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This Week: The Ferris State University football team completes its two-game homestand by hosting the Northwood Timberwolves in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action Saturday, Oct. 25, at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. (EDT) and the school’s undefeated 1968 Bulldog team will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a special reunion in addition to being honored at halftime.
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.
History Project: Mary Barbot's fourth grade class from Brookside Elementary in Big Rapids will be presenting a history of Bulldog football project on Saturday inside the main entrance to the stadium.
Media Coverage: Saturday’s game will be carried live locally by WYBR (102.3 FM) with John Smith 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.
FSU Suffers Setback: Ferris State turned the ball over four times and was held scoreless as the visiting Wayne State Warriors recorded a 19-0 shutout over the Bulldogs in FSU's annual homecoming contest last Saturday (Oct. 18) afternoon at Top Taggart Field. The Warriors' victory represented the Bulldogs' first shutout loss at home since falling to Grand Valley State in their 1989 homecoming game (10/7/09) by a score of 28-0. It also came before a season-high crowd of 3,869 fans. Ferris took the loss despite holding a 311 to 179 edge in total yards. The Bulldogs also had 22 first downs compared to only 11 for the Warriors.
Too Close To Call: Four of Ferris’ five wins this campaign have been decided by seven points or less. The Bulldogs scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final 37 seconds of three of those contests - at Ashland (Sept. 6), vs. Northern Michigan (Sept. 27) and at Indianapolis (Oct. 11). Six of FSU’s eight outings this season have been determined by 14 points or less and the Bulldogs are 5-1 in those contests.
One More Win: The Bulldogs can post their fifth winning season in the last six years by topping Northwood in Saturday’s contest.
The Records: Ferris State is currently 5-3 this season and 4-3 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 19-0 loss to Wayne State. 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 2-1 in home games in 2008. Northwood is presently 2-5 overall and 2-5 in the GLIAC after last Saturday’s (Oct. 18) 31-28 league road win at Tiffin. NU recorded a 5-5 overall record in 2007 and placed tied for sixth in the league with a 5-5 conference mark. The Timberwolves are presently 1-3 in road games this year after recording a 2-3 record in away games last fall (2007).
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 90-61-0 (.596) – (9-4-0 vs. NU). Pierce has compiled a 45-27-0 (.625) coaching mark in home encounters and is 31-26-0 (.544) in October contests to date. Pierce, who played at Ferris (defensive back) from 1974-77, is the 12th head coach in Ferris State’s history.
Northwood – Mike Sullivan (Saginaw Valley State, 1998), 1st season, 2-5-0 (.286) – (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Sullivan became NU’s seventh head coach last winter after serving six seasons as the squad’s Associate Head Coach along with eight years as the program’s offensive line coach. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at fellow GLIAC rival Saginaw Valley State.
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 365-406-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s loss to Wayne State.
Reunion Day: Ferris’ 1968 squad was the school’s first and still the only team to finish an entire campaign unbeaten, including postseason action. The team opened the year with a tie before winning seven-straight games under head coach Bob Leach to finish with a 7-0-1 overall record after going winless (0-7-1) the year before in 1967.
Reunion Info: The 1968 team will be recognized as part of a special halftime ceremony. A reunion banquet featuring a social hour, dinner, program and music will take place for the ‘68 team following the contest at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center sponsored by the FSU Alumni Association. More than 30 former players and coaches are expected to attend the reunion, which has been in the planning stages for nearly a year. They will also help dedicate the new Victory Bell at Top Taggart Field on Saturday morning before the game.
Tied For Fourth: Ferris slipped to a tie for fourth place in the GLIAC standings after Saturday’s loss to Wayne State. Grand Valley State (7-0) heads the league standings with Ashland (6-1) second. Michigan Tech and WSU both own 5-2 league marks and are tied for third with the Bulldogs, Saginaw Valley State and Hillsdale behind them at 4-3 in the GLIAC.
GLIAC Award Winner: Ferris junior quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago) claimed last week’s GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honor after coming off the bench to set a new school record with 477 total offensive yards at Indianapolis (Oct. 11). Parrish received his first extensive game action of the season after starting redshirt freshman QB Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) went down with an injury in the first quarter and threw for a career-high 404 yards passing with four touchdowns on 26-of-41 attempts. He also ran for a team-high 73 rushing yards on nine carries (8.1 avg.). The 6-1 Parrish threw three touchdown passes of 44 yards or more.
