Quarterback Jared Bernhardt had three touchdown runs in the first half as undefeated Ferris State built a big lead and cruised to its first Division II championship with a 58-17 rout of Valdosta State
MCKINNEY, Texas — Quarterback Jared Bernhardt had three touchdown runs in the first half as undefeated Ferris State built a big lead and cruised to its first Division II championship with a 58-17 rout of Valdosta State on Saturday night.
It was the most points scored in a D-II title game since Delta State beat Bloomsburg 63-34 in 2000. It was also the largest margin of victory since Northern Colorado’s 51-0 win against New Haven in 1997.
Ferris State (14-0) finished with 581 yards of offense, 459 yards on the ground, to cap its dominate season. Twelve of the Bulldogs’ 14 wins were by double digits.
Bernhardt scored on a 56-yard run on Ferris State’s first play from scrimmage. He added a 78-yard TD run and later a 2-yard score that stretched the lead to 27-17. The Bulldogs broke the game open when Mylik Mitchell threw a strike to a wide-open Tyrese Hunt-Thompson, who ran untouched into the end zone for a 47-yard score with 11 seconds to play in the first half.
The Bulldogs racked up 365 yards rushing and had just two pass attempts for a 41-17 halftime advantage. Mitchell threw both passes with Bernhardt on the sideline resting a sore ankle. Bernhardt had 12 carries for 145 yards in the half. Jeremy Burrell added 95 yards rushing and Tyler Minor had 45 and each ran for a score.
Minor finished with 125 yards on eight carries. Burrell ran four times for 103 yards. Liam Daly had a 37-yard pick-6 late in the third quarter.
Ferris State coach Tony Annese, in his ninth season with the Bulldogs, is 41-2 in the last three seasons.
Ivory Durham was 14-of-34 passing for 158 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Valdosta State (12-2).
The teams also played in the 2018 championship at McKinney ISD Stadium, with the Blazers collecting their fourth title since 2002 in a 49-47 victory.