UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – The No. 16 ranked Saginaw Valley State University football team came out victorious in an overtime thriller against Ferris State, 31-24 on Homecoming night at Wickes Stadium.
The Bulldogs (3-2, 2-2 GLIAC) were the first to score on a 25-yard field goal early in the first quarter. Saginaw Valley (4-1, 3-1 GLIAC) found the endzone to open the second quarter and take a 7-3 lead as junior quarterback Jonathon Jennings (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville South HS) connected on a 15-yard pass to Meijer "Player of the Game" Tim Hogue (Inkster, Mich.). Jennings finished the game with 255 yards and three touchdowns.
Seconds later, the Cardinals defensive general, Grant Caserta (Holland, Mich./West Ottawa HS), forced a fumble, which was recovered by Jon Bryant (Detroit, Mich./Oak Park HS) on the Ferris State 42-yard line. Saginaw Valley then marched down the field to set up a second Hogue touchdown. The Bulldogs scored once more before halftime as the scoreboard read 14-10 favoring the Cardinals.
After trading possessions throughout the third quarter, Ferris State would take a 17-14 advantage. The Cardinals responded on the kickoff as Hogue broke away on a 57-yard return to set up a 41-yard field goal off the foot of Scott Stanford (Novi, Mich.). Hogue finished the night with three scores and 251 all-purpose yards.
Ferris St. posted another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to regain the lead, 24-17. With 3:23 left in the game, the Cardinals forced a Bulldog fumble at the 25-yard line, which was recovered by senior Jeff Heath (Lake Orion, Mich.).
Facing a fourth-and-five on the 13-yard line, Jennings connected with Hogue for the game-tying touchdown with 1:25 remaining to tie the contest at 24-24.
After forcing the Bulldogs to turn the ball over on downs, the Cardinals quickly marched down the field to set up a 47-yard field goal, which barely missed, sending the game into overtime.
The Cardinals were first to light up the scoreboard in overtime as Jennings found an open Nate Hoyle (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) from one yard out to give Saginaw Valley a one touchdown advantage.
The Cardinal defense came out determined to finish the game strong as the Bulldogs took possession in overtime. After stuffing two runs, consecutive sacks by Mason Duke (Attica, Mich./Imlay City HS) and Murtada Jabbie (Columbus, Ohio/Westerville South HS) sealed the victory 31-24 in front of 8,357 in attendance.
The Saginaw Valley defense was led by Jeff Heath, who ended the night with 18 tackles and one forced fumble, while Caserta finished the game with 11 tackles and forced one fumble as well. The Cardinal defense forced four turnovers on the evening - three fumbles and one interception. The last fumble recovery occured with 2:19 remaining as Ferris was attempting to run out the clock as much as possible.
The Cardinal offense converted on four-of-six fourth down conversions, including a fourth-and-one in overtime as they pulled out a big homecoming victory at Wickes Stadium.
Saginaw Valley State University will return to action next Saturday (Oct. 6) as they travel to Northwood for a GLIAC match-up. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 PM.