Reception Mark: Bulldog senior wide receiver Cole Meredith (Big Rapids) notched his 50th career reception against Wayne State. Meredith currently has 51 career catches for 716 yards and five touchdowns, which includes 20 receptions for 232 yards and one TD this fall.
Solid Defense: The Bulldogs currently have allowed the third-fewest points in the GLIAC this season. FSU has given up 143 points in seven league games, ranking behind only Grand Valley State (60) and Wayne State (99).
Tough On The Run: With three regular-season games remaining this season, the Bulldogs have given up the third-fewest rushing yards in a year in school history. The Bulldogs have allowed only 1,036 rushing yards in eight games (129.5 ypg.). FSU gave up a school-low 895 yards on the ground in its unbeaten 1968 campaign.
On The Ground: FSU’s current 181.6 rushing yards per game ranks seventh on the school’s single-season leaders list to date. Ferris’ top figure was a 229.4 average on the ground in 1999.
Into The Top Ten: Ferris senior DT Jake Visser (Coopersville) moved into 10th place on the school’s career tackles chart with a team-high 11 stops versus Wayne State, which gives him 360 tackles in his career. He also moved into sole possession of fourth place on the FSU all-time sack leaders list with a single sack against the Warriors. Visser presently has 24.5 sacks in his career and is 4.5 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.
Trio Of Catchers: The FSU combination of Cole Meredith, senior flanker Rahseem Jones-Salaam (Baldwin) and sophomore slot Tim Hogue (Dearborn/Inskter) have combined to make 72 of the Bulldogs’ 102 pass receptions (71%) this campaign. Hogue has a team-best 28 catches while Jones-Salaam has grabbed 24 passes and Meredith has caught 20 balls. Between the three, they’ve totaled 903 of the squad’s 1,276 pass receiving yards this year.
Big Win For Pierce: The contest at Indianapolis (Oct. 11) was the Bulldogs’ 150th game with Jeff Pierce as head coach. The all-time winningest coach in FSU history, Pierce earned his 90th career win with the victory and owns a 90-60 (.600) career mark at the Bulldog helm.
Good Month: The Bulldogs have compiled a 50-28-1 (.639) record in October contests since 1990. FSU is 27-16-0 (.628) on the road and 23-12-1 (.653) at home during that span in the month of October.
Up Next: Ferris visits the Hillsdale Chargers for its final regular-season road game of the 2008 season next Saturday (Nov. 1). Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (EDT) at HC’s Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium in Hillsdale, Mich.
Two At Home: Including Saturday’s game versus Northwood, the Bulldogs have only two home games remaining this year at Top Taggart Field. After a visit next week (Nov. 1) to Hillsdale, the Bulldogs take on Saginaw Valley State in their regular-season finale at home on Saturday, Nov. 8, with kickoff for the annual Senior Day game set for 12 p.m. (EDT).
The Final Three: FSU has three games left this year. Ferris has won at least two of its final three games of a year 14 times in the last 18 seasons dating back to 1990, including two consecutive years to date. The Bulldogs have won 58% (31-23) of their final three games of a campaign since 1990, but the figure jumps to 67% (36-18) counting regular-season games only and not playoff action.
Number Nine: Saturday’s game against Northwood represents FSU’s ninth game of the season. The Bulldogs have registered a 13-5 (.722) mark in the ninth game of the year dating back to 1990.
Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs were not listed in this week’s Super Regional Three Rankings issued on Monday (Oct. 20) after previously being ranked ninth last week. Four GLIAC schools are included in the current top 10 regional poll including Grand Valley State (#1), Ashland (#3), Michigan Tech (#4) and Wayne State (#10). New rankings will be announced each Monday until the end of the season.
Did You Know?: The Bulldogs need only one more win to post their 13th winning season in the last 20 campaigns. It would also give head coach Jeff Pierce his eighth winning season in his 14 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.
Among The Leaders: The Bulldogs are listed 22nd nationally in pass defense (162.9 ypg.), 29th in total defense (292.4 ypg.), 34th in scoring defense (19.4 ppg.), 34th in pass efficiency defense (109.7), 38th in rushing offense (181.6 ypg.) along with 59th in rushing defense (129.5 ypg.) according to the latest NCAA-II National Statistics released on Monday (Oct. 20). In the GLIAC, Ferris is second in rushing defense, second in total defense, third in scoring defense, third in pass efficiency defense, fourth in pass defense and fith in rushing offense 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.
Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its remaining home contests this season. A 40th Reunion Day for the school’s 1968 undefeated team is planned in conjunction with the Northwood game (Oct. 25). Senior Day activities will take place on 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.