Offensive Dominance

Richard Mead-Ferris State Torch

The sea­son is still young as Ferris State hopes to start league play at 2–0 when they travel to face Ashland University.

 The Bulldogs (1−1) got off to a good start in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), win­ning their first league game against Lake Erie 56–49 in a shootout-style home opener.

Ferris hopes to feed off their first win and grab their sec­ond of GLIAC play against the Ashland Eagles (0−2).

Ferris will first need to tighten up their defen­sive unit if they plan to suc­ceed going for­ward. The Bulldogs have allowed 105 points and 1,039 total offen­sive yards in their first two con­tests alone.

“We can’t over­look anyone.We must clean up the mis­takes,” Ferris junior defen­sive back A.J. McEwen said. “The biggest thing is to stop miss­ing assign­ments. That is the only thing hold­ing the defense back. If we can do that, then we can be a very good defense.”

McEwen, who switched from receiver to cor­ner dur­ing sum­mer train­ing camp, had Ferris’ only forced turnover against Lake Erie when he caught two inter­cep­tions. He will con­tinue to play an inte­gral role in Ferris’ defense.

Offensively, the Bulldogs will have to keep their explo­sive, veer-style attack in full motion as they look to keep defenses on their heels. The offense, led by Ferris sopho­more quar­ter­back Jason Vander Laan, was able to put up great num­bers in their first GLIAC matchup. The offense racked up 571 yards and scored eight touch­downs, seven of which belonged to Vander Laan.

“He’s quite a weapon,” head coach Tony Annese said. “We call him ‘the ter­mi­na­tor’ because he’s a big ol’ ‘run over you’ kind of guy. They basi­cally have to set their defense to stop him from run­ning the ball.”

Ashland should be an effec­tive gauge to how good Ferris’ offense truly is. The Eagles’ defense this sea­son has forced four inter­cep­tions and allowed an aver­age of 22.0 points per game. Ashland’s defense is led by senior line­backer Cody Bloom, who boasts a GLIAC-leading 13.0 aver­age tack­les per game.

On the offen­sive side of the ball, the Eagles, led by junior run­ning back Anthony Taylor, are solid on the ground. Taylor rushed for 220 yards and a touch­down in Ashland’s 34–22 loss to Wayne State.

If Ferris can keep the chains mov­ing on offense and solid­ify their defense, the Bulldogs can put Ashland to the test and make a good run in the GLIAC.

“You have to come into every week know­ing there are no easy games,” Vander Laan said. “We want to prove to the nation what we are going to be like this year. You just have to come into every week know­ing that any­thing can hap­pen. You can’t over­look any oppo­nent.” Ferris will face Ashland Saturday, Sept. 21, at Jack Miller Stadium in Ashland, Ohio, with kick­off at 7 p.m.

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