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GVSU football advances to semis

The Holland Sentinel • Dec 7, 2015 at 6:30 AM

The 12th-ranked Grand Valley State football team defeated No. 4 Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday, 31-7, advancing the Lakers to the NCAA DII semifinals for the ninth time since 2001 and the second time in the last three years.

GVSU, now 12-2 on the year, will play Shepherd in next week’s semifinal affair at a time to be determined. The win moves the Lakers’ mark to 34-6 in the NCAA playoffs since 2001.

Grand Valley State wasted little time in testing the Colorado air as sophomore quarterback Bart Williams hit junior receiver Matt Williams with a 65-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game. Bart Williams became the GVSU single-season record holder on the play for passing yards, passing former Laker great Curt Anes who tallied 3,692 yards in 2002. Williams finished the day with 3,872 passing yards.

GVSU linebacker Brad Horling, a Zeeland East graduate, made four tackles, while Grant Postma (Zeeland West) had one tackle.

The Laker defense forced a three-and-out and the offense went back to work, driving 64 yards in six plays for a TD as freshman Marty Carter ran the final 19 yards. The GVSU defense got a second three-and-out and drove 47 yards in five plays that senior Kirk Spencer finished with a 12-yard run and a 21-0 lead.

Colorado State-Pueblo answered with a nine-play, 75-yard TD drive that took 4:57 off the clock. AJ Thompson hit Patrick O'Malley with a 5-yard TD pass to cut the GVSU lead down to 21-7.

The Laker offense continued to click, driving 68 yards in nine plays for a 22-yard touchdown pass from Marty Carter to Nick Keizer. Bart Williams hit Urston Smith with a 26-yard completion and hit Carter with a key swing pass out of the backfield that Carter turned into a dazzling 11-yard gain and a first down.

Joel Schipper kicked a 26-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the first half to up the Laker lead to 31-7. The field goal concluded a 7-play, 57-yard drive that took 2:23 off the clock. Carter tallied a 29-yard run on the drive that put him over the 100-yard mark in the first half.

GVSU held Colorado State-Pueblo off the scoreboard in the second half and possessed the ball through the running of Carter, Ben Hutchins and Ollie Ajami.

Carter set a GVSU playoff record for rushing yards, toting the ball 26 times for 231 yards and one TD, while also completing a 22 yard pass for a TD. Ajami rushed for 53 yards on five carries. Williams completed 12-of-17 passes for 182 yards and one TD, while Matt Williams hauled in four passes for 107 yards and one TD. The Lakers tallied 527 yards of total offense, rushing for 323 and passing for 204.

The Laker defense dominated one of the top rushing attacks in the country, holding CSP to 108 rushing yards and 157 yards of total offense. CSP came into the game averaging 305 yards per game rushing. LB Marquez Gollman led the defense with eight tackles and a QB sack (-3), while David Talley chipped in five stops, a QB sack (-10) and a TFL (-10). GVSU forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by sophomore CB Tre Walton.

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