The nation's top-ranked Ferris State University Bulldogs returned to the field on Saturday (Sept. 30) at Top Taggart Field and got off to a fast start while cruising to a decisive and record-setting 78-3 homecoming win over Northern Michigan before a large crowd in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs tallied 27 first-quarter points and built a 55-3 halftime lead en route to the league-opening triumph.
FSU's 78 total points eclipsed the previous school record of 75 points in a single-game recording during a road win at McKendree back in 2014. In addition, FSU totaled 705 yards of total offense while rushing for 497 total yards in the homecoming win.
Ferris State started quickly as the offense scored on its initial drive following an early defensive stand with senior quarterback Mylik Mitchell finding the endzone on a 15-yard scamper. The lead grew to two scores on the second possession when Mitchell hooked up with senior wideout Xavier Wade on a 35-yard scoring throw to make it 13-0 less than four minutes into the contest.
The Bulldogs pushed the margin to 20-0 when sophomore quarterback Carson Gulker found paydirt midway thru the first fame and FSU added yet another first-period score on Mitchell's 38-yard scoring throw to Wade with 3:06 remaining in the first.
The lead didn't stop there as the Bulldogs scored four more times in the second period. Quarterback Trinidad Chambliss reached the endzone twice, the first giving FSU a 34-0 lead on a 25-yard run only 1:27 into the second period.
In the second period, FSU's Emari O'Brien also reached the endzone on a 21-yard rush while Wade hauled in his third TD of the opening half o a five-yard completion from Gulker. After NMU scored its only points of the game on a 42-yard field goal late in the half, Chambliss capped the first-half scoring with an impressive 68-yard scoring run with only 18 seconds left in the stanza.
The Bulldogs kept the foot on the gas in the third quarter, taking the initial possession 54 yards in only seven plays to push the advantage to 62-3 on Gulker's four-yard scoring run. FSU later added points on an MU safety on the ensuing possession and led 71-3 after Zamir Knighten's six-yard carry to the endzone with less than a minute remaining in the third.
Finally, Ferris State's Trent Hill scored on a two-yard run with 2:17 left in the contest to account for the final margin.
Ferris State was led on the ground by Chambliss' career-high 125 yards on five carries. CJ Jefferson added four rushes for 78 yards while Knighten compiled 72 yards on eight carries. The Bulldogs' Tyrese Hunt-Thomson hauled in four catches for 44 yards while Wade made three grabs for 78 yards and three TD's.
Defensively, the Bulldogs held the Wildcats to only 98 yards of total offense, including only 14 yards rushing on 34 attempts. FSU also intercepted two passes and compiled three sacks in the win in addition to a blocked punt.
Ferris State went six-of-seven in the redzone while moving to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the GLIAC.
The Bulldogs will take on Saginaw Valley State next Saturday, Oct. 7, at Top Taggart Field with kickoff set for 1 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids.