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This Week: The Ferris State University football team hits the road for its next two outings starting with this Saturday's (Oct. 6) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road game at Michigan Tech. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (EDT) in Houghton, Mich. Tickets can be obtained by contacting the MTU Athletics Office at (906) 487-3070. The game will be a part of the Huskies’ annual homecoming activities.
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 is also slated to be available via MTU’s official athletics website at www.michigantechhuskies.com. Live internet statistics via “GameTracker” will also be available during the game and can be found on FSU’s athletics website (www.ferris.edu/sports) or the MTU site.
Two In A Row: Ferris registered its second consecutive victory and closed out a two-game homestand with a 31-13 league win over Northern Michigan in the school's eighth annual Hall of Fame Game Saturday (Sept. 29) afternoon at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The host Bulldogs jumped out to a 10-6 halftime advantage and then scored the next 21 consecutive points in improving to 3-2 overall and 2-2 in GLIAC action. The Wildcats, who had been outscored by only eight points all year entering the contest, remained winless with an 0-4 overall and league mark this campaign.
Leading The Charge: Senior quarterback C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa) accounted for 312 of Ferris State’s 420 yards of total offense in the victory over Northern Michigan. The 6-4 Van Wieren ran for 99 yards on 19 carries (5.2 avg.) and scored once on the ground. He also completed 16-of-27 passes for 213 yards and one TD pass.
Big Day For Fricke: Senior receiver Nate Fricke (Covert) had his most productive day this campaign in the win over the Wildcats. Fricke caught a season-high seven passes for 121 yards and scored his first touchdown of the year on a 23-yard pass from C.J. Van Wieren in the third quarter. In addition, the 5-8 Fricke also became only the 18th player in Bulldog history to go over the 1,000 career receiving yards mark. He’s presently made 71 catches for 1,007 career yards and tallied nine TD’s.
First Touchdown: Junior outside linebacker Jeff Hollandsworth (Livonia/Stevenson) scored his first collegiate touchdown Saturday on a fumble recovery return for FSU. Ferris senior linebacker Jordan Moore (Ada/Lowell) scooped up a Northern Michigan fumble at the Wildcat 42-yard line and ran 32 yards with the ball before pitching it off to Hollandsworth, who finished the return from 10 yards out for the score.
The Records: Ferris State, presently 3-2-0 overall this year and 2-2 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. Michigan Tech currently holds a 3-3 overall and 3-2 conference mark after Saturday’s (Sept. 29) 37-0 league road loss at Hillsdale. The Huskies have dropped two consecutive games to date. Last season, MTU compiled a 6-4 overall record and placed fourth in the league standings. Michigan Tech was 3-2 in home outings last season and currently 1-1 in such games this year.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 13th season, 80-57-0 (.584) – (6-6-0 vs. MTU). Pierce has compiled a 38-32-0 (.543) coaching mark in road contests and is 29-21-0 (.580) 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.
Michigan Tech – Tom Kearly (Winona State, 1980), 2nd season, 9-6-0 (.600) – (1-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Kearly spent six seasons at MTU as associate head coach and offensive coordinator prior to becoming head coach last campaign. He previously spent 19 years at Central Michigan, including the last six as associate head coach and the final nine as offensive coordinator. Kearly is the son of former MTU football coach and athletics director Ted Kearly (1969-72).
Long Trip To Houghton: Ferris has dropped each of its last three meetings against the Huskies in Houghton, including a 35-19 setback in the most recent contest two years ago (10/22/05). However, the Bulldogs had won seven consecutive series’ games versus MTU in the Upper Peninsula prior to the current stretch. Overall, the Huskies have claimed a victory over FSU each of the last four years, which includes wins across the bridge in both 2003 and 2005.
Bulldog Odds & Ends: Ferris is presently ranked 54th nationally of 148 Division II programs listed in this week’s (Oct. 1) College Sports Report National Rankings, which can be found online at www.collegesportsreport.com ......... 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 represents the first time since playing four-straight games at home in October of 1937 that the Bulldogs have played four home games in a particular month of the season.
