Ask The Opponent: Grand Valley State Edition 

In our first ask the opponent edition in a while, BillyGVSU sits down with us to answer some questions about our opponent this Saturday. So here we go-

BTB: What are your overall thoughts about the game? 

GV: I think this will be a great game between two teams with history – the Lions hold the edge in the series 2-0 as they beat GVSU in back-to-back years in the DII playoffs when they were named East Texas State – the teams are both balanced with good offenses, defenses and special teams so I expect a hard hitting contest played by two quality teams. 
BTB: GVSU and TAMUC have a little bit of a playoff history. Is that something that people are still talking about or is it a total afterthought? 

GV: Not really – it was too long ago, no one remembers it or thinks about it – they were good playoff games though in 90 and in 91.
BTB: Tell us about GVSU’s season and what have been some key victories. 

GV: Overall very successful finishing 11-0 – some close games, ODU – 24-21 although their last score came with 38 secs to go – Ferris BIG Rival and was and still is playing well – FSU hit a FG with 8:30 to go in game to make it 23-28 – there ensuing kick pinned GV at their own 15 but the GV O went on a 6 play, 85 yrd drive with the key being a 39 TD pass to Dodson to push the score to 35 – 23 basically sealing the win despite there being 5:47 to go in the game – Double OT game with another key rival, SVSU – GV was up 21-7 in the 1st qtr with SV’s score set up on an interception return to the 8 – all going well but then the 2nd qtr and the wheels fell off – back and forth scoring – with about 10 min to go in the game GV went on a 16 play drive covering 73 yards possessing the ball for 8:37 to take the lead 49-42 – all good – only about a 1:30 to go in game, the Laker D will hold and we go out a winner – didn’t happen, SV moves the ball and scores on the last play to send it to OT – both teams score in the first OT – GV now on D and SV is faced with a 4th and 1, they setup to kick a FG but the holder isn’t out there, they call TO and then come out and go for it on 4th and 1, the Laker D holds and the GV O responds with a 6 play drive for the game winning TD – they were trying to setup our all-conf kicker for the game winner but the two running backs kept getting 5 to 6 yards a carry and then the last chunk all in one run for the score – exciting game, but easily could have lost it but they clinched the GLIAC title with the win – the last game with WSU was for a perfect season, the regional number 1 seed in the playoffs, and it was a battle between GV’s Marty Carter and WSU top running back for the GLIAC and National rushing title – GV won, and Marty took the GLIAC and National Rushing Title. 

BTB: What is your view about the Lions overall? 

GV: 3 year conference champs with a respected coach – the Lions appear to be a balanced squad with a very good QB who throws the ball well to some talented receivers – Lion QB, statistically like our QB although with a few more yards – runs the O well and keeps them is good situations – good in the quick game, short accurate passes, play action passes leading to not many sacks – talented receivers and move and score very well – run game is decent although you had injuries so not sure who will be ready this week – very good defense, ball hawking leading nation in turn overs with an active secondary – very good special teams with your punt returner leading the nation so all in all a very balanced team – offense, defense, & special teams. 
BTB: As a Laker, what worries you about the Lions? 

GV: A few things, your QB and your D-Backs and your punt returner – if your QB handles himself well and makes the right throws, moving the ball retaining possession keeping the D on the field that is always dangerous and your D-Backs who have done a great job picking off errant passes while your punt returner has turned the field around with his ability – all not good for opposing teams. 
BTB: Conversely if you were a Lion fan, what would worry you about the Lakers? 

GV: Like the Lions GV is a very balanced team with exceptional offense, defense and special teams play – on offense we rush 226 ypg and pass 257 ypg keeping defenses off balance – they are very good in the red zone scoring 84% of the time (32 TD’s and 4 FG’s) and are about 50% on 3rd down conversions – as for the defense, they are holding the opposing team to 60% scoring in the red zone with 15 TD’s and 5 FG’s while also holding them to 32% in 3rd down conversions – they have had 86 TFL, 38 Sacks, 16 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries and they move to the ball very quickly – both speed and power – as for special teams we have one of the top kickers in the country so he does a good job of either scoring or putting his kick-offs deep in the end zone and most important, GV has been here before. 
BTB: Tell us about your key playmakers. 

