In the DII football upset of the week, Ashland rallies in the fourth quarter to defeat No. 9 Grand Valley State 20-17 on a last-second, 52-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass. 

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The Eagles couldn’t get anything going until the final 15 minutes, held scoreless by the tough Lakers defense for three quarters. Here’s how the comeback went down.

Ashland running back Gei’vonni Washington is a beast

Not only is Washington a beast, he’s a true freshman. Washington came out of his shell last week, earning a spot on our top performers’ list with a 125-yard, three-touchdown day. This week, he gave Ashland its first lead of the night and it didn’t come until 2:34 was remaining in the game.

Washington took the rock and rumbled 44 yards to paydirt, scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to go. It was the freshman’s longest run of the day, a day in which he ran for a career-high 169 yards. Unfortunately, the Lakers came right back and retook the lead with just 49 ticks left on the clock. Someone else would have to play the hero.

Quarterback Austin Brenner’s Hail Mary seals the deal

The weather was not ideal on a rainy night at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Michigan. Neither offense could muster much up, and the Lakers rolled into the fourth quarter with a 10-0 lead. In fact, the Lakers defense held Ashland to just 58 yards in the first half and 130 yards through three quarters. 

Brenner took over in the fourth quarter, leading the Eagles to 231 total yards. His 28-yard touchdown run with just over five minutes to go finally got the Eagles on the board. But it was his longest pass of the night that left the crowd stunned. With time expiring, Brenner reached back and launched a desperation Hail Mary 52-yards that somehow found its way into Logan Balin’s hands for the winning touchdown.

What does this mean for the GLIAC?

The top of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is going to be an intriguing race. Ferris State and Wayne State (MI) are the last two remaining undefeated teams in conference play, while teams like Ashland, Grand Valley State, and Davenport find themselves in a cluster with one loss apiece. 

Let’s not forget, the GLIAC had three top 25 teams in the preseason poll and Ashland fell out after an opening night loss to an Indianapolis team that has been absolutely rolling so far in 2019. This win by Ashland shakes up the GLIAC, gets them back in the top 25 conversation and will certainly shake up the rankings come Monday.

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