Hall Of Fame Success: The Bulldogs improved to 4-4-0 overall in their annual Hall of Fame game with the win over NMU. Ferris has currently won three of its last four Hall of Fame games overall.
Success In The Zone: Ferris’ offense was a perfect two-for-two in red zone scoring chances versus NMU. To date this year, the Bulldogs have converted 17-of-18 times (.944) inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. FSU has scored 13 touchdowns and made four field goals in its 17 scoring trips to the red zone this campaign. Conversely, the Bulldog defense has limited the opposition to 19 red zone scores in 28 tries (68%). Ferris ranks as the GLIAC’s leader in offensive red zone efficiency and is third in red zone defense to date this season.
Nice Game: FSU junior middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) had a solid all-around defensive effort versus NMU. The 6-3 Noe made nine tackles, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in the Bulldog victory. Four of Noe’s nine tackles were solo stops. His 17-yard interception return in the third quarter set up a Bulldog touchdown while his fumble recovery early in the fourth frame thwarted a Wildcat scoring drive at the Bulldog two-yard line.
Things To Note: FSU senior defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvada, Colo./West) played a key role in the Bulldogs’ victory over NMU, but may have had a bigger performance following the contest. The preseason All-America selection and pro prospect proposed to his girlfriend and the two became engaged on the field following the contest ......... Bulldog junior defensive end Travis “Snoop” Eising (Marion), who’s saw action in the past two games on special teams for FSU, is among this year’s candidates for homecoming king at Ferris State. The announcement will be made at halftime of the Bulldogs’ homecoming contest versus Ashland (Oct. 20).
Current NCAA Stats: FSU senior defensive end Erik Schumacher (Lake Isabella/Beal City) is currently listed fourth (0.6 pg.) nationally in forced fumbles, according to the latest (Oct. 1) NCAA-II National Statistics. Junior defensive back Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett) is eighth in passes defended (1.8 pg.), junior kicker-punter Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) ranks 11th in made field goals (1.4 pg.), quarterback C.J. Van Wieren is 15th in total offense (277.6 ypg.) and senior receiver Robert Miller (Carson, Calif.) ranks 26th overall nationally in all-purpose yards (156.8 ypg.). As a team, the Bulldogs rank fifth in fumble recoveries (9.0) along with 32nd in net punting (34.75 avg.) and 39th in rushing offense (192.4 ypg.).
Time Difference: Ferris has averaged only 27:26 in offensive time of possession through five games, compared to the opponents’ 32:32 figure for a difference of five minutes and six seconds with the ball.
Worth Noting: The Bulldogs have posted a 12-4-0 overall record in their sixth game of the year dating back to 1990. One of those game six losses came last year (10/7/06) when the Huskies recorded a 41-7 win at Top Taggart Field.
Did You Know?: Ferris is 20-5-0 (.800) when scoring at least 20 points in a contest against Michigan Tech and conversely is 3-22-4 (.172) when scoring below the 20-points total for a game.
Miller Earns National Honors: Senior receiver Robert Miller was chosen late last week (Sept. 26) as a Don Hansen's Football Gazette National Player of the Week 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 last week and one of only two selected in the all-purpose category along with Weston Dressler of North Dakota State University. 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.
Leading The League: The Bulldog defense has came up with a league-leading nine fumble recoveries this year and returned two of them for a GLIAC-best two touchdowns this campaign.
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).
Two Home Games Left: The Bulldogs have two home games remaining this year at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. 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.
GLIAC Award Honorees: Ferris has had two GLIAC Players of the Week this season. C.J. Van Wieren earned the league’s weekly offensive distinction after FSU’s 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.
Up Next: FSU hits the road again 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, including Saturday’s outing at Michigan Tech, will be on the road this campaign.
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.