Football

Weekly Release #5: Ferris State vs. Northern Michigan

Sept. 29, 2007 -- 2 p.m. (EDT)
Top Taggart Field - Big Rapids, Mich.

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    Nate Fricke This Week: The Ferris State University football team continues its two-game homestand by hosting the Northern Michigan Wildcats in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action Saturday, Sept. 29, at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for Ferris’ eighth annual Hall of Fame Game 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.

    Big Bulldog Victory: A late field goal by Ferris junior kicker Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) split the uprights from 41 yards away with only three seconds left to play as the Bulldogs upset the previously unbeaten Hillsdale Chargers 44-41 in GLIAC action Saturday (Sept. 22) evening at Top Taggart Field. The win came before a Community Health Night crowd of 2,770 fans and snapped a two-game Bulldog losing streak. The victory was also FSU's first over the Chargers since the 2004 campaign. Hillsdale narrowly held a 35-34 edge at halftime following a high-scoring first half, but neither team was able to score again until the final five minutes of the contest.

    Hall Of Fame Game: Saturday’s game represents FSU’s eighth-annual Hall of Fame Game and this year’s inductees will be honored in a special halftime ceremony. Former Bulldog football standout Mike Brooks (1992-95) is among eight individuals to be inducted this year. Brooks ranks as the program’s all-time leading tackler with 667 career stops (351 solo). The induction banquet is Friday (Sept. 28) evening starting at 7 p.m. (EDT) at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids.

    The Inductees: This year's Hall of Fame honorees are: Mike Brooks of Livonia, football (1992-95); Joe Charles of Naples, Fla., men's swimming (1987-90); Lewis Garner of Grand Rapids, men's basketball (1971-75); John Gruden of Rochester, men's ice hockey (1990-94); Karen (Volkers) Keller of Hudsonville, women's volleyball (1987-90); Scott Kelly of Charlevoix, baseball (1982-86); Danielle (Smith) Walker of Norton Shores, women's basketball (1987-91); and coach Ron English of Charlotte, men's and women's golf (1979-97).

    The Records: Ferris State, presently 2-2-0 overall this year and 1-2 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 were 3-2 at home and 5-1 on the road a season ago. Northern Michigan currently holds both an 0-3 overall and conference mark after Saturday (Sept. 22) evening’s 42-37 home setback to Saginaw Valley State at the Superior Dome in Marquette, Mich. Despite being winless to date, the Wildcats have only been outscored by eight points (108 to 100) on the year. Last season, NMU compiled a 3-7 overall record and placed tied for 10th in the league standings. NMU was 1-4 in road outings last season and currently 0-1 in such games this year.

    The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 13th season, 79-57-0 (.581) – (9-3-0 vs. NMU). Pierce has compiled a 41-25-0 (.621) coaching mark in home contests and is 31-22-0 (.585) 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), 2nd season, 3-10-0 (.231); Career: 21st season, 96-106-0 (.475) – (0-1-0 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.

    GLIAC Weekly Honor: FSU’s Jim Yates was named this week's (Sept. 24) GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week following his game-winning 41-yard field goal in Saturday's victory. In addition to splitting the uprights on the career-long kick, Yates also converted five of his PAT attempts in the outing. He punted four times for 133 yards (33.2 avg.) and pinned the Chargers inside their own 20 on two occasions. Yates also kicked off for the Bulldogs and compiled 454 kickoff yards on eight attempts (56.8 avg.) in a solid all-around performance.

    Hall Of Fame Game: The Bulldogs are 3-4-0 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 two of its last three Hall of Fame outings to date, but dropped a 28-6 decision to nationally top-ranked rival Grand Valley State last year (10/28). FSU is averaging 25.3 points per game (177 total pts.) while the opposition has averaged 31.0 points an outing (217 total pts.) in the past seven Hall of Fame games.

    All-Purpose Weapon: Senior slot receiver Robert Miller (Carson, Calif.) had a productive all-around game with 127 rushing yards, 31 receiving yards and 60 return yards versus Hillsdale. Miller carried the ball 17 times for 127 yards and two scores while adding 31 receiving yards on a team-best two catches. He returned three kickoffs for 60 total yards, tallied 218 all-purpose yards and averaged 7.5 yards per rush. Miller carried the ball twice for 19 yards on FSU’s final six-play drive to set up the field goal.

