Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hillsdale Hosts Top-Ranked Grand Valley

Number 1 Ranked Grand Valley Visits Hillsdale on Hall of Fame Night
Hillsdale College Press Release
October 5, 2005

Oct. 5, 2005 - The number-one team in the land in Division II will be making a visit to Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium Saturday night, as the Grand Vallet State University Lakers take on the Hillsdale Chargers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

In a matchup that parallels a David and Goliath showdown, the Chargers will be seeking their first victory over the Lakers since 1994. Over the past decade, as Grand Valley has risen to the top of the Division II football food chain, the team has dominated the series with Hillsdale. Last year, Grand Valley handed Hillsdale one of the worst defeats in Charger history, 58-7 at Lubbers Stadium.

This season, GVSU enters the game with a 5-0 record and the No. 1 ranking in Division II. Hillsdale is 2-4 and has lost back-to-back games to two other nationally ranked teams, Saginaw Valley and Northwood.

The Hillsdale defense faces the challenge of slowing down a Grand Valley offense that is second in the GLIAC in points per game (34.0) and attacks teams in a variety of ways. The Lakers run a spread offense that looks to mix up a vertical passing game along with different types of screens. Quarterback Cullen Finnerty is also mobile enough that the team will run called quarterback runs several times a game.

Ashland gave the Lakers their biggest scare of this season so far, in a 14-10 Grand Valley win at Ashland. In that game, the Eagles missed two field goals, costing it a possible upset victory. Last week, GVSU found itself in an unexpected dogfight with winless Wayne State, eventually pulling away for a 36-22 victory.

That doesn't make Grand Valley a less daunting foe for Hillsdale, however. The Chargers figure to have their hands full with the Lakers' speed and depth on both sides of the ball.

Hillsdale sophomore quarterback Mark Nicolet will make his second start under center for the Chargers. In last year's game against the Lakers, Nicolet had an excellent debut performance, completing 14-of-16 passes for 102 yards. In his first start this season, Nicolet set Hillsdale season-highs with 19 completions and 171 yards passing against Northwood. The Chargers' starting quarterback over the first four games, junior Aaron Scholl, is out for the season with a broken leg. He's suffered season-ending injuries against Saginaw Valley State two years in a row.

Hillsdale's defense is a much-improved unit from last season, despite the 49-20 loss to the Timberwolves last week. The Chargers have already doubled their sack total from last season and are second in the conference in team sacks with 21. Generating a pass rush against the high-powered Grand Valley offense will be one of the keys for Hillsdale in this contest.

At halftime, Hillsdale College will induct its ninth class into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Current football kicking coach Dr. John Willson will be joined by Mike Lude and the late Dr. Leo H. Phillips.

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