturday. (Pioneer photos/Martin Slagter)

“That means one more in the book, and get ready for the next one,” he said. “It’s all about surrounding yourself with good people and I’ve been fortunate enough to do that. It’s great to be able to get that under my belt, but now we’ve got to get ready for another football game.”

More importantly, Pierce noted, is that the Bulldogs seem to be coming into their own, showing improvement in all facets of the game as the season progresses.

“I’m pretty excited about this group we’ve got and we’re hungry,” he added. “We were a little upset as the game progressed, because we want to dominate teams. It’s going to be fun to watch us as we progress down the stretch.”

The Bulldogs moved the ball at will against Lake Erie in the first half, particularly on the ground with 197 yards rushing on 30 carries. Skyler Stoker rushed for 126 of his 132 yards in the first half.

The Bulldogs ran 52 plays in the first 30 minutes, compared to 23 for the Storm — an effort that showed the Bulldogs’ dominance up front.

“It was nice to see us dominate the line of scrimmage,” he said. “There were a few different people playing with some injuries we’ve had, so we’re going to get stronger in the next few weeks with some guys coming back.”

Ferris State got on the board on its first offensive possession after Tayo Moss forced a fumble, moving 34 yards in six plays. Dwayne Williams capped off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run.

Ferris State would score again on its next possession, going 57 yards in 10 plays, with Victor Bodrie booting a 34-yard field goal.

Lake Erie showed signs of life on offense, but continued to sputter on drives that went into Ferris State territory.

The Bulldogs took advantage of Lake Erie’s lack of offensive firepower, with quarterback Tom Schneider hooking up with Mike Ryan for a 5-yard touchdown on a screen pass.

Schneider picked apart the Lake Erie defense all night, going 23-for-28 for 227 yards and three scores. The senior quarterback spread the wealth on offense, with the Bulldogs completing passes to 11 different receivers.

Ryan said that’s the design of the Bulldogs’ spread offense attack.

“That’s how our offense is designed — to get the ball to players in space and distribute the ball to everyone,” he said. “It’s good for the team, because the defense can’t key on one guy.”

After the Ferris State defense forced another stop, it scored on the ensuing drive, going 97 yards in 14 plays. Schneider hooked up with tight end Jace Heneveld for a 3-yard score to give the Bulldogs a 24-0 lead.

When Lake Erie got the ball back, the Bulldogs gave up its only big play of the game on a first down pass completion from Seant Bedevelsky to David Romeo that went 88 yards for a score.

Pierce wasn’t happy with the play, but did like how his team responded to the dip in momentum.

“We let one guy get behind us,” he said. “It could have changed the momentum of the game a little bit, but we jumped right back at it, and took another run down the field. It was good to come out in the second half and dominate, while putting in some of our younger players.”

Ferris didn’t wait long to get on the board in the second half, scoring on its first possession on a 57-yard yard bomb from Schneider to Ryan for the receiver’s second score of the game.

Ryan said the Bulldogs’ offensive efficiency is a sign of a team hitting its stride.

“It was a good outing by everyone,” he said. “Tom Schneider played unbelievable. He sat back in the pocket and took shots. The O-line played outstanding as well.”

Ferris scored its final touchdown of the game on a 1-yard plunge by Schneider.

Lake Erie got on the board with 1:14 remaining in the game on a 12-yard touchdown run by Rod Smith.

The effort gives Ferris State a 3-1 record in GLIAC play heading into Saturday’s game on the road against Findlay.

Pierce said the win is another step in the right direction for a Bulldog team he has high hopes for.

“It was nice win for us,” he said. “We played a dominant football game. Lake Erie has been struggling in the win/loss column, but been playing very competitive football. It’s great to see our guys making the progress we’re making right now.”

Jeff Pierce and Mike Ryan discuss the Bulldogs’ win:

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