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This Week: The Ferris State University football team hits the road for the first time this year as the Bulldogs take on the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals Saturday, Sept. 15, at SVSU’s Wickes Memorial Stadium in University Center, Mich. Kickoff for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) tilt is set for 12 p.m. (EDT). Tickets can be obtained by contacting the SVSU Athletics Office at (989) 964-7300.
Media Coverage: Saturday’s game will be carried live locally by WYBR (102.3 FM) with Jason DaDay handling the play-by-play duties. Live internet statistics via “GameTracker” will also be available during the game and can be accessed via FSU’s athletics website (www.ferris.edu/sports) by clicking on the “Live Stats” icon.
Opening Day Win: Ferris State opened the 2007 campaign with a 42-19 non-league victory over Kentucky State before a crowd of 2,359 on Sept. 1 at FSU’s Top Taggart Field. Ferris scored its six touchdowns in the game over a stretch of seven-straight drives after trailing 12-7 following the opening frame. Senior quarterback C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa) helped account for five of the Bulldogs’ six touchdowns.
Last Week: The Bulldogs dropped their GLIAC opener to visiting Mercyhurst by a 42-23 score this past Saturday (Sept. 8) evening before a crowd of 3,160 at Top Taggart Field. MC took a 21-10 halfitme advantage and then scored the final two touchdowns of the game after the Bulldogs had cut the lead to 28-23 with 14:56 to play.
Player Of The Week: FSU’s C.J. Van Wieren was named last week’s (Sept. 5) D2Football.com Co-National Offensive Player of the Week in addition to being the GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week after helping account for five of the Bulldogs’ six touchdowns in the win over KSU. Van Wieren completed seven-of-eight passes for a personal career-high 294 yards and two touchdowns. He also added a team-best 118 rushing yards on 17 carries along with three TD’s running the ball. He ran for two scores and threw for two more as the Bulldogs scored four consecutive touchdowns in the second and third quarters to take the lead for good.
Preseason Recognition: The Bulldogs earned preseason recognition this summer as the nation's 18th-ranked squad in the 2007 Lindy's College Football Preview Division II Preseason Top 25 Poll. Ferris was 8-3-0 overall in 2006, which represented the program's most single-season victories since 1996. The Bulldogs also finished the year ranked 17th in Don Hansen's Football Gazette's final Division II Top 40 poll and 22nd nationally in D2Football.com's final Top 25 poll.
The Records: Ferris State, presently 1-1-0 overall this year, registered a 8-3-0 overall record and placed third in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) with a 7-3-0 mark in 2006. The Bulldogs were 3-2 at home and 5-1 on the road a season ago. Saginaw Valley State is currently 1-1-0 overall in the 2007 season after posting a 49-7 road win over Gannon last Saturday (Sept. 8) in Erie, Pa. SVSU fell to Ashland 32-27 in their season opener (Sept. 1) at home in University Center. Last season, the Cardinals compiled both a 6-4-0 overall and GLIAC record while placing tied for fourth in the league standings. SVSU was 4-1 at home, 2-3 on the road last fall.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 13th season, 78-56-0 (.582) – (6-6-0 vs. SVSU). Pierce has compiled a 38-31-0 (.550) coaching mark in road encounters and is 30-21-0 (.588) 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.
Saginaw Valley State – Randy Awrey (Northern Michigan, 1978), 9th season at SVSU, 70-25-0 (.737) – (5-3-0 vs. Ferris State). Career – 18th season, 118-66-1 (.641). He ranks as SVSU’s all-time winningest coach and was chosen as the 2003 GLIAC Coach of the Year.
Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 12 of its last 18 seasons and in seven of head coach Jeff Pierce’s 12 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.
Preseason Honors: FSU senior guard Bill Bourdlais (Newberry) and junior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) were both named to the 2007 Don Hansen’s Football Gazette NCAA-II Preseason All-America Team. A total of 153 players representing four geographic regions were named to the annual preseason listing.
Historic Milestone: Jeff Pierce became Ferris State’s all-time winningest coach in the 2004 season (9/4) as a result of the Bulldogs’ 23-17 overtime conference win at Ashland. Pierce surpassed current Hillsdale head coach Keith Otterbein (1986-94; 60-39-3) for the program’s top honor.
