Ferris State Preps for Rematch with GVSU

BIG RAPIDS – A year after graduating two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan, the Ferris State football program has found itself in the midst of a historic season.

With their 38-17 win over Colorado School of Mines last week, the Bulldogs secured a spot in the third round of the NCAA Division II postseason for the first time since reaching the 1995 national semifinals.

Taking over for an injured Reggie Bell in the regular-season finale, senior Trevor Bermingham now leads a Ferris State squad looking to pull off the upset against rival Grand Valley State, as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s top-two teams square off Saturday.

"West Michigan should be celebrating the fact that two rivals are in the final eight, and you know, it’s a celebration of playing a great opponent,” Ferris State coach Tony Annese said. “Knowing it’s them, and knowing that they’ve accomplished so much this year, it’s a great opportunity for us."

Bermingham has looked in both of Ferris State’s playoff wins, completing 27-of-40 passing for 518 yards and three touchdowns.

Saturday’s game is a rematch of a Week 6 meeting, which saw GVSU pull away for a 35-23 win.

Ranked second nationally, the Lakers (12-0) reached the national semifinals a season ago, ending their year with 34-32 loss to eventual national runner-up Shepherd.

A four-time national champion, GVSU is in the Division II quarterfinals for the third time since 2009.

"To be one of eight, with the chance to be one of four, and then you start throwing in all of those other sub-stories into it, our main school in terms of a rivalry through the athletic department, and the back story of how many times we’ve played them… You can’t think of a bigger stage than this,” GVSU coach Matt Mitchell said.

Kickoff Saturday from Lubbers Stadium is set for 1 p.m.