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This Week: The Ferris State University football team wraps up the 2008 campaign and its 100th season of varsity action by hosting the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals in their regular-season finale Saturday, Nov. 8, at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter is set for 12 p.m. (EDT) and it represents Ferris’ annual Senior Day contest.
Ticket Information: Tickets will be available at the gate or for more information, contact the FSU Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888. They can also be bought online at www.starticketsplus.net. Tickets are $7 adults or $5 students (K-12), senior citizens and FSU faculty/staff. Ferris students with ID will be admitted free as will children not yet of school age.
Media Coverage: Saturday’s game will be carried live locally by WYBR (102.3 FM) with Jason DaDay handling the play-by-play duties. A live video and audio webcast will be available through B2 Networks for a pay-per-view charge on FSU’s Athletics Website at www.ferris.edu/sports (Click on B2 Networks icon). Live internet statistics are also slated to be available. Links for all coverage will be posted on the FSU website and can be found by clicking the “internet event schedule” icon.
Senior Day Contest: Seventeen Ferris State seniors will be making their final career appearance at Top Taggart Field this Saturday versus SVSU – Josh Brenning, Leonard Curry, Alex DeKok, Rob Evenboer, Terrell Heggins, Jeff Hollandsworth, Rahseem Jones-Salaam, Matt Mausolf, Cole Meredith, Jordan Moore, Kevin Noe, Tom Thornton, Jake Visser, Kyle Walker, Kyle Williams, Darnell Wilson and Jim Yates. Ferris will recognize the 17 seniors prior to the contest. Three other players listed as current seniors on the FSU roster have an additional season of eligibility remaining and can return next season, including Travis Eising, Paris Holloman and C.J. Lee.
Tough Loss For FSU: A quick start followed by a strong third quarter paved the way for the Hillsdale Chargers in a 34-14 win over Ferris last Saturday (Nov. 1) afternoon at Frank "Muddy" Waters Stadium in Hillsdale, Mich. The Chargers struck early on a 72-yard scoring pass only 1:39 into the contest and took a 17-0 lead against a Bulldog team that still had playoff aspirations entering the game. The Bulldogs seized the momentum late in the second period to make it a three-point game at halftime on the heels of a defensive score. However, the Chargers outscored FSU 17-0 in the final half for the win.
Winning Season: This year marks the Bulldogs’ 14th winning season in the last 20 campaigns and is the ninth winning season for head coach Jeff Pierce in his 14 years at FSU.
The Records: Ferris State is currently 6-4 this season and 5-4 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 34-14 loss at Hillsdale. FSU registered a 7-4-0 (including forfeit win) overall record in 2007 and placed tied for fourth in the league with a 6-4 mark. The Bulldogs were 4-2 at home and 3-2 on the road last year. Ferris is currently 3-1 in home games in 2008. Saginaw Valley State is presently 6-3 both overall and in the GLIAC after Saturday’s (Nov. 1) 17-9 road win at Findlay. SVSU had to forfeit four wins in 2007, including one over Ferris, and its revised record was 3-7 overall and 11th in the GLIAC. The Cardinals are presently 3-1 in road games this year.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 91-62-0 (.595) – (8-5-0 vs. SVSU). Pierce has compiled a 46-27-0 (.630) coaching mark in home encounters and is 21-9-0 (.700) in November contests to date. Pierce, who played at Ferris (defensive back) from 1974-77, is the 12th head coach in Ferris State’s history.
Saginaw Valley State – Jim Collins (Wittenberg, 1988), 1st season, 6-3-0 (.667); Career: 15th season, 76-80-0 (.487) – (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Collins is in his first season at SVSU after spending 11 years at NCAA-III Capital (Ohio) where his team was 44-13 over the final five years. He was a graduate assistant at Central Michigan in 1989-90.
The 100th Season: The 2008 campaign represents the Bulldogs’ 100th season of varsity competition. The program actually began in 1900, but no football was played in 1908-09, 1917-18, 1932 and from 1942-45 for various reasons. Additionally, no scores are available from either the 1912 or 1916 seasons. Ferris has posted an all-time record of 366-407-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s loss at Hillsdale.
Season Finales: The Bulldogs are 16-8-0 (.667) in regular-season finale contests dating back to 1985, which includes a 11-7-0 (.611) mark since 1990. FSU had dropped its previous four season finales prior to back-to-back wins over Wayne State to close the last two years (2006-07). Last year, the Bulldogs secured a winning season with a hard-fought 17-13 road triumph (11/10/07) over the Warriors in Detroit, Mich. Ferris also registered a 21-17 win against WSU in its last regular-season finale that took place at home two years ago (11/11/06). Ferris’ 39-32 season-ending setback at SVSU in 2005 (11/5) was changed to a forfeit win.