    On Defense: Senior defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvada, Colo./West) registered five tackles, including three solo stops, and earned both a tackle for loss and sack in the Hillsdale contest. Hout also forced a fumble and blocked a Charger punt. He was credited with a 26-yard punt return on the block, which was his first in a Bulldog uniform.

    First Touchdown: Senior H-back Kirk Covey (Cedar Springs) ran for a personal career-high 59 yards on six carries and scored his first collegiate touchdown in the fourth quarter for the Bulldogs versus Hillsdale. All of his rushing yardage came in the final 15 minutes of action. Covey’s touchdown run with 2:24 remaining gave FSU a 41-38 advantage in the contest.

    Key Play: Junior receiver Cole Meredith (Big Rapids) came up with a key special teams play against Hillsdale. After a Bulldog touchdown in the second quarter, the ensuing kickoff was mishandled by HC’s Nick Gurica. Meredith finally came up with the recovery in the endzone, giving him his first non-receiving touchdown to go along with three TD catches in his career.

    Current NCAA Stats: FSU’s Jim Yates is currently listed sixth (1.5 pg.) nationally in made field goals per game, according to the latest (Sept. 24) NCAA-II National Statistics. Ferris’ Robert Miller is 11th overall nationally in all-purpose yards (187.5 ypg.). Senior quarterback C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa) is presently ranked 20th nationally of 500 players listed in total offense (269.0 ypg.). Defensive tackle Kurt Hout presently is found 17th nationally in forced fumbles (0.5 pg.), junior defensive back Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett) is 28th in passes defended (1.5 pg) and senior outside lineback Jordan Moore (Ada/Lowell) currently ranks 31st in solo tackles (5.5 tpg.).

    At Top Taggart Field: Ferris State is 82-58-2 (.585) at Top Taggart Field since 1980 and sports a 68-47-2 (.590) conference home ledger during that span. The Bulldogs are 61-31-2 (.656) overall since 1990, which includes a 54-28-2 (.655) league record at home.

    In The Red Zone: The Bulldogs’ offense continued its impressive red zone attack versus Hillsdale by scoring touchdowns on all four trips inside the Charger 20-yard line. FSU’s offense is operating at 94% efficiency in the red zone by converting 15 of 16 times inside the opposition’s 20-yard line this year. FSU has scored 11 touchdowns and made four field goals in its 16 trips to the red zone. Conversely, the Bulldog defense has limited the opposition to 17 red zone scores in 23 tries (74%).

    Time Difference: Ferris has averaged only 26:50 in offensive time of possession through four games, compared to the opponents’ 33:08 figure for a difference of six minutes and 18 seconds with the ball.

    Brewster Signed By San Diego: The National Football League's (NFL) San Diego Chargers signed former Ferris receiver Carlton Brewster to its practice squad last week. The 5-11 Brewster, who was released by the Green Bay Packers in August, made one reception for 10 yards and returned three kickoffs for 23 yards in three preseason outings with the Packers. Brewster, who has been assigned jersey #11 with San Diego, is the only non-rookie on the Chargers' current eight-player practice squad. A 2005 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America Team member and an Associated Press (AP) Little All-America Second-Team selection, Brewster concluded his four-year Bulldog career in 2005, ranking second among Ferris' all-time receiving leaders with 3,184 career receiving yards and 25 TD’s on 234 receptions in 43 outings.

    Taking Charge: Ferris’ win over Hillsdale was its sixth in the last seven series’ meetings versus the Chargers at Top Taggart Field. Bulldog head coach Jeff Pierce also improved to 9-4 overall in his head coaching career against HC with the victory.

    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 (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.

    More Preseason Honors: Defensive tackles Kurt Hout and 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).

    Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its final three home contests at Top Taggart Field. FSU's game against Northern Michigan (Sept. 29) 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.

    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.

    Up Next: After playing four of its five September contests at home, the Bulldogs open a two-game GLIAC road swing Saturday, Oct. 6, when they visit the Michigan Tech Huskies for a 1 p.m. (EDT) league tilt at MTU’s Sherman Field in Houghton, Mich. FSU then hits the road to take on the Gannon Knights Saturday, Oct. 13, starting at 1 p.m. (EDT) in Erie, Pa. Four of Ferris’ final six games this year will be on the road following Saturday’s Northern Michigan contest.

    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.

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