Aug. 30, 2009

Courtesy of Grand Valley State Athletics

Canyon, Tex. - No. 1 ranked Grand Valley State started the 2009 season with a daunting road trip to West Texas for a matchup with No. 11 West Texas A&M. The Lakers passed the first test of the season with an impressive 37-23 victory before a crowd of 15,093 at Kimbrough Memorial Stadium Saturday night (Aug. 29). GVSU (1-0) will remain on the road next Saturday with a 6 p.m. matchup at Indianapolis (1-0).

Grand Valley State opened the season offensively and drove down the field in impressive fashion. When Senior quarterback Brad Iciek hit sophomore tight end Andrew Lorman with an 18-yard scoring pass over the middle for a touchdown. The Lakers drove 80 yards in 11 plays and took 4:42 off the clock for the score. The catch was the first of Lorman's career. Following a Laker fumble by junior running back James Berezik, West Texas A&M drove 58 yards in nine plays as QB Taylor Harris hit Tyson Williams with 5-yard scoring pass at the 1:11 mark of the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7.

The Laker defense made a stand as the Buffaloes drove inside the Grand Valley State 10 and lined up for a 25-yard field goal attempt. WTAM attempted a bit of trickery with a fake field goal, but senior safety Jacob McGuckin and cornerback Enrique Shaw sniffed out the play and stopped West Texas A&M at the Laker five. West Texas A&M did get points as on GVSU's second play from scrimmage Iciek had to fall on bad snap for a safety.

Both teams traded punts before the Lakers held the Buffaloes and took possession of the ball on its own 26 with 2:26 remaining in the half. Grand Valley State picked up a key third down on a completion to junior WR Mike Koster and Iciek hit junior WR Ryan Bass for a first down completion to the WTAM 46 with :14 seconds left on the clock. Iciek then took the air out the Buffaloes sails when he found WR Blake Smolen all alone down the GVSU sideline for a 46-yard touchdown pass to give the Lakers a 14-9 halftime lead.

"The was a huge play and I thought it really changed the momentum," said GVSU head coach Chuch Martin. "I thought we had played well to that point, but it was nice to go into the lockerroom with the lead."

The Laker defense then made a big play to open the third quarter as safety Jake McGuckin picked off a pass on the Buffaloes opening drive. Iciek led the Lakers on a 6-play, 61-yard scoring drive that upped the GVSU lead to 21-9. Iciek hit TE Tony Carreri with a 33 yard pass to the West Texas five and then scored on a 5-yard run. P.T. Gates set up the Lakers' next score all on his own. He returned a punt 16 yards to the WTAM 39 and then rambled 35 yards to the Buffaloe four. Iciek then hit Koster with a TD pass to up the GVSU lead to 28-9. Freshman LB Luther Ware picked up a bad snap on a West Texas A&M field goal attempt and ran 68 yards for a TD to give the Lakers a 34-9 lead. Ware's fumble return was the fourth longest in GVSU football history and the first since Anthony Adams returned a fumble 28 yards for a TD versus North Dakota in the 2006 NCAA Playoffs.

The Buffaloes drove 58 yards in six plays for a TD to pull within 34-16 with :48 seconds in the third quarter, but the Lakers took 6:53 off the clock with a 15-play, 60-yard scoring drive the culminated with a Justin Trumble 23-yard field goal. West Texas scored the final points of the game with :41 seconds left and the result already determined.

Iciek completed 17-of-25 passes for 216 yards and three TDs, while Koster caught a career-high seven passes for 68 yards and a TD. Junior RB James Berezik rushed 19 times for 105 yards and moved into eighth on the all-time career rushing list (2,529). Gates rushed eight times for 62 yards, while Smolen caught three passes for 64 yards and a TD. FS Zach Breen led the defense with nine tackles, while CB Rob Carlisle added eight tackles. The Laker defense forced four turnovers.

Notes... GVSU has won 43 straight regular season games.