Preseason All-Americans: Senior defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvada, Colo./West) and Jake Visser were chosen as 2007 preseason All-Americans by D2football.com. Hout was recognized as one of 12 first-team defensive selections while Visser earned second-team preseason laurels. Visser earlier this summer was tabbed as both a 2007 Street & Smith's Division II Preseason All-America First Team selection along with being named to the 2007 Lindy's College Football Preview All-Division II Preseason All-America Second Team.
All-Purpose Weapon: Senior slot receiver Robert Miller (Carson, Calif.) caught nine passes for 147 yards against Mercyhurst. The 5-8 Miller, who also ran once for eight yards, tallied 297 all-purpose yards in the game. He returned six kicks for 137 yards and two punts for five yards. Miller was the squad’s leading receiver (34 catches) and rusher (531 yards) in 2006.
Key Game Stats: Junior middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) tallied a team-best and personal career-high 10 tackles versus Mercyhurst. Six of his stops were solo efforts in the game-high performance .......... Junior kicker/punter Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) converted three made field goals in the contest. His 27-yard field goal only three minutes into the game represented the first made field goal of his career ........ Mercyhurst’s victory snapped a five-game Bulldog series’ winning streak ....... Ferris fell to 9-18-1 in conference openers dating back to 1980 with the loss to the Lakers.
Season Facts: Junior defensive back Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett), who transferred from Grand Rapids Community College this season, has an interception in each of FSU’s initial two contests this year ....... Senior receiver Mike Guevara (Manteca, Calif.) has made six catches this year for 190 yards and is averaging 31.7 yards per catch this campaign ....... Ferris’ six home games this campaign are the school’s most since hosting six opponents in 1997.
Week One Notes: The win over Kentucky State was Ferris’ fourth victory in its last six non-league outings. The game versus the Thorobreds was only FSU’s second non-conference game at home dating back to 1990 ......... The triumph over Kentucky State gave Ferris State its ninth victory in its last 15 home-opening encounters. This year represented the first time since 2004 the Bulldogs’ first game of the year was at home ........ The Bulldogs improved to 40-39-4 (.506) in home openers dating back to 1920, which includes a 10-8-0 mark since 1990. The Bulldogs are now 9-6 in their last 12 home-opening encounters.
Current NCAA Stats: FSU’s C.J. Van Wieren is presently ranked seventh nationally in total offense (349.0 ypg.), according to the latest (Sept. 10) NCAA-II National Statistics. He is listed 16th in passing yards per game (280) along with 18th in passing efficiency (165.9). Terrell Heggins currently ranks eighth in interceptions (1.0 pg). As a team, the Bulldogs are listed 18th in passing offense (285.5 ypg) and passes had intercepted (1.0 pg) along with 19th in team passing efficiency (160.12).
Big Win Last Year: Ferris' upset win over the nationally-ranked Cardinals last year at Top Taggart Field lifted the Bulldogs into the national rankings for the first time last campaign. FSU was listed 14th in the Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Division II Top 40 Poll after last year’s win over Saginaw Valley State. In addition, the win improved the Bulldogs’ overall record last year to 3-0, which represented the program’s best season start since 1996.
Pregame Tailgate: The Ferris Alumni Association will be sponsoring a free pregame tailgate reception this Saturday (Sept. 15) in conjunction with the Bulldogs’ visit to Saginaw Valley State. The tailgate reception will begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) and be held in Lot F on SVSU’s University Center campus. For more information on the event, please contact the FSU Alumni Office at (888) 378-3647.
On The Road Again: Saturday’s game at SVSU represents the Bulldogs’ first road contest this season. The Bulldogs have won their initial road game in three of the last four seasons to date. Last year, Ferris defeated Kentucky State 31-13 in a non-league tilt at Frankfort, Ky. FSU is 38-31 (.551) overall to date in road contests under 13th-year head coach Jeff Pierce. Since 1990, FSU has claimed a victory in its first road game of the year 10 times.
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 Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) and can be found live on Charter Cable Channel 22 in the Big Rapids area along over 1.6 million households via the Comcast Local Network in Michigan, parts of Ohio and Indiana.
