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Weekly Release #5: Northern Michigan at Ferris State

Sept. 27, 2008 -- 2 p.m. (EDT)
Top Taggart Field -- Big Rapids, Mich.

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    This Week: The Ferris State University football team returns home to host the Northern Michigan Wildcats in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action Saturday, Sept. 27, at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for Ferris’ ninth annual Hall of Fame Game is set for 2 p.m. (EDT). The Bulldogs, who were ranked 24th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Poll last week, dropped out of the rankings this week (Sept. 23) but are the top team receiving votes to enter the top 25 poll with 32 points.

    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.com. 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.

    Tom Schneider
    Redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider and the Bulldogs will host Northern Michigan this Saturday at Top Taggart Field (Photo Courtesy Doug Witte/GVSU)

    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.

    Hall Of Fame Game: Saturday’s game represents FSU’s ninth-annual Hall of Fame Game and this year’s inductees will be honored in a special halftime ceremony. Former Bulldog football head coach Keith Otterbein is among six individuals to be inducted this year. However, due to his committments as the head coach at GLIAC member Hillsdale, he will not be able to attend and will be represented by his father, Kyle. The induction banquet is Friday (Sept. 26) evening starting at 7 p.m. (EDT) at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids.

    FSU Falls In Rivalry Game: The nationally 24th-ranked Bulldogs put up a valiant fight, but second-ranked Grand Valley State was too much to overcome as the Lakers recorded a 31-13 triumph over FSU last Saturday (Sept. 20) evening in the Anchor-Bone Classic before a record crowd of 14,612 fans at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich. GVSU took a 14-0 first quarter lead, but the Bulldogs twice pulled within a touchdown before the Lakers sealed the victory with 10 fourth-quarter points. Ferris outgained the Lakers for the game as FSU tallied 360 yards of total offense on 67 plays compared to 332 yards on 52 plays for the Lakers. The Bulldogs also held a 10-minute edge in time of possession, but turned the ball over three times in the contest.

    The Records: Ferris State is currently 3-1 this season and 2-1 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 31-13 setback at GVSU. 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 1-0 in home games in 2008. Northern Michigan is presently 1-2 overall after last Thursday’s (Sept. 18) 47-21 home loss against Michigan Tech. NMU posted a 5-5 overall record (including forfeit win) in 2007 and finished tied for sixth in GLIAC play (5-5). The Wildcats are currently 0-1 on the road this campaign after a 34-28 four-overtime setback at Tiffin (Sept. 13). Last year, Northern Michigan posted a 1-4 mark away from home.

    The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 88-59-0 (.599) – (10-3-0 vs. NMU). Pierce has compiled a 44-26-0 (.629) coaching mark in home encounters and is 35-22-0 (.614) 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.

    Northern Michigan – Bernie Anderson (Northern Michigan, 1978), 3rd season, 9-14-0 (.391); Career: 22nd season, 102-110-0 (.481) – (6-13-0 vs. Ferris State). Anderson is the dean of GLIAC football coaches and left Michigan Tech in summer 2006 as the school’s all-time winningest coach. He was the 2004 GLIAC Coach of the Year and had a 6-11-0 coaching mark versus Ferris while at MTU.

    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 363-404-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s loss at GVSU.

    The Inductees: This year's Hall of Fame honorees are: Clarence Carlisle of Grand Rapids, men's basketball (1969-73); Stephanie (Chaffin) Cleland of Carleton, volleyball and softball (1989-93); coach Jill Hirschinger of Newmarket, N.H., volleyball (1984-95); coach Tom Ludwig of Clawson, men's basketball (1979-95); coach Keith Otterbein of Hillsdale, football (1984-94); and Mary (Gnatkowski) Yearham of Saginaw, softball (1982-85).

    Next Week: Ferris opens a two-game league road swing by visiting Michigan Tech Saturday, Oct. 4, for a 1 p.m. (EDT) GLIAC tilt at MTU’s Sherman Field in Houghton, Mich. FSU then travels to Indianapolis Saturday, Oct. 11, for a 6 p.m. (EDT) conference game.

    Tough Against The Run: Ferris has allowed only 326 total rushing yards in four games this year and ranks 17th nationally to date in rushing defense (81.5 ypg.) along with 26th in scoring defense (16.8 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 200.5 yards on the ground after three contests, ranking 26th nationally.

