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This Week: It’s rivalry week as the unbeaten Ferris State University football team will visit nationally second-ranked Grand Valley State Saturday, Sept. 20, for a 7 p.m. (EDT) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter at GVSU’s Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich. A large crowd is expected for the contest. For ticket information, please contact the GVSU Athletic Office at (616) 331-8800. In addition, tickets can be bought online via Star Tickets Plus at www.starticketsplus.com.
Anchor-Bone Trophy: The Anchor Bone Trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the Ferris State-Grand Valley State football game. The trophy debuted in 2002 and GVSU has maintained possession of the trophy the last five years with three wins in Allendale along with two at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.
FSU Tailgate: Bulldog fans can join fellow alumni and friends for the "Sink the Lakers" tailgate before Saturday’s game beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT) in Lot F adjacent to the GVSU Fieldhouse in Allendale. Please RSVP to Brandi in the Ferris Alumni Office at (888) 378-3647 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Coverage: Saturday’s game will be carried live locally by WYBR (102.3 FM) with Jason DaDay handling the play-by-play duties. The game will be televised live in parts of Michigan on Charter Main Street and Comcast (900/901). Live internet Gametracker statistics and a video/audio pay-per-view webcast are also slated to be offered. Links for all media coverage will be posted on the FSU website and can be found by clicking the “internet event schedule” icon at www.ferris.edu/sports.
National Rankings: Ferris entered this week’s (Sept. 16) American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Rankings for the first time this season at #24 in the poll. The Lakers are currently ranked second nationally. The Bulldogs and the Lakers remain the only unbeaten teams in the GLIAC entering Saturday night’s showdown.
FSU Wins Home Opener: Ferris State pitched a shutout and redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) ran for two first-half scores as the Bulldogs topped Findlay in a battle of unbeaten teams by a 14-0 count Saturday (Sept. 13) evening at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The victory came in the 2008 home opener for the Bulldogs before a Community Health Care Night crowd of 2,773 fans that braved rainy and drizzly conditions throughout the game. The Bulldogs moved 76 yards in 12 plays on their opening drive before Schneider capped the march with a 10-yard scoring run. FSU added a three-yard TD run from Schneider with 3:53 left in the first half. The Oilers did not manage to get inside Ferris' 35-yard line in the final half. The Bulldogs allowed only 12 first downs and 195 total offensive yards.
The Records: Ferris State is currently 3-0 this season and 2-0 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 14-0 home shutout over Findlay. 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 2-0 in road games in 2008.
Grand Valley State is presently 2-0 overall after Saturday’s (Sept. 13) 36-0 league road win at Saginaw Valley State. GVSU posted a 12-1 overall record last season en route to the NCAA-II National Semifinals. The Lakers have won 33-straight league games to date and claimed their third consecutive GLIAC crown with a 9-0 mark in 2007. GVSU is presently 1-0 at Lubbers Stadium this year by virtue of a 49-21 season-opening win over Indianapolis (Sept. 6). The Lakers are 94-6 in their last 100 games with four National Championships (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006).
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 88-58-0 (.603) – (2-10-0 vs. GVSU). Pierce has compiled a 44-32-0 (.579) coaching mark in road encounters and is 35-21-0 (.625) in September contests to date. Pierce, who played at Ferris (defensive back) from 1974-77, is the 12th head coach in Ferris State’s history.
Grand Valley State – Chuck Martin (Millikin, 1990), 5th season, 52-4-0 (.929) – (4-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Martin was honored as the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Coach of the Year in 2005 & 2006. He served as an assistant coach at GVSU for four years (2000-03) and was the defensive coordinator on the Lakers' 2003 national championship team prior to becoming the program’s head coach.
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 363-403-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s win over Findlay.
Under The Lights: Ferris is 33-45-4 (.427) in evening games going back to 1961. The Bulldogs are 12-22-2 (.361) on the road and 21-23-2 (.478) at home during that period. GVSU has won the last four night games played between the two teams, including three at home.
Next Week: Ferris returns home to host Northern Michigan in the school’s ninth annual Hall of Fame Game Saturday, Sept. 27, at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (EDT) with this year’s hall of fame inductees honored at halftime. Among this year’s inductees is current Hillsdale head coach and former FSU coach Keith Otterbein.
Shutout Victory: Ferris’ win over Findlay represented FSU's first shutout dating back 71 games since recording a 35-0 triumph at home over Michigan Tech in 2001. It marked the program’s eighth shutout victory since 1990, but only the second in the last 12 seasons along with the 2001 game.
Don’t Rush It: Ferris has allowed only 152 total rushing yards in three games this year and ranks fifth nationally to date in rushing defense (50.7 ypg.) along with 13th in scoring defense (12.0 ppg.). FSU held Tiffin to minus three (-3) yards on 21 carries (Aug. 30) and limited Ashland to only 86 yards on 36 attempts (2.4 avg.) before holding Findlay to 69 yards on 26 rushes (2.7 avg.). Meanwhile, FSU’s offense is averaging 211.7 yards on the ground after three contests, ranking 18th nationally.
Notes From The Win: FSU finished two-of-three in the red zone against Findlay while the Oilers never made it inside the Bulldogs' 20-yard line ........ The Bulldogs improved to 41-39-4 (.512) in home openers dating back to 1920 with the win and are presently 11-8 in their first home tilt since 1990 ........ Saturday’s game was the first collegiate contest played on the newly-installed Mondo Ecofill playing surface at Top Taggart Field, which is the first of its kind in Michigan and came as part of a $1 million dollar renovation to the facility this summer ..... The win was FSU’s fourth in a row versus Findlay and seventh in the last eight series’ meetings.
