Grand Valley shut down Indianapolis on their first drive to begin the game, and then the offense rolled out onto the field to some rather unknown expectations as the Lakers had to replace three of their five starting linemen and two starting wide receivers.
How do you remedy trying to replace those starting wide receivers? Throw to the backs and tight ends, of course. Brad Iciek hit Jimmy Berezik with a 14-yard pass to start the offensive game for the Lakers, and followed it up a couple plays later with a dart to senior tight end Jonn Mathews. After that came the first positive play for one of the most highly-touted players to come to Allendale, as P.T. Gates had a 15-yard reception that showed some spectacular moves and lit up the Laker faithful as a precursor to the rest of his game.
After Berezik carried the ball for a 30-yard gain down to the two-yard line, Iciek finally got the new wide receivers involved, as he threw a laser to junior Ryan Bass on a slant play for the touchdown right in front of the student section that sent up the first roar of many to come during the season from the south endzone.
The Lakers again forced Indianapolis to punt on their next drive, and Iciek responded when he got the ball back in his hands, finding a wide-open Bass for a 76-yard gain down the sideline which set up a Berezik four-yard touchdown run a couple plays later to make it a 14-0 game.
Another Greyhound possession, and another punt forced by the Laker defense, this time on a three-and-out. Iciek again found what seemed to be his favorite target on the day, as he hit Mathews three times on the ensuing drive for a total of 36 yards. The drive was capped off with another touchdown, this time by Gates as he recorded his first career touchdown, punching it in from five yards out.
After yet another three-and-out by Indianapolis, Gates made his presence known on special teams, returning the punt for 27 yards and one set of broken ankles on a Greyhound defender. Gates got his number called on the first play of the Laker drive as well, breaking off a 17-yard run before Iciek hit the newest member of the Laker family, wide receiver and recent Michigan State transfer Enrique Shaw for a 16-yard gain. Iciek again found Mathews on the next play for seven yards, and Berezik got his second touchdown of the day after running it in from the goal-line for a 28-0 Grand Valley lead.
Indianapolis finally responded on their next drive, as they put together a 12-play seven minute effort including 43 yards rushing, and getting on the board with a 16-yard touchdown run by Deontrai Campbell to make it a 28-7 game going into halftime.
The third quarter saw Grand Valley put another touchdown on the board, as tight end Tony Carreri made his first career catch a good one, scoring a touchdown from 16 yards out.
The fourth quarter started showing some weakness in the Laker armor, as backup quarterback Lance Lasker from Indianapolis used his running ability to open up the flood gates for the Greyhound offense. He ripped off multiple big runs, ending the game as the leading rusher for Indianapolis. It took only two minutes for the Greyhounds to get on the board in their next scoring drive, as Lasker punched it in from one yard out to make it a 35-14 game.
Grand Valley responded, putting together a seven-play drive including six runs for 54 of the possible 70 yards, ending with a Blake Smolen one-yard touchdown run.
Indianapolis again forced the issue, as they took only three minutes to find paydirt again, with an 18-yard touchdown run by Campbell, his second of the game.
The scoring was capped off when the Lakers put the back-ups in and watched a couple Marquel Neasman runs set up a Greg Gay touchdown from four yards out, the first of his career, and the Lakers came away with the 49-21 victory.
Grand Valley racked up 530 yards of total offense on the game compared to Indianapolis' 299, the majority of which came in the second half. The only cause for concern in this game was the Lakers' tendency to overpursue, which led to 209 yards rushing for the Greyhounds. Meanwhile, the Lakers again were balanced, much like last year, tallying 245 yards on the ground and 285 yards in the air.
Indianapolis was led by Lasker on the ground, as he scrambled his way to 89 yards and a touchdown, followed by Jenkins with 73 yards, and Campbell with 60 yards and two touchdowns. Lasker also went 6-for-12 for 50 yards through the air, and starting quarterback Rob Doyle went 6-for-8 for 40 yards, but was sacked three times in his limited action.
The Lakers were led in the game by Iciek, who went 18-for-27 for 285 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, Berezik looked impressive yet again, running for 144 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 carries. Gates had 36 yards and a touchdown on the ground with 15 yards receiving, and Smolen had 33 yards and a touchdown rushing with 33 yards receiving. Mathews caught six passes for 82 yards, picking right up where he left off last year, and Bass finished the day with 78 yards and a touchdown. Berezik was also effective out of the backfield, catching four passes for 34 yards. Another highly-touted transfer, wide receiver Cameron Bradford, had one reception for 18 yards on the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, Danny Richard had 12 total tackles, three of them for loss, and 1.5 sacks to go with two quarterback hurries. Safety Jacob McGuckin and linebacker Justin Victor, making his first career start, each had seven tackles, and pre-season All-American Dan Skuta had five total tackles with 1.5 sacks. Also of note, senior kicker Todd Carter was perfect on extra points, going 7-for-7, although he did miss a 45-yard field goal.
Next week, the Lakers will travel to University Center, Michigan for the second straight year to take on Saginaw Valley State University for the annual Battle of the Valleys. This past weekend, the Cardinals defeated Wayne State University by a score of 23-17 after coming up with a sack on fourth down with only 22 seconds to play in the game and the Warriors in the redzone. The Cardinals were led by freshman running back Ron Spears, who ran for 67 yards and two touchdowns on the game, and by h-back Galen Stone who caught nine passes for 113 yards.
If you would like to contribute to the cause for the Battle of the Valleys, which is a week full of charity events capped off by the football game, please visit the GVSU Battle of the Valleys homepage to make a donation towards the cause, which will benefit Campfire USA, a national co-educational youth development agency serving boys and girls from kindergarten through high school. Each school raises money each year for a charity of their choosing, and the winner is determined by which school makes the most amount of money for their charity and is announced during the football game.