Vote For Pierce: Bulldog fans once again have an opportunity for vote for FSU head coach Jeff Pierce as part of the 2007 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 a year ago. Go to www.coachoftheyear.com to cast your ballot.
Pro Hopefuls: Defensive tackle Kurt Hout was regarded as one of the top 15 NCAA Division II players being considered by National Football League scouts, according to the 2007 D2football.com Pro Hopefuls List. The Pro Hopefuls List, which was put together by D2football.com Pro Prospects correspondant Josh Buchanan, listed the top 15 prospects overall. In addition, 35 other players were ranked behind them with offensive guard Bill Bourdlais found as the 35th-best D2 prospect coming out this year. Buchanan also posted a 53-man team roster of Division II prospective players and the list included Hout, Bourdlais and Bulldog senior safety Patrick Wells (Miamisburg, Ohio).
Welcome Back Troops: The Bulldogs took a break from their 2007 preseason camp schedule on Aug. 17 to help welcome home and honor a unit which recently finished serving a greater purpose. The Bulldog players and coaching staff were among the first to greet three buses full of local national guard members, who returned home from a 14-month tour of duty in Iraq. After the second of two practice sessions, the Ferris players, coaches and staff helped form a human tunnel as the 148 members of the 125th Infantry Battalion of E Company came off the bus in Mecosta County and entered FSU's Jim Wink Arena, where a large celebration was held in front of family and friends before a near capacity crowd of 1,900 people.
Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its final five home contests at Top Taggart Field. Community Night was held in conjunction with FSU's second home tilt versus Mercyhurst (Sept. 8) and the annual Fireworks Night took place after the contest. FSU's game against Hillsdale (Sept. 22) will represent Community Health Day while the Northern Michigan (Sept. 29) matchup will mark the school's eighth-annual Hall of Fame Day contest. Homecoming is set for Oct. 20 when the Bulldogs host Ashland with the Senior Day activities taking place Nov. 3 during FSU's regular-season home finale against Northwood.
Rankings Info: Ferris was listed 28th in the 2007 College Sports Report Division II preseason rankings (www.collegesportsreport.com). Ferris placed fourth among the GLIAC schools featured in the College Sports Report rankings ....... D2football.com columnist Tony Nicolette, who will cover the GLIAC for the online service this fall, had the Bulldogs picked second in his preseason league listing this year behind Grand Valley State ........ FSU was not ranked, but was listed among other schools receiving votes in the 2007 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll.
FSU Among 2006 NCAA Division II Leaders: Ferris ranked among the top 100 NCAA-II teams in 10 statistical categories last season, including: 20th in team sacks (2.64 spg.), 21st in rushing offense (182.8 ypg.), 31st in pass efficiency (139.8 avg.), 37th in sacks allowed (1.55 spg.), and 46th in total offense (343.6 ypg.). Individually, Jake Visser led the GLIAC and was ninth nationally in sacks (1.0 spg.) along with 30th in solo tackles (4.7 avg.).
New Starters Up Front: Three of the Bulldogs’ five offensive linemen made their initial collegiate starts versus Kentucky State. Redshirt freshman Matt Wellman (Portland) earned the starting nod at left tackle with sophomore Joe Doman (Ann Arbor/Whitmore Lake) lined up at center with sophomore Brad Bammert (Flushing) found at right tackle. In addition, senior left guard Cory Jones (Hicksville, Ohio) made only his second appearance ever in the starting lineup as a Bulldog player. The fifth offensive line starter, right guard Bill Bourdlais, picked up All-GLIAC honors last year. All five started Saturday’s game versus Mercyhurst.
Up Next: Ferris returns home for this third contest this year at Top Taggart Field versus Hillsdale Saturday, Sept. 22, in Big Rapids. Kickoff for the Community Health Day contest begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). Ferris then hosts Northern Michigan in its annual Hall of Fame game the following Saturday (Sept. 29) starting at 2 p.m. (EDT). Both are league games.
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 2007 Ferris State University Football Yearbook is available to view online in a PDF format. The 68-page publication contains information for all Bulldog football fans. The publication features such information as 2007 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2006 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 2007 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.