Kurt Hout & Bill Bourdlais Will Compete In The Valero Cactus Bowl

For only the fourth time in school history, the Ferris State University football program has had multiple players selected to compete in the annual NCAA Division II All-Star Game.

Cactus Bowl
Kurt Hout
Bill Bourdlais
The Ferris State duo of Kurt Hout (top) and Bill Bourdlais (bottom) will compete in the 2008 Valero Cactus Bowl
FSU senior offensive guard Bill Bourdlais (Newberry) and senior defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvada, Colo.) were among the roster selections for the 2008 Valero Cactus Bowl, which will be played Friday, Jan. 11, at Javelina Stadium in Kingsville, Texas. The game will kickoff at 8 p.m. (EST) and be televised regionally in up to eight million homes on Fox Sports Southwest.

Formerly known as the Snow Bowl and then the Whataburger Cactus Bowl, the contest features the top NCAA-II football seniors in the nation and is played in an East/West Team format. A selection committee picked the top players from among the best seniors in NCAA Division II football for participation in the game.

The Bulldog duo will compete on the 38-member East Team. Four other players from Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) schools will join them, including the Hillsdale pair of quarterback Mark Nicolet along with punter Matt Vanover and the Northwood duo of defensive end Kyle Clement and offensive lineman Dan Marshall.

With their selections, Bourdlais and Hout become the 14th and 15th Bulldog football players invited to compete in the all-star contest. Former Ferris State participants include Rich Eash (1994), Ed Philion (1994), Chadd Richard (1995), Jerry Prys (1996), Doc Proctor (1999), Dennis Strey (1999), Dave Zuiderveen (2000), Clarence Coleman (2001), DeRen Ellis (2003), Matt McCoy (2004), Kevin Myers (2005), Whitney Bell (2005) and Carlton Brewster (2006). McCoy was a Cactus Bowl invitee but didn't participate due to an injury.

Valero is a part-owner of the San Antonio Spurs franchise, stepping in to help organize a bid when the franchise was being pursued by out-of-town buyers who, potentially, could have relocated the team. Valero has also been the title sponsor of the Valero Texas Open since 2002. In that time, the tournament has gone from the bottom of the PGA TOUR in terms of charitable fundraising to raising more for charity than any other event in PGA TOUR history.

The Cactus Bowl began as the Snow Bowl in 1994 at the Fargo Dome in Fargo, North Dakota. After its initial seven-year run, the game moved to Kingsville in January 2001. The game was played in Kingsville for six years, took a hiatus last year and will return to Javelina Stadium in 2008.

A converted defensive tackle, Bourdlais started 10 contests this season and served as a team captain while earning both All-GLIAC First Team and Daktronics All-Northwest Region Second Team laurels. The right guard was a major contributor in helping the Ferris State offense average 212.5 yards rushing per game (2,338 yds.) and 391.9 yards in total offense (4,311 yds.) for the 2007 season. The rushing yards total represented the third-most rushing yards ever gained in a single-season by the Bulldogs while the rushing average per game figure is second on FSU's single-season leaders list. Bourdlais, who was the lone returning starter this season on FSU's offensive line, led a young unit that included four new starters this season. He was a member of the 2007 Don Hansen's Football Gazette NCAA-II Preseason All-America Team.

The 6-2 Hout continued to make an impact in his second season with the Bulldogs this fall after transferring from NCAA Division I-AA Northern Colorado. Hout claimed All-GLIAC Second Team honors for the second-straight season this year after making 45 total tackles and 6.5 tackles for a loss of 28 yards. He also had 3.5 sacks, which resulted in negative 23 yards, to go along with two forced fumbles and a blocked kick. Hout tallied 35 tackles and seven stops for loss (-20 yards) in his intial Bulldog season (2006). Previously, Hout earned 2005 All-Great West Football Conference Honorable Mention honors during his time at Northern Colorado. Hout was a 2007 D2football.com Preseason First Team All-America selection and also listed on the 2007 D2football.com Pro Hopefuls list.

The Bulldogs' 6-5 overall record this season represented the program's eighth winning campaign in 13 years under head coach Jeff Pierce and marks the 13th time in the last 19 years the Bulldogs have finished above .500 for the year. FSU was an even 5-5 in GLIAC action this campaign as the Bulldogs won their final two games of the season in thrilling fashion.

An events schedule for the 2008 Cactus Bowl along with more information is available at www.cactusbowl.org

For a complete list of team rosters, please click here:
Team Rosters (PDF)

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