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Weekly Release #10: Ferris State at Hillsdale

Nov. 1, 2008 -- 2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Muddy Waters Stadium -- Hillsdale, Mich.

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    This Week: The Ferris State University football team hits the road to take on the Hillsdale Chargers in its final regular-season road game Saturday, Nov. 1, at HC’s Frank “Muddy” Waters Stadium in Hillsdale, Mich. Kickoff for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter is set for 2:30 p.m. (EDT).

    Terrell Heggins Ticket Information: Tickets will be available at the game or for more information, please contact the Hillsdale Athletics Office at (517) 437-7364.

    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.

    Another Close One: Junior quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago) hooked up with redshirt freshman receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) on a 50-yard touchdown pass with only 28 seconds left to lift Ferris to a narrow 19-13 GLIAC victory over Northwood last Saturday (Oct. 25) afternoon at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs drove 68 yards on three plays in 42 seconds for the winning score after Northwood's Pat Sijan missed a potential game-winning 49-yard field goal try for the Timberwolves with 1:10 remaining. The crowd of 1,633 fans braved chilly and drizzly conditions for much of the game as FSU celebrated Reunion Day by honoring its first-ever unbeaten team from the 1968 season. The Bulldogs held a slim 339 to 324 edge in total offensive yards with 117 coming on the ground and 222 in the air.

    Claiming The Close Ones: Five of Ferris’ six wins this campaign have been decided by seven points or less. The Bulldogs scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final 37 seconds of four of those contests - at Ashland (Sept. 6), vs. Northern Michigan (Sept. 27), at Indianapolis (Oct. 11) and vs. Northwood (Oct. 25). Seven of FSU’s nine outings this season have been determined by 14 points or less and the Bulldogs are 6-1 in those contests. Ferris is 5-0 in games decided by seven points or less.

    Winning Season: The Bulldogs officially recorded their fifth winning season in the last six years with Saturday’s triumph over Northwood. It marks the Bulldogs’ 14th winning season in the last 20 campaigns and is the ninth winning season for head coach Jeff Pierce 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.

    The Records: Ferris State is currently 6-3 this season and 5-3 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 19-13 home win over Northwood. 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 3-2 in road games in 2008. Hillsdale is presently 5-4 overall and 4-4 in the GLIAC after last Saturday’s (Oct. 25) 14-7 league loss at Wayne State. HC recorded a 8-3 overall record in 2007 and placed third in the league with a 7-3 conference mark. The Chargers are presently 4-1 in home games this year after recording a 5-1 record in home games last fall (2007).

    The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 91-61-0 (.599) – (9-4-0 vs. HC). Pierce has compiled a 45-34-0 (.570) coaching mark in road encounters and is 21-8-0 (.724) 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.

    Hillsdale – Keith Otterbein (Hillsdale, 1979), 7th season, 36-39-0 (.480); Career: 15th season, 96-78-3 (.551) – (2-4-0 vs. Ferris State). Otterbein served as head coach at Ferris State for nine seasons (1986-94) and then spent seven years (1995-01) as the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach at NCAA Division I Ball 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 366-406-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s win over Northwood.

    Key Game Facts: Saturday’s game against Hillsdale will mark the third time in the last four years the Bulldogs have visited Muddy Waters Stadium. Ferris dropped two series’ road games to the Chargers in back-to-back years (2005 & 2006) before posting a 44-41 triumph in last year’s contest at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs are 6-3-1 overall in their last 10 trips to Hillsdale dating back to 1989.

    We Meet Again: Hillsdale head coach Keith Otterbein previously served as FSU’s head coach from 1986-94. He led the Bulldogs to a 60-39-3 (.603) ledger in his nine years at the Bulldog helm. FSU made trips to the NCAA-II playoffs in each of his final three seasons. His best season at the FSU helm came in 1994 as he guided the Bulldogs to an 11-1 overall mark and the school's third consecutive Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference Championship his final campaign. Otterbein was one of six inductees into Ferris’ Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

    Tied For Fourth: Ferris remains tied for fourth place in the GLIAC standings after Saturday’s win. Grand Valley State (8-0) heads the league standings with Ashland (6-2) and Wayne State (6-2) tied for second. Ferris, Michigan Tech and Saginaw Valley State all own 5-3 league marks with Hillsdale one game behind (4-4) in seventh place.

    GLIAC Award Winner: Ferris senior kicker/punter Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) claimed this week’s GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week honor. Yates had a solid afternoon for the Bulldogs against Northwood as he converted two field goal tries from 24-yards out and punted six times for 265 yards (44.2 avg.). Three of his punts landed inside the opponents' 20-yard line and one went for 54 yards. He also kicked off five times for 316 total yards (63.2 avg.) in handling all of the Bulldogs' punting and kicking chores in the contest.

    The Fourth Honoree: Jim Yates’ selection this week marks the fourth time a Bulldog player has earned one of the GLIAC's weekly award honors this campaign as senior All-America defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) and junior safety Chad Wilson (Howell) both previously picked up recognition on the defensive side while junior quarterback Kyle Parrish was an offensive selection this year.

    Shutting Them Down: The Bulldogs currently have allowed the third-fewest points in the GLIAC this season. FSU has given up 156 points in eight league games, ranking behind only Grand Valley State (102) and Wayne State (106).

    On The Ground: FSU’s current 174.4 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.

    Top Ten List: Ferris senior DT Jake Visser currently ranks 10th on the school’s career tackles chart with 371 tackles in his career. He also is listed fourth on the FSU all-time sack leaders list with 25.5 sacks in his career and is 3.5 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.

    Tough To Beat: The Bulldogs have presently emerged victorious in eight of their last nine games determined by a touchdown or less dating back to last season’s thrilling 44-41 league home win (9/22/07) over Hillsdale. FSU has won seven-straight such contests and the squad’s only setback in games decided by less than seven points over the last two years was a 37-35 homecoming loss to Ashland in 2007 (10/20).

    Season Road Finales: The Bulldogs are 29-27-1 (.518) in their final regular-season road appearances of a campaign since 1950 and have won 13 of their last 16 such outings to date. Ferris beat Wayne State 17-13 in its last road game of the year in 2007 (11/10) and previously topped Northwood by a 17-14 count in its final road game of the 2006 campaign (11/4).

    Moving Up: Senior linebacker Jeff Hollandsworth (Livonia/Stevenson) currently has 296 career tackles and ranks 20th on the school’s all-time career list. He needs four more to tie Dan Krupp (1984-87) for 19th place.

    Big Win For Pierce: The contest at Indianapolis (Oct. 11) was the Bulldogs’ 150th game with Jeff Pierce as head coach. Pierce earned his 90th career win with the victory and owns a current 91-60 (.599) career mark at the Bulldog helm. He became Ferris’ all-time winningest coach in the 2004 season and surpassed current Hillsdale head coach Keith Otