West Florida stops Ferris State's postseason run

Detroit News staff

Big Rapids, Mich. — Austin Reed threw two touchdowns passes in the fourth quarter and Andre Duncombe had an interception and fumble recovery among six turnovers forced by the defense as West Florida rallied to defeat Ferris State 28-14 in the NCAA Division II semifinals on Saturday.

The unseeded Argonauts (12-2) play Minnesota State, a 58-15 winner over Slippery Rock, for the championship in McKinney, Texas, next Saturday.

Ferris State (12-1) lost 49-47 to Valdosta State in the title game last year.

West Florida was the national runner-up in 2017 and Ferris State (12-1) lost 49-47 to Valdosta State in the title game last year.

Reed, who connected with Tate Lehtio on a 34-yard touchdown to open the scoring early in the first quarter, hit Lehtio for 18 yards two plays after Duncombe recovered a fumble at the 16. Reed to Lehtio on the extra point made it 21-14 with 10 minutes to play.

On the fourth snap after that, Trent Archie recovered a fumble at the 33, leading to Reed’s 6-yard pass to Quentin Randolph with seven minutes to go.

Reed finished 18 of 44 for 299 yards and an interception. Lehtio had seven catches for 118 yards.

Tyler Minor had a 6-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter to tie the game at seven and the Bulldogs went ahead 14-7 early in the third on Dion Earls’ 11-yard run.

Ferris State made two defensive stands deep in the red zone that led to short Austin Williams field goals that pulled the Argonauts with 14-13 four minutes into the fourth quarter.