    Long Drive: FSU recorded its longest and most time consuming drive of the season in the second quarter against Grand Valley State. The Bulldogs went 83 yards in 13 plays while chewing up 7:44 of playing time before senior back Paris Holloman (Rochester Hills/Avondale) scored on a two-yard TD run.

    Leading The Way: Bulldog redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) has accounted for six of Ferris’ nine TD’s this campaign. Schneider has ran for five scores and threw another in the first game of the year to redshirt freshman receiver Seth Hubbard (Elwell/Alma) at Tiffin.

    Another Block: FSU senior linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) came up with his second blocked field goal of the season late in the fourth quarter at GVSU on Todd Carter’s 30-yard try. His first block earlier this year (Sept. 6) came on a 32-yard potential game-winning field goal attempt by Ashland, which preserved the Bulldogs’ upset road win in Ohio.

    GVSU Game Notebook: This past Saturday’s game at GVSU represented the fourth time the two teams had met when both were ranked nationally and resulted in the Lakers' first win in those matchups. The three previous times all came from 1993 to 1995 .............. Saturday's record crowd topped the previous Lubbers Stadium mark of 14,557 that watched the same two teams play back in 2005.

    Career Bests At GVSU: FSU sophomore slot Tim Hogue (Dearborn/Inkster) caught a personal career-high and game-best 10 pass receptions for 77 yards in the loss at GVSU ........ Ferris’ Tom Schneider threw for a season-high 193 yards while completing 20 of 30 passes against the Lakers.

    Hall Of Fame Game: The Bulldogs are 4-4-0 in their annual Hall of Fame Game, which dates back to the 2000 season (9/23) with a 51-30 victory over Wayne State. Ferris has won three of its last four Hall of Fame outings to date, including a 31-13 triumph over Northern Michigan in 2007 (9/29). FSU is averaging 26.0 points per game (208 total pts.) while the opposition has averaged 28.8 points an outing (230 total pts.) in the past eight Hall of Fame games.

    Hall Of Fame Opponents: This year marks the third time the Bulldogs have squared off against Northern Michigan in the nine-year history of the school’s Hall of Fame Game, including the second year in a row. In addition to last season’s win over the Wildcats, the Bulldogs also played NMU in 2003 (9/20) but suffered a 26-14 setback in their annual hall of fame outing. FSU has also played Wayne State (1-1), Grand Valley State (0-2), Mercyhurst (1-0) and Findlay (1-0) in Hall of Fame action.

    A Great Start: This year’s 3-0 start prior to the loss at GVSU 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. 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 with three consecutive victories.

    Visser Continues Climb: FSU senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) 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 315 career tackles and is tied for 16th place on the school list. Visser notched the seventh fumble recovery of his career versus Ashland (9/6), 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.

    Success In Week Five: Ferris owns a 14-2-1 overall record in its fifth game of the season dating back to 1990. FSU has defeated Northern Michigan in game five each of the last two years and owns a current 10-game winning streak in the week five contest. The Bulldogs have not lost in the fifth week of a campaign since 1997.

    Top Taggart Field: Ferris State is 85-59-2 (.589) at Top Taggart Field since 1980 and sports a 71-48-2 (.595) conference home ledger during that span. The Bulldogs are 64-32-2 (.663) overall since 1990, which includes a 57-29-2 (.659) league record at home. The facility features a newly-installed Mondo Ecofill playing surface, which is the first of its kind in Michigan and came as part of a $1 million dollar renovation to the facility this summer.

    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.

    Rankings Info: Last week’s (Sept. 16) #24 ranking in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Poll represented the first time the Bulldogs have ever been ranked in the AFCA poll since it debuted in 2000 ....... D2football.com national columnist Bob Eblen had the Bulldogs listed fourth in his “Super Regional Three” Power Poll last week (Sept. 16) behind GVSU, Minnesota-Duluth and Chadron State (Neb.).

    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.

    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.

    Shutout Victory: Ferris’ win over Findlay (Sept. 13) in its 2008 home opener at Top Taggart Field 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 versus MTU.

    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 (Coopersville) 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.

    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.

    Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its 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.

    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.

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