Ferris State beats Tiffin with record-setting performance

Bulldogs break offensive record with 767 yards versus Tiffin

BIG RAPIDS — The Ferris State Bulldogs racked up 558 yards and 62 points against the Tiffin University Dragons on Saturday at Top Taggart Field…and that was just in the first half.

OPTION: Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan (left) pitches the ball at Top Taggart Field on Saturday as the Bulldogs beat Tiffin, 68-20. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

OPTION: Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan (left) pitches the ball at Top Taggart Field on Saturday as the Bulldogs beat Tiffin, 68-20. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

The Bulldogs (6-0, 5-0 GLIAC) took the victory, 68-20, when it was all said and done as they racked up 767 yards of offense, 556 of those yards coming on the ground, both breaking records the Bulldogs previously set against McKendree earlier this season.

Ferris State kicked off the day in a hurry with less than a minute off the clock as Jahaan Brown ripped off a 40-yard scoring run, giving the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead after the Mitch Bredburg extra point.

The Dragons (3-3, 3-3 GLIAC) bested the Bulldogs’ first drive with a 51-yard strike from Antonio Pipkin to Marcus Beaurem on their first play from scrimmage, but Ferris State blocked the extra point and held on to a 7-6 lead.

Then the Jahaan Brown show entered it’s second act as he capped off a five-play, 75-yard Bulldog drive with an 18-yard touchdown to give FSU a 14-6 lead with 12:15 left in the opening quarter.

FSU standout quarterback Jason Vander Laan interrupted Brown’s highlight reel performance with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Dontae Ingraham after a Tiffin fumble, but Brown answered with back-to-back touchdown runs, first from 56 yards and then from 8 yards out, as the Bulldogs took a 35-6 lead into the second quarter.

At the end of the first, Brown had a stat line running backs dream of with 215 yards on nine carries for four touchdowns, earning him a break for the next three quarters as he watched his team from the sidelines.

“It feels good,” Brown said. “I just had to step up a lot because our starting running back, Jamaal (Jackson), was out. I was just in the zone and I was just trying to make plays out there.”

With Brown’s day done as he relaxed on the sidelines, Vander Laan took over offensively as he punched in a score from 1 yard out. He found Shakur Sanders five minutes later for a 10-yard score, giving the Bulldogs a 49-6 advantage with just under 10 minutes to play in the half.

Tiffin returned to the scoreboard with a 33-yard field goal from Tomislav Derezic, but Vander Laan led the Bulldogs 71 yards in 1:27 to close out the first half with a 13-yard scoring strike to Ingraham to give the Bulldogs a 62-9 lead at the half.

After four touchdowns by Brown in the first quarter, Vander Laan added two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in the second quarter alone as he racked up 123 yards on the ground and 211 through the air as part of the Bulldogs’ 558 yards of total offense in the first half.

“That’s a lot of yards,” FSU coach Tony Annese said. “We were rolling pretty good…we just executed and we were efficient throwing the ball and Jason had 18 passes and those were all in the first half. That’s a number we like to have, 13-for-18, and it was all-in-all a pretty efficient
performance.”

The Bulldogs went to the bench to start the second half as sophomore quarterback Trevor Bermingham took over under center. Bermingham handed off to Kitwana Clark for two big gains before Clark cruised into the end zone for a 17-yard score. The extra point was no good, but the Bulldogs took a 68-9 lead with 10:32 to play in the third as the reserves took over for Ferris State.

“I try to undermine our success a little bit (with the reserves in),” Annese said. “As stupid as it might seem, there are certain plays I call that I don’t think will be good…When push comes to shove, you want to play hard, but at the end that score, you don’t want it to look too ugly. I was pleased that we didn’t score too much and I was happy that we got out of it pretty healthy and that’s important.”

The Dragon offense got rolling against the Bulldog reserves as Pipkin fired a 28-yard strike to Danny Lombardo with 8:02 left in the third quarter. The Dragons added the two-point try to make it 68-17.

The Dragons added another field goal with 14:12 left in the fourth, but the Bulldogs walked out with a comfortable 68-20 victory at home.

The Bulldogs stuffed the stat lines on Saturday with Vander Laan going 13-for-18 for 211 yards and three scores through the air and 123 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Brown added nine carries for 212 yards and four scores while Clark chipped in six carries for 89 yards and a score.

The running defense stood strong for the Bulldogs, stuffing the Dragons for minus-11 yards rushing with Nick Huckabay chipping in eight tackles and an interception,  but Pipkin had his share of success through the air, passing for 410 yards and two touchdowns on 50 attempts.

The Bulldogs return to action next Saturday at Ohio Dominican (6-0, 6-0 GLIAC) with a tough matchup against Michigan Tech (5-0, 5-0 GLIAC) in Houghton looming on Oct. 25.

“It’s awesome for our league to have two teams sitting at 6-0 and another one (Michigan Tech) that’s 5-0,” Annese said. “Right now there are three teams that are undefeated and we have two of them in the next couple weeks.

“It’s going to be a huge battle but that’s why you play that game,” he continued. “I talked to the team after the game, it gives me goosebumps right now thinking about coming out Tuesday and preparing for a great team like Ohio Dominican. It’s going to be
exciting.”

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