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This Week: The Ferris State University football team hosts the Northwood Timberwolves in their regular-season home finale Saturday, Nov. 3, at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for the annual Senior Day game and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter is set for 2 p.m. (EDT). Tickets for all home games are available at the gate or may be purchased in advance by contacting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888. In addition, tickets can be bought online at www.starticketsplus.com.
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 charge of $6 on FSU’s Athletics Website at www.ferris.edu/sports (Click on B2 Networks icon). Live internet statistics via “GameTracker” will also be available during the game via FSU’s athletics website.
Senior Day Contest: Twelve Ferris State seniors will be making their final career appearance at Top Taggart Field this Saturday (11/3) versus Northwood – Bill Bourdlais, Kirk Covey, Michael Daniels, Nate Fricke, Mike Guevara, Kurt Hout, Cory Jones, Robert Miller, Erik Schumacher, Levi Slager, C.J. Van Wieren and Patrick Wells. Ferris will recognize the 12 seniors prior to the contest. Three players listed as current seniors on the FSU roster have an additional season of eligibility remaining and can return next season, including Jordan Moore, Joe Hardy and Kyle Williams.
Anchor-Bone Loss: Nationally top-ranked Grand Valley State exploded for 21 first quarter points en route to a convincing 34-7 league win over visiting Ferris State last Saturday (Oct. 27) evening at GVSU's Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich. The victory allowed the two-time defending national champions to maintain their hold on the Anchor Bone Trophy, which is annually presented to the winner of the West Michigan rivalry. The Lakers built a 34-0 halftime lead. Turnovers hampered the Bulldog effort as FSU turned the ball over on its first three drives of the contest and finished with a fumble to go along with four interceptions. The contest was played before a crowd of 10,858 fans at Lubbers Stadium.
Great Individual Effort: Junior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) tallied a game-high and career-best 19 tackles in Saturday’s loss to Grand Valley State. The 6-2 Visser totaled eight solo stops along with 11 assisted hits in the setback. He also blocked a field goal attempt, produced one-half sack for a loss of six yards and added 1.5 tackles for loss, which resulted in 11 lost yards. His previous career-high was 14 tackles in two different 2005 contests.
The Records: Ferris State, presently 4-5-0 overall this year and 3-5 in the GLIAC, 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 are currently 3-2 at home to date this year. Northwood currently holds a 4-4 overall and 4-4 conference mark after Saturday’s (Oct. 27) 45-25 league road win at Wayne State. Last season, NU compiled a 8-3 overall record and placed second in the league standings with an 8-2 conference ledger. The Timberwolves reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs last season, but lost in the first round. NU is presently 2-2 on the road this campaign.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 13th season, 81-60-0 (.574) – (8-4-0 vs. NU). Pierce has compiled a 42-26-0 (.618) coaching mark in home contests and is 18-9-0 (.667) 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.
Northwood – Pat Riepma (Hillsdale, 1983), 15th season, 88-69-2 (.560) – (4-10-0 vs. Ferris State). Riepma is a four-time GLIAC Coach of the Year recipient, which is the most among active conference head coaches. He became the all-time winningest coach in NU history with this past Saturday’s (11/3) win at Wayne State.
Home Finales: Ferris State has compiled a 15-7-0 (.682) record in its final home regular-season appearance per campaign since 1985. The Bulldogs sport a 11-6-0 (.647) mark since 1990 and have won three of their last six such outings to date. FSU posted a 21-17 season-ending home win over Wayne State last season (11/11). Ferris State’s last win in a regular-season home finale contest prior to last year was in 2002 (11/9) with a 30-8 decision over Ashland.
Keep Booting: Junior kicker-punter Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) ranks tied for sixth on FSU’s single-season leaders list with nine made field goals this season. That figure represents the GLIAC’s second-best total this year. Presently, he’s listed third in field goals per game (1.00 pg) along with sixth in punting (39.5 avg.). Yates’ 56 total points this year are the school’s most in a season since former tailback Derek Fudge netted 90 points on 15 touchdowns in 2003.
Key Note: The Bulldogs can post their fourth winning season in the last five years by picking up a victory in each of their two remaining games this campaign.
Almost Perfect: Ferris State has been almost perfect in the red zone this season. FSU has scored in 28 of its 30 trips (93.3%) inside the opponents’ 20-yard line this season. Ferris has scored 22 touchdowns and made six field goals in its 28 scoring trips to the red zone this campaign. Conversely, the Bulldog defense has limited the opposition to 35 red zone scores in 50 tries (70%). Ferris ranks as the GLIAC’s leader in offensive red zone efficiency and is third in red zone defense to date this season.
The League’s Best: The Bulldog defense has returned two fumble recoveries for a GLIAC-best two touchdowns this campaign. Ferris State’s 11 fumble recoveries overall rank tied for third in the league to date this campaign while FSU’s 57 fumble return yards is a conference-high.
Offensive Production: The Bulldog offense had been averaging 34 points per game in its previous five contests prior to the GVSU game. FSU has scored 30 or more points in five games this year, including four of the last six outings to date. Overall, the Bulldogs are averaging 28.3 points per game on the season.
