Grand Valley vs Ferris State: Preview, prediction and how to watch


The Anchor-Bone Classic is one of the best rivalries in DII football, especially in recent years. The annual battle of the GLIAC superpowers takes on broader significance in the 2022 release. Defending DII football champion — and No. 1 ranked — Ferris State Bulldogs hosts No. 2 Grand Valley State.

Stakes? Obviously, the team that strays to the losing side has an uphill battle for the GLIAC title. It could also present ranking ramifications for the traitorous Super Region Three at tournament time. The winner is clearly the #1 team in the country (although quite honestly the losing team is still #2). And one could also argue, the title of “Michigan’s Best College Football Team” is on the table.

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Welcome to DII football 2022, ladies and gentlemen.

Anchor-Bone Classic 2022: How to watch

It’s Ferris State’s turn to host the Anchor-Bone Classic. Grand Valley State will make the (approximately) one-hour drive to Top Taggert Field in Big Rapids, MI, for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday. The match will be broadcast live on FloSports. You can watch the game by clicking here. Please note that this site is chargeable.

Ferris State vs. Grand Valley State: Tale of the Strip

There’s no love lost between these two rivals, and DII football fans across the country are in for a treat this Saturday. Both teams are incredibly deep, have muscle in the trenches and two of the most impressive defenses in the country.

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It’s the 14th time in series history that both teams have been in the top 25, but the first time is No. 1 against No. 2. Grand Valley State has played twice in a game #1 vs #2 before. , winning both (the 2002 and 2006 DII Championship matches). The Lakers are doing very well against the top five teams, going 11-6 since the start of the 2002 run.

Grand Valley State has a 29-22-1 advantage in the series, but Ferris State has had the advantage in recent years, winning eight of the last nine meetings. That included a thrilling 35-28 win at last year’s Anchor-Bone Classic and a 54-20 win over the Lakers in the second round of the DII Football Championship Tournament. Prior to the Tony Annese era of Ferris State football, this series was entirely in Grand Valley State. The Lakers had won 12 straight as one of the dominant powers in the country.

How they compare (Spoiler: It’s incredibly close, folks)

Statistical Ferris State great valley state
Registration 5-0 6-0
Total yards/game 442.0 482.8
Points per game 40.6 41.3
Yards Allowed/Game 187.4 292.5
Points awarded/game 12.6 10.1
Bags 22 18
Holding time 31:10 33:11

What to know about Ferris Condition: The Bulldogs are on a 43-game regular-season winning streak and have won 19 in a row overall. They have totally dominated the GLIAC, winning their last 32 conference games. Annese has made Ferris State “Quarterback U” with a slew of options to confuse defenses over the years. Mylik Mitchell opened the season as the starting quarterback, but an injury handed over duties to Evan Cummins and Carson Gulker, who went 4-0 in his place. Cummins has the ability to pass and run, while Gulker has bulldozed opponents, leading the team in the run and driving the ball into the end zone 12 times on the ground already this season. Defensively, defensive end Caleb Murphy has been an absolute beast, leading the nation with 12.5 sacks. Fun Fact: Murphy started his college football career at none other than Grand Valley State.

Ferris State Statistical Leaders

Player Position Statistics
Evan Cummins QC 636 assists, 173 rushes, 8 total TDs, 3 Int
carson gulker QC 299 rushes, 12 TDs, 64 assists
Tyrese Hunt-Thompson WR 231 receptions, 2 TD
Brandon Childress WR 217 receptions, 1 TD
Caleb Murphy OF 39 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles

What to know about Grand Valley State: If you’re new to DII football, you might think the GLIAC is all about Ferris State. But Grand Valley State made its mark in the early 2000s as arguably the nation’s premier program. The Lakers won the DII Football Championship four times between 2002 and 2006 and current head coach Matt Mitchell had plenty of experience with those teams as an assistant. Current Ferris State athletic director Steve Brockelbank also coached those teams.

This rivalry runs deep.

It’s the Lakers Fourth face a nationally ranked team in 2022…obviously we know how the previous three have gone.

Like Ferris State, the Lakers come at you with a combo of quarterbacks, each with their own skill set. Cade Peterson is leading the charge, and while his passing numbers speak for themselves, he’s smart and doesn’t turn the buck. Tariq Reid can take control in the backfield, but he’s by no means alone. As discussed many times in the DII Football Power 10 rankings, Abe Swanson leads one of the best front sevens in any DII and won’t make it any easier for quarterbacks Ferris on Saturday.

Grand Valley State Statistical Leaders

Player Position Statistics
Cade Peterson QC 1117 assists, 190 rushes, 12 total TDs, 1 Int
Tariq Reid RB 540 rush, 70 reception, 10 TD
Jahdae Walker WR 388 receptions, 4 TD
Abe Swanson KG 46 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 Int, 1 forced fumble

Who is number 1? Forecast for Saturday

If you follow my work on, you know I’ve never been shy about making a prediction. And normally, I’m doing pretty well. This is perhaps the most difficult so far.

So let’s go.

We saw Ferris State struggle in its GLIAC opener against a Saginaw Valley State team that Grand Valley State beat by 19 the previous week. Certainly worth noting. Defensively, Murphy may be the best defender in the nation, causing even more havoc than those sack numbers show, but Swanson leads a defense stacked with big hitters and smart players. When two defenders like this create chaos, one mistake can determine the outcome of the game. That’s your margin of error in this game: one mistake.

The outcome of this match will be decided in the trenches, much like last year’s battles. The last four regular season matchups were decided in final practices as Ferris State won in 2021 by one touchdown, 2019 by five points, 2018 by four points and 2017 by one point. That’s 17 in total, and that’s not a lot. Defense plays a huge role in this game and there it’s pretty equal.

It really is a health issue. While Cade Peterson and Tariq Reid are healthy, they are not only talented, but very experienced. They both played significant minutes in both matchups last year, and few on the Ferris State offense can say the same. It may help Grand Valley State end the streak in another classic edition of this rivalry.

I’m going to do something that I haven’t done much, if at all, in the last five seasons…and I choose against Ferris State.

Final score: Grand Valley State 28, Ferris State 24


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