GV:  offense: QB, Bart Williams (SO) who can sling the ball around when needed – he threw for 2700 yrds and 26 TD’s with a passer efficiency rating of 172.7 (5th Nationally) – last year he needed to throw more and threw for 4206 yards and 45 TD’s, so he knows how to pass the ball – RB, Marty Carter (SO) who lead the nation in rushing yards this year with 1590 and a 7.8 ypc average and is the GLIAC Back of the Year – he can flat out run – solidly built 6’-200lbs and fast – he has topped out at over 20mph on some of his runs, one of the fastest backs in the nation at any division – WRs, Matt Williams (SR), Nick Dodson (SO), Urston Smith (SO) and Brandon Bean (JR) – 4 top receivers that can run and catch the ball – they all play and they all make plays – On defense: all-conf DE, Alton Voss (SR) – 6’4”-260 and gets to the ball carrier – great kid and an outstanding story of how he made it to GV, worth reading about – DE, Sydney Omameh (GR) – 6’4”-255 and leads the team in sacks and is a finalist for the Gene Upshaw award as the top lineman in the nation – first team all-conf LB, David Talley (SR) – his partner and 2nd team all -conf, but he leads the team in tackles LB, Collin Schlosser (JR) and backing them up are first team all-conference standouts DB, Marques Gollman (SR) and DB, Donte Carey (SR)
BTB: What is the main match-up to watch? 

GV: I think there are several key matchups in this game – first and foremost though is GV’s offensive line against the Lion defensive line because that is where it all happens – if GV can make holes for Carter to run and hold them out for Williams to pass it will be a long day for the Lions – obviously, the same is true for the Lions – on defense, if our 4 down lineman can put pressure on your QB than that allows the linebackers and d-backs to do their thing – individually, it would be our receivers against your ball hawking defensive backs, that will tell us a lot and will be a good matchup as it will be with your receivers and our d-backs – also, as I mentioned before, I want to see if our d-line and your QB – can our 4 down lineman get pressure on your QB or will he be able to buy time by moving the pocket and/or rolling out to evade pressure and complete his throws – BUT, it all goes back to the line play – at this point in the playoffs it is a lot about the O and D lines and what they can do – one dominates the other or is winning more of the battle up front, the options are wide open for that team and they tend to win the game. 
BTB: What is the weather supposed to be be like Saturday? 

GV: Right now they are saying it will be in the 40’s but no rain or snow and lite winds in the 8-10 mph range, maybe even sun – that is great for Grand Rapids, MI this time of year
BTB: Finally, predict the score. 
GV: Wow, I am not good at predicting scores and obviously I would say a big win for GV – clearly biased – hmmmm…35 – 21 GVSU

BTB: Bonus: Give us some cool info or some neat fact about GVSU for the readers. 
GV: GVSU is a public institution but gets very little money from the state, in fact the least of any of Michigan’s public universities – but yet we are one of the least expensive universities to attend in the state or the Midwest – we have about 24,500 students and have both undergrad and graduate programs (we all play with the same amount of NCAA regulated football scholarships, so this isn’t like high school, enrollment means nothing)

GVSU has 4 National Championships – 6 National Championship game appearances – 9 Regional Championships – 19 Playoff appearances – 15 GLIAC Conference Championships 
WINNINGEST TEAM IN ALL OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL WITH A .732 WINNING PERCENTAGE – just a couple points ahead of the University of Michigan and the University of Notre Dame who are 2nd and 3rd respectively
NCAA DII LONGEST WINNING STREAK with 40 wins breaking the record that was in place for 50 years – The 40-game winning streak consisted of three consecutive undefeated regular seasons, three post season berths, 11 playoff victories and two national championships
5 Harlon Hill Finalists with 1 Winning 
4 Gene Upshaw Award Winners
1 Rimington Award Winner
All-Time Home Record: 207-45-1
All-Time Home Playoff Record: 18-3
Record Attendance: 16,467
GVSU has an 84-6 record at home when ranked. 
Huge thanks and Props to BillyGVSU for the awesome set on info! Here’s to a great game on Saturday! 

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