Great Numbers: Senior defensive end Erik Schumacher (Lake Isabella/Beal City) has a personal career-high 5.5 sacks to date this year. He has also forced three fumbles, blocked two kicks and recovered a fumble while ranking fifth among the team’s tackles leaders with 42 total stops.
Current NCAA Stats: FSU senior defensive end Erik Schumacher is currently listed 22nd (0.33 pg.) nationally in forced fumbles, according to the latest (Oct. 29) NCAA-II National Statistics. Jim Yates ranks 21st in made field goals (1.0 pg.), senior quarterback C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa) is 33rd in total offense (246.0 ypg.) and senior slot Robert Miller (Carson, Calif.) ranks 49th overall nationally in all-purpose yards (129.9 ypg.). Jake Visser is 31st in total tackles (9.6 pg.) with junior middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) 35th in the same category (9.4 pg.). As a team, the Bulldogs rank 32nd in fumble recoveries (11.0) along with 40th in rushing offense (187.3 ypg.).
Closing In On Mark: FSU senior slot receiver Robert Miller currently has 965 career rushing yards and is only 35 yards away from surpassing the 1,000 career yards mark. The 5-8 Miller has 2,356 career all-purpose yards in only 20 games at Ferris State. He has a team-high 27 catches this season and ranks second among the team’s rushing leaders with 434 yards on 73 carries (5.9 avg.).
Top Taggart Anniversary: The 2007 season marks the 50th anniversary of FSU’s Top Taggart Field, which has served as the home for Bulldog football since 1957. Officially dedicated in October of 1978, the stadium is central located on the FSU campus and features a current seating capacity of 6,200 .............. Ferris’ six home games this campaign are the school’s most since playing six games at home in 1997 ...... Ferris’ four home games during the month of September this year were the school’s most in the first month of the season ever. It also was the first time since playing four-straight games at home in October of 1937 that the Bulldogs had played four home games in a particular month of the season.
One Game Left: After Saturday’s game against Northwood, the Bulldogs have only one contest left this year as they will close the season at Wayne State (Nov. 10). Kickoff will be at 12 p.m. (EDT) in Detroit, Mich.
Next Season: Next year, the 2008 campaign will mark the 100th season of Bulldog football. Plans are currently underway to help commemorate the anniversary next season. In addition, next year will also represent the 40th anniversary of Ferris’ first-ever unbeaten team in 1968 (7-0-1) and a special reunion is being planned for players involved on that particular team.
Run Ferris Run: FSU’s current 187.3 rushing yards per game ranks fourth on the school’s single-season leaders list to date. Ferris’ top figure was a 229.4 average on the ground in 1999.
In November Games: The Bulldogs have currently compiled a 18-9-0 (.667) record in November contests since 1995. FSU is 10-3-0 (.769) on the road and 8-6-0 (.571) at home during that span. Ferris won both of its November games last year with a 17-14 road win at Northwood (11/4) and a 21-17 regular-season finale triumph at home over Wayne State (11/11).
GLIAC Award Honorees: Ferris has had three GLIAC Players of the Week this season. Two weeks ago (Oct. 15), senior defensive end Erik Schumacher was recognized as the defensive player of the week after his performance in a win over Gannon (Oct. 13). FSU’s C.J. Van Wieren earned the league’s weekly offensive distinction after the Bulldogs’ season-opener versus Kentucky State (Sept. 1) while Jim Yates claimed the special teams honor following his game-winning 41-yard field goal with three seconds left in FSU’s 44-41 triumph over Hillsdale (Sept. 22) at Top Taggart Field.
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.
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.
Preseason Honors: FSU senior guard Bill Bourdlais (Newberry) and junior defensive tackle Jake Visser 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.
More Preseason Honors: Senior defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvada, Colo./West) and junior defensive tackle Jake Visser were chosen as 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 also 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.
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 correspondent 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).
Preseason Rankings: 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 is covering 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.
National Player Of The Week: FSU’s C.J. Van Wieren was named the 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 a 42-19 season-opening home win over Kentucky State (Sept. 1). 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.
Miller Earns National Honor: Senior receiver Robert Miller was chosen as a Don Hansen's Football Gazette National Player of the Week (Sept. 26) after his all-purpose performance in FSU’s thrilling 44-41 Bulldog victory over Hillsdale (Sept. 22) at Top Taggart Field. The 5-8 Miller was among 11 NCAA Division II players to earn national recognition and one of only two selected in the all-purpose category. Miller had a productive all-around game against the Chargers in league action with 127 rushing yards, 31 receiving yards and 60 return yards. He carried the ball 17 times for 127 yards and two scores while adding 31 receiving yards on a team-best two catches. Miller also returned three kickoffs for 60 total yards, tallied 218 all-purpose yards and averaged 7.5 yards per rush. He carried the ball twice for 19 yards on FSU’s final six-play drive, which set up a game-winning 41-yard field goal by Jim Yates with only three seconds left to play.
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.