Truman State football to host Grand Valley State Saturday


The Bulldog Football team will look to regroup after a defensive goal line stand by Southwest Baptist in the last minute of Saturday's 21-17 loss when they host nationally-ranked #7 Grand Valley (Mich.) State for Homecoming.

The Bulldogs will face the Lakers for the third time in the last five years and first time in Kirksville since 1987.

The series between the two schools is tied at two apiece with Truman winning the first two matchups in the 80s while the Lakers have won the two most recent meetings.

Truman led Southwest Baptist by 10 entering the fourth quarter on Saturday after scoring on three straight possessions at the end of the first half and the start of the second.

However, the Bearcats put together touchdown drives in the fourth quarter then thwarted a first and goal situation cumulating with a broken up pass on fourth and goal from the seven with 1:05 left to preserve their win.

Jaden Barr threw for a career high 275 yards and scored both touchdowns on one-yard plunges. Drew Slager caught a season-high seven passes for his first 100+yard receiving game as a Bulldogs (102 yards).

The Lakers started the 2017 campaign as the second ranked team in Division II behind Northwest Missouri State.

After being stunned in their opener at Indianapolis 24-20, Grand Valley State has reeled off five straight wins with an average margin of victory being 35.6 points. They downed Wayne (Mich.) State 45-27 in their last outing.

In Allendale last season, the Lakers scored 24 points in the first quarter and downed the Bulldogs 41-3.

Running back Martayveus Carter carried the ball 13 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Bart Williams threw for 279 and another two scores.

Truman was held to 27 total rushing yards and 127 yards of total offense that afternoon.

The Bulldogs first two drives of the game ended in interceptions in which the Lakers turned into points.

For the season, Jordan Salima is leading the Bulldogs in rushing with 541 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 90.2 yards per game.

Barr has completed 57% of his passes for 954 yards and six scores and Jordan Jorgenson and Slager are tied with 21 receptions apiece with Jorgenson having 305 receiving yards and Slager 190.

Freshman Jake Ellis has nine catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns.

Linebackers Justin Mikeworth (46) and Bryan Edwards (44) lead the defense in tackles and defensive end Sam Reeves is among the national leaders in sacks with 6.5 for 43 yards.

COACHES…Truman is led by Gregg Nesbitt in his eighth year at his alma mater and has a 39-43 overall record. N

esbitt is fifth on the all-time victories list at Truman and is the sixth Bulldog taskmaster to have also played and lettered for the team he now leads.

Matt Mitchell is also in his eighth season and is 69-20 with four NCAA Division II playoff appearances and two semifinal appearances.

SCOUTING THE LAKERS…Running back Martayveus Carter was the GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week as he had 218 yards rushing, including a school record 97-yard TD run in their victory over Wayne State last Saturday

Carter is 115 yards away from breaking the GVSU career rushing record of 3,630 yards by James Berezik (2007-09)…he has 718 yards this season with seven touchdowns and is averaging 8.9 yards per carry

quarterback Bart Williams has completed 63% of his passes for 1,225 yards and 15 TD strike

he defense has held opponents to 10.7 points per game this year with two shutouts, they have 13 sacks and 46 tackles for loss…they have forced seven fumbles and picked off five passes.

SW BAPTIST POSTGAME TIDBITS •This was the first lost this season after the Bulldogs entered the fourth quarter with the lead. They are 34-8 all-time since 2010 when leading after three quarters.

•Four of those eight losses, including Saturday's were double-digit leads lost. The last one was October 31, 2015 at Quincy when Truman led by 13 entering the fourth quarter and lost 23-19.

•After the Bulldogs started a possession at the SBU 45 with 5:23 left in the third and up 17-7, they gained a total of 10 yards in the three succeeding possessions while SBU racked up 144 yards in back-to-back possessions (18 plays) to take the lead.

• Truman had a season-high five drives go for more than 10 plays with a season-high of 15 plays on a single possession. Four other drives were three and outs and the final two drives were just five plays.

•The Bulldogs had a season-high 48 rushing attempts but averaged 2.3 yards per carry. Last season's single-game mark was 53 against Missouri S&T.

•Truman ran a season-high 80 offensive plays (4.8 yards per play). Last year's high was 77 against both Malone and UINDY. The last time Truman topped 80 offensive plays was in 2015 against William Jewell (88).

•Jaden Barr completed 23-of-32 for a career-high 275 yards and scored two, one-yard rushing touchdowns.

•Drew Slager had his first career 100-yard receiving game with 102 yards on seven catches. Jordan Salima caught six passes for 42 yards and Jake Ellis nabbed four for 46.

•It was the third time this season that Truman had fewer rushing yards than their opponent (0-3). The Bulldogs had three times last season in 11 games that they rushed fewer yards than their opponent and lost all three.

•Five of the six total scores (FGs/TDs) were scored in the east endzone, the direction the wind was howling toward.

•The quarterbacks (Barr & T.J. Edwards) accounted for three touchdowns, all one-yard quarterback sneaks.

•The Bulldogs committed a season-low two penalties for 10 yards.

HOLDING ON TO THE ROCK…Truman is the only team in Division II that has not lost a fumble this season.

Five FBS teams have not lost a fumble, including Miami, Iowa State and Virginia, two FCS schools (Western Illinois/Montana State) and 11 Division III schools are in that category as well.

The Bulldogs lost just three fumbles last season to finish ranked fourth in Division II.

AGAINST THE GLIAC…Since 2010 Truman has played four games against teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and are 0-4.

Two have been played against Grand Valley State and one against Wayne State and another this season against Michigan Tech.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN…Kick returner Malique Robbins is 37th in Division II and first in the GLVC with 391 kick return yards this season. Robbins is averaging 26.1 yards per return and has three of his 15 go for over 40 yards.

SACKMASTER…Sophomore Sam Reeves has 17 sacks in two seasons as a Bulldog which is one shy of the career top 10 at Truman. Reeves is 10th in Division II this year with 6.5 and leads the GLVC with 1.5 per game. Reeves has 6.5 of the 12 Truman sacks this season.

NOSE FOR THE BALL…Sophomore Bryan Edwards leads Division II with four fumbles recovered.

Two other Division II players have recovered four this season. Edwards is second on the team in tackles with 44, two back of leader Justin Mikeworth.

BRINGIN THE HEAT…The Bulldog defense set a school record last year with 90 TFLs. Five of the top six years on the record books have been set by a Bulldog defense coached by Defensive Coordinator Kellen Nesbitt. Truman has averaged 6.8 tackles for loss per game since 2010. This year, Truman has 37 tackles for loss for 117 yards through six games and has 12 sacks for 76 yards lost.

history, against William Jewell in 1904 (split), Central Methodist in 1909 (Truman wins) and again against William Jewell in 1909. The 1909 games were marred with controversy as the Cardinals won the first game 49-0 but were awarded a 1-0 win after the Bulldogs left the field in protest during the second game.

AROUND THE GLVC…UINDY and Missouri S&T are the lone unbeaten teams in conference play…the Greyhounds are 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the GLVC while garnering a national ranking of fifth in the latest American Football Coaches Association poll. The Miners are 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the league.

UP NEXT…The Bulldogs will head out for the final two road games of 2017.

Next Saturday, Truman will be at William Jewell for a 6 p.m. start and the following week the Bulldogs will take the short trip over to Quincy to renew their rivalry with the Hawks.

Courtesy Truman State University

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