The Ferris State Bulldogs advanced to their first NCAA Division II football championship game appearance Saturday night, defeating the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks, 42-25, Saturday night in Mankato, Minnesota.
Ferris State (15-0) will face unbeaten Valdosta State in the championship game next Saturday at McKinney, Texas.
With the combination of the two Campbells, Jayru and Marvin, on offense, the Bulldogs were nearly unstoppable.
Jayru Campbell, a dual-threat quarterback who led the team going into the game with 44 total touchdowns, had another great performance, completing 16-of-25 for 251 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing the ball 19 times for 103 yards.
Running back Marvin Campbell also had a stellar performance on the ground for the Bulldogs, rushing for 60 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, the player who made the biggest impact was big defensive end Austin Edwards, who led the Bulldogs in tackles (10) and came up with a key strip-sack late in the game that gave the ball back to the offense.
On the next offensive drive, Ferris State senior running back Derrick Portis dashed into the end zone for a 19-yard TD to put the final dagger in the Mavericks’ season.
Austin said of his big strip-sack, “It was during a timeout and I remember coach saying while we were all huddled up, 'We need a hero on this play, who wants to be a hero?' and then instantly as soon as I heard him say that, I went and turned to my teammates and told them to watch me on this play, I’m going to get a strip-sack.”
Austin said he felt calm at the key point in the game.
“I don’t think I ever felt so confident about a play in my entire life going into it," he said. "The following play, I made a swim move on the man guarding me, and then I went on to make the play on the quarterback, and then stripped the ball away … The whole sideline went crazy. I had no doubt in my mind I’d make the play.”
The Valdosta State Blazers (13-0) defeated Notre Dame (Ohio), 30-24, in the other semifinal. The Blazers won the national title in 2004, 2007 and 2012.