GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Tariq Reid rushed in from seven yards for the game winning touchdown with 1:55 left in the game as #1 Grand Valley State University came from behind to upend #8 Northwest Missouri State University, 13-8. GVSU moves to 12-0 on the year and snaps a four-game playoff losing streak to the Bearcats as they move to their 13th regional final since 2001.
“Give a lot of credit to Northwest Missouri. They have constantly improved since their loss to Pitt State. We knew this was going to be a tough test for us. A really difficult task. I have to give our kids a ton of credit as we have been down in the fourth quarter before – I believe this was our third game we have done this – this is a group that never fractures. There really isn’t anyone that doesn’t believe we can get it done,” said head coach Matt Mitchell.
GVSU faced their biggest test of the season since defeating then #1 Ferris State University earlier in the season. The Lakers’ defense gave up just six points (two field goals) recording three interceptions and five sacks. Abe Swanson led the way with 11 tackles and 1.5 sacks and Nyzier Fourgurean had all three picks.
“Our defense kept going out there and getting red zone stops and if you look at the eight points given up two of them are on us as they basically gave up six points. To go into a playoff game and give up six, they kept creating turnovers and kept going and battling,” said Mitchell.
The defense gave up just 53 yards rushing and 249 yards passing pressuring the quarterback all day.
It was Reid who led the offense with both rushing touchdowns. He gave GVSU the 7-0 lead with 1:50 left in the first quarter with a four-yard run and then had the game winning run with 1:55 left in the game.
In between, NWMSU kept fighting to take the lead. Cole Lammel hit a 34-yard field goal with 3:30 to go in the third quarter to make it 7-3. The Bearcat defense then recorded a safety just over a minute later pulling to within two, 7-5. It was not until the 3:49 mark in the fourth quarter that they took the lead, 8-7, on a 25-yard Lammel field goal.
NWMSU left too much time left on the clock for GVSU as they drove down the field going 72 yards in five plays to take the lead with 1:55 to go. NWMSU tried to have a last second comeback but GVSU’s defense recorded two sacks and an interception at the Bearcat three-yard line. GVSU ran out the final minute of the game in victory formation to take the win.
They will now host #5 Ferris State University in Allendale on Saturday, December 3, at 1:00 p.m. in a rematch of the October 15 game when GVSU won, 22-21. It will be the seventh ranked opponent in 13 games that GVSU has played this season.