Bulldog Notebook: Ferris’ win over the Oilers gave 14th-year Bulldog head coach Jeff Pierce his 80th victory in league action. He holds a current 80-50 (.615) record to date in conference play ....... The Bulldogs have scored 44 times in their last 51 trips (.863) to the red zone dating back to last year. Ferris converted 36 times in its 40 trips (.900) inside the opponents’ 20-yard line during the 2007 season ........ FSU is 10-8 overall in its fourth game of the year dating back to 1990 heading into Saturday’s game.
Over The Century Mark: FSU’s Tom Schneider and sophomore slot Tim Hogue (Dearborn/Inkster) both surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in their careers against Findlay. Schneider gained 119 yards on 26 carries while Hogue ran 18 times for 117 net yards. The Bulldogs twice had two players run for 100 yards or more in the same game last year and both resulted in wins at home as the combination of quarterback C.J. Van Wieren and slot Robert Miller accomplished the feat against Hillsdale (44-41) and Northwood (48-41 OT). Ferris totaled 292 rushing yards on 61 attempts in the victory over Findlay.
Visser Earns Weekly Honor: FSU senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) claimed last week’s (Sept. 8) GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honor after helping FSU to a 25-24 win at Ashland (Sept. 6). Visser came up with 12 total tackles, including nine solo stops in the contest. He also had one sack and one tackle for loss apiece, which both resulted in eight yards lost, to go along with a fumble recovery. Visser was also honored by the FSU coaching staff as the squad's special teams player of the week for helping setup senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe's (Orleans/Belding) block of Ashland's 32-yard game-winning field goal attempt as time expired. From the middle of the Bulldog defensive line, Visser was able to clear a path, enabling Noe to gain position for the block.
Great Start This Year: Ferris’ win over Findlay gave the Bulldogs only their second 3-0 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. Ironically, Ferris also played GVSU in week four of the ‘96 campaign and suffered a 36-17 loss at Allendale, which at the time halted the Bulldogs’ 42-game unbeaten streak (40-0-2) along with their 41-game Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC) unbeaten string (39-0-2) and their 27-game conference win streak. The 2008 season marks the 10th time in 100 seasons the Bulldogs have started the year with three consecutive victories.
Visser On The Charts: FSU’s Jake Visser continues to climb several lists in the FSU record book as he currently ranks fifth on the school's all-time sack leaders chart with 22.5 sacks in his career. Additionally, Visser presently has 312 career tackles and is tied for 16th place on the school list. Visser notched the seventh fumble recovery of his career versus Ashland, which tied former Bulldog greats Monty Brown (1989-92) and Ed Philion (990-93) for the most in school history. Both Brown and Philion played in the NFL.
FSU 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.
Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 12 of its last 19 seasons and in seven of head coach Jeff Pierce’s 13 years at FSU. The Bulldogs won five consecutive conference championship titles from 1992-96 and were league co-champions with Northwood in the 1999 season.
Rankings Info: Ferris was listed among other schools receiving votes in last week’s (Sept. 9) AFCA Division II poll with 10 votes prior to this week’s ranking .... FSU was listed 46th in the College Sports Report Division II preseason rankings (www.collegesportsreport.com). Ferris placed seventh among the GLIAC schools featured in the College Sports Report rankings. The listing included 148 schools at the NCAA Division II level ...... D2football.com columnist Tony Nicolette, who is covering the GLIAC for the online service again this fall, had the Bulldogs picked eighth in his preseason league listing this year.
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.
First On The Field: Eleven different Ferris players saw their first-ever action in a Bulldog uniform in the season opener at Tiffin (Aug. 30). The Bulldogs’ first-timers on the field included redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison), redshirt freshmen receivers Seth Hubbard (Elwell/Alma), Damien Miller (Ovid/Ovid-Elsie) and Mike Ryan (Howell) along with junior quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago), true freshman slot David Freeman (Westland/Wayne Memorial) and senior transfer defensive end Darnell Wilson (Lansing/Sexton). Four others saw action on special teams including redshirt freshmen Jake Hancock (Big Rapids), Russell Weatherspoon (Detroit/Pershing) and Muneer Bawayeh (Dearborn/Fordson) in addition to junior Kevin Ward (Commerce/Lakeland).
Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its four remaining home contests this season at Top Taggart Field. FSU's game against Northern Michigan (Sept. 27) will mark the school's ninth-annual Hall of Fame Day contest. Homecoming is set for Oct. 18 when the Bulldogs host Wayne State with a 40th Reunion Day for the school’s 1968 undefeated team planned in conjunction with the Northwood game (Oct. 25). Senior Day activities will take place Nov. 8 during FSU's regular-season home finale against Saginaw Valley State.
Team Captains: FSU’s team captains for the 2008 campaign are senior receiver Cole Meredith (Big Rapids) and junior quarterback Eric Grozenski (Rochester Hills/Notre Dame Prep) on the offensive side along with senior defensive tackle Jake Visser and senior linebacker Jordan Moore (Ada/Lowell) on the defensive side. Visser is the lone player of the four who also served as a team captain last season.
New Faces: Three new faces have joined the Ferris coaching staff for 2008. Prior to the start of camp, head coach Jeff Pierce filled open positions on the staff with the addition of former Bulldog standout Whitney Bell, longtime collegiate coach Allen Curtiss and Eric Ravellette, who most recently spent the last two seasons as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Southeast Missouri State. Additionally, Chris Reese was promoted to the defensive backs and video coordinator position following two years as a defensive assistant. Bell spent the summer 2008 season as a member of the Arena Football League's (AFL) Grand Rapids Rampage, Curtiss previously was on the staff for 20 years at Bluffton (Ohio) while Ravellette played collegiately and was on the staff at Western Kentucky before going to Southeast Missouri State. Bell coaches the defensive line, Ravellette took over the offensive line and recruiting coordinator duties with Curtiss serving as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach.
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.