Home Finales: Ferris State has compiled a 16-7-0 (.696) record in its final home regular-season appearance per campaign since 1985. The Bulldogs sport a 12-6-0 (.667) mark since 1990 and have won four of their last seven such outings to date. FSU posted a 48-41 overtime win over Northwood in its last home game of the 2007 season (11/3).
Tied For Sixth: Ferris is tied for sixth place in the GLIAC standings with one week to play. Grand Valley State (9-0) heads the league standings with Ashland (7-2) and Wayne State (7-2) tied for second. Michigan Tech and Saginaw Valley State both are next with 6-3 league marks while FSU and Hillsdale are one game behind (5-4) them in sixth place with one game left.
First Career TD: Ferris senior All-America defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) notched his first career touchdown with a 34-yard interception return at Hillsdale. Senior cornerback Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett) came on a corner blitz and hit Charger quarterback Troy Weatherhead as he tried to throw a second quarter pass, which was picked off by Visser who held off a couple of Charger players and rambled 34-yards into the endzone for the Bulldogs’ first score of the day.
Four Honorees: Ferris has had four players earn one of the GLIAC's weekly player of the week award honors this campaign. Jake Visser and junior safety Chad Wilson (Howell) have picked up recognition on the defensive side while junior quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago) was an offensive selection and senior kicker-punter Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) claimed special teams recognition this year.
Tough To Score On: The Bulldogs currently have allowed the third-fewest points in the GLIAC this season in league-only games. FSU has given up 190 points in nine league games, ranking behind only Grand Valley State (116) and Wayne State (127).
On The Ground: FSU’s current 162.7 rushing yards per game ranks eighth on the school’s single-season leaders list to date. Ferris’ top figure was a 229.4 average on the ground in 1999.
Top Ten List: Ferris senior DT Jake Visser currently ranks ninth on the school’s career tackles chart with 380 tackles in his career. He also is listed fourth on the FSU all-time sack leaders list with 26.5 sacks in his career and is 2.5 shy of tying former standout Ed Philion (1990-93) for third place on the school chart. Additionally, Visser is also tied for first place with two former Bulldog greats in Monty Brown (1989-92) and Philion, who both played in the NFL, with seven career fumble recoveries.
Tough To Beat: The Bulldogs have presently emerged victorious in eight of their last nine games determined by a touchdown or less dating back to last season’s thrilling 44-41 league home win (9/22/07) over Hillsdale. FSU has won seven-straight such contests and the squad’s only setback in games decided by less than seven points over the last two years was a 37-35 homecoming loss to Ashland in 2007 (10/20).
Number Change: FSU senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding), who usually wears uniform #4, will instead don the #5 jersey in honor of fellow senior linebacker Jeff Hollandsworth (Livonia/Stevenson) for his final collegiate game Saturday. Hollandsworth was injured in Saturday’s outing at Hillsdale and will miss his final contest.
In November: The Bulldogs have currently compiled a 21-9-0 (.700) record in November contests since 1995. FSU is 11-3-0 (.786) on the road and 10-6-0 (.625) at home during that span. Ferris won both of its November games last year (2007).
Claiming The Close Ones: Five of Ferris’ six wins this campaign have been decided by seven points or less. The Bulldogs scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final 37 seconds of four of those contests - at Ashland (Sept. 6), vs. Northern Michigan (Sept. 27), at Indianapolis (Oct. 11) and vs. Northwood (Oct. 25). Seven of FSU’s 10 outings this season have been determined by 14 points or less and the Bulldogs are 6-1 in those contests. Ferris is 5-0 in games decided by seven points or less.
One Stop Shy: Ferris senior linebacker Kevin Noe is one tackle shy of recording his 100th tackle of the season. Noe enters Saturday’s game with a team-high 99 stops this year, including 57 solo efforts. He also led the Bulldogs with 111 total hits in 2007 and currently has 266 career stops in 39 games with 143 unassisted efforts.
Punting To The Top: FSU senior kicker/punter Jim Yates’ current 41.4 punting average on 41 punts this season represents the program’s second-best single-season effort to date in school history. Former Bulldog Doc Proctor holds the top mark with a 41.8 average on 40 punts in 1998.
Football Banquet: FSU will celebrate yet another successful campaign in its 100th season of varsity competition by holding its annual awards banquet on Sunday, Nov. 9, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids, Mich. Festivities will begin at 12:30 p.m. (EST) with lunch to be served at 1 p.m. (EST) and the awards program set to start at 2 p.m. All Bulldog fans and parents are invited and encouraged to attend the annual event. The cost is $20 per person and payment will be accepted at the door on the day of the banquet. Please RSVP by e-mail to Assistant Coach Allen Curtiss (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (231) 591-2860 for more info.
