#1 GVSU Moves Into DII Semifinals After 41-21 Win Over Central Washington
Laker win sixth NCAA DII Regional Championship in last seven years
Dec. 1, 2007
Allendale, Mich. - #1-ranked Grand Valley State moved into the NCAA DII National Semifinals Saturday with its 41-21 victory over #21 Central Washington at Lubbers Stadium. GVSU (12-0) will play Northwest Missouri State (11-1) next Saturday (Dec. 8) at a site and time to be determined by NCAA officials.
The Grand Valley State offense opened the game quickly, driving 66 yards in eight plays as sophomore QB Brad Iciek rushed for the first of his four rushing TDs on a 3-yard draw. Todd Carter missed the PAT and GVSU led 6-0 at the 11:44 mark of the first quarter. The Lakers scored their second TD on a two-play, 24-yard drive. Central Washington recovered a GVSU fumble and attempted to advance the fumble. However, the Wildcats fumbled the ball back to GVSU on the play and the Lakers had a first-and-10 on the CWU 24. Iciek hit TE Jonn Mathews with an eight-yard pass, then found WR Antione Trent in the corner of the endzone for a 16-yard TD pass at the 8:00 mark of the first quarter. Central Washington tallied -4 yards on three plays and was forced to punt on its next possession. GVSU then drove 76 yards in nine plays for its third score of the first quarter. RB Blake Smolen rushed for 21 yards and caught a pass that covered 12 yards. Iciek then finished the drive with a five-yard run to paydird and Justin Trumble added his second PAT for a 20-0 GVSU lead. The Lakers upped their lead to 27-0 with 2:12 left in the second quarter on a nine-play, 79-yard drive that took 4:09. Iciek rushed for his third TD of the first half, this one covering two yards.
"It was nice to build that early lead and force Central Washington into becoming a one dimentional team," said fourth-year head coach Chuck Martin. "I thought our offense did a nice job of moving the ball, but I can't say enough about our defense and the pressure they applied in the first half."
Central Washington opened the second half with a nine-play, 67-yard scoring drive. QB Mike Reilly hit Johnny Spevak with a 17-yard scoring pass and Garrett Rolsma added the PAT. GVSU answered right back, driving 61 yards in seven plays as Iciek hit sophomore WR Mike Koster with a 20-yard TD pass. Trumble added the PAT and GVSU led 34-7. Reilly drove Central Washington down a TD early in the fourth quarter. He hit Brandon Stout with a 19-yard TD pass with 13:19 left in the fourth quarter. GVSU answered again as Iciek drove the Lakers 71 yards in six plays. Iciek concluded the drive with his fourth rushing TD of the afternoon. The last time a Laker rushed for four TDs was Reggie Spearmon in the 2002 playoff versus Indiana (Pa.). CWU added a late TD for the final margin.
"I thought we played a solid football game today," said Martin. "Central Washington is an athletic team with the ability to make big plays and I thought we did a nice job of controlling their offense for the most part."
GVSU churned out 473 yards of total offense, including a career-high and a GVSU playoff record 200 rushing yards on 20 carries by sophomore RB Blake Smolen. Smolen recorded 246 all-purpose yards. Freshman RB James Berezik added 44 yards on six carries, while Iciek rushed seven times for 30 yards and four TDs. Iciek completed 14-of-22 passes for 176 yards and two TDs. Senior WR Brandon Horn caught six passes for 92 yards.
Defensively, GVSU limited Central Washington to 38 net yards rushing. QB Mike Reilly completed 27-of-45 passes for 275 yards and three TDs. CWU tallied -13 yards rushing and just 59 yards passing in the first half. DL Dan Skuta led the way with 10 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss (-12) and two QB sacks (-10). Fellow linemen, Ryan Gaydosh, added eight tackles, 1.5 TFL and a QB sack. Freshman DL Danny Richard notched six tackles, 2.5 QB sacks (-13) and 2.5 TFL (-13). Anthony Adams chipped in seven tackles and two tackles for loss (-5). GVSU tallied 12 tackles for loss (-38), six QB sacks (-26), two fumble recoveries, two interceptions and nine pass deflections. Brandon Carr recorded four tackles and four pass deflections, while Samad Cain and Corey Edwards each picked off a pass. Edwards' pick was his team-high sixth.
Notes...GVSU has now won 40 straight games, including 10 straight NCAA DII Playoff games...The GVSU senior class improved to 50-3...GVSU is 97-5 in its last 102 games...GVSU improved to 62-2 when ranked number one...The Lakers have won 23 straight games at Lubbers Stadium...RB Blake Smolen rushed for a career-high and a GVSU record 200 yards. Smolen's 200 rushing yards is the 10th-best single-game total in GVSU history...GVSU is 23-2 in the NCAA DII Playoff since 2001, including a 14-mark in playoff games at Lubbers Stadium.