Table Auction: A group of senior parents will auction off a large “turf” table during pregame tailgate activities in the Gridiron Club Parking area (Lot 35) on Saturday will proceeds going to the club. The table can then be passed down to future Bulldog tailgaters. Former Bulldog player Bill Scheible will handle the auctioneer duties.
Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs are not listed in this week’s Super Regional Three Rankings issued on Monday (Nov. 3) after previously being ranked 10th last week. Five GLIAC schools are included in the current top 10 regional poll including Grand Valley State (#1), Ashland (#4), Wayne State (#7), Michigan Tech (#8) and Saginaw Valley State (#10).
Among The Leaders: The Bulldogs are listed 29th nationally in pass defense (171.2 ypg.), 36th in scoring defense (20.2 ppg.), 44th in total defense (312.0 ypg.), 54th in rushing offense (162.7 ypg.), 57th in net punting (32.8) along with 64th in pass efficiency defense (118.4) according to the latest NCAA-II National Statistics released on Monday (Nov. 3). In the GLIAC, Ferris is second in total defense, second in pass defense, fourth in pass efficiency defense, fourth in scoring defense, fifth in rushing defense and fifth in net punting to date.
Ferris Sports Update: Ferris head coach Jeff Pierce will make appearances throughout the season on Ferris Sports Update, a weekly half-hour TV show promoting Bulldog Athletics. The show airs each Wednesday at 11 p.m. (ET) on Fox 33 across most of Northern Michigan.
Vote For Pierce: Bulldog fans once again have an opportunity for vote for FSU head coach Jeff Pierce as part of the 2008 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award process. The award honors the college football coach who best exemplifies responsibility and excellence on and off the field. Pierce was among the top Division II vote-getters in 2006. Go to www.coachoftheyear.com to cast your ballot.
A Great Start: This year’s 3-0 start prior to the loss at Grand Valley State (Sept. 20) was FSU’s second such start in the last 12 years along with the 2006 campaign when they won their first three outings before losing at Hillsdale in week four (29-27). Prior to 2006, FSU hadn’t won three in a row since the 1996 campaign when they made their last trip to the NCAA-II Playoffs. The 2008 season marked the 10th time in 100 seasons the Bulldogs had started the year with three consecutive victories.
NCAA Region Change: The NCAA adjusted the way in which regions are named for selection purposes effective this season. Previously labeled geographically, regions have now been renamed “super regionals” and are categorized numerically so as to not create confusion with the geographical-based labels in Division II’s regionalization model. Thus, effective with the 2008 championship, the four “super regionals” for football selection purposes are: Super Regional One (composed of the Atlantic and East regions), Super Regional Two (South and Southeast regions), Super Regional Three (Central and Midwest regions) and Super Regional Four (South Central and West regions). The GLIAC schools are in Super Regional Three.
Team Captains: FSU’s current team captains for the 2008 campaign, as voted on by team members, are senior receiver Cole Meredith (Big Rapids) on the offensive side along with senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) and senior linebacker Jordan Moore (Ada/Lowell) on the defensive side. Visser is the lone player who also served as a team captain last season.
Preseason All-Americans: FSU senior defensive tackle Jake Visser, senior cornerback Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett) along with senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe were chosen as 2008 preseason All-Americans by various sources. A returning All-American, Visser earned consensus preseason acclaim by being named to the 2008 Lindy's College Football Preview All-Division II Preseason First Team along with the D2football.com Preseason All-America First Team, the Consensus Draft Services (CDS) Division II Preseason All-America Second Team and the Sporting News Division II Preseason All-America Team. Lindy's also selected Visser as its Division II Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Heggins was chosen as a first-team pick by Lindy’s College Football Preview while Noe attained CDS First Team honors. Noe also earned honors from CDS by being named to its 2009 All-Underappreciated Third Team from all levels.
Bulldog Gameday: Complete information on every Bulldog home and road contest this year can be found by visiting the Bulldog Gameday page on the FSU Athletics Website at www.ferris.edu/sports (click on football and then Bulldog Gameday). The Gameday information, which will be updated several days prior to each game, includes links to all pertinent notes and statistics for both teams as well as links for the respective broadcast and internet media coverage available for the contest.
Yearbook Available Online: The 2008 Ferris State University Football Yearbook is available to view online in a PDF format. The 68-page publication features such information as 2008 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2007 season statistics, career and season statistical records, series records, game records, etc. Visit the FSU athletics website at www.ferris.edu/sports to find the publication online.
Follow The Bulldogs: Bulldog fans now have the ability to catch Ferris State in action even when they can’t be at the stadium. A live video and audio webcast is slated to be offered for all 2008 Bulldog home football games via an agreement with B2 Networks. In addition, selected road games at B2 partner schools will also be available. For more information, visit the FSU Athletics Website (www.ferris.edu/sports) and click on the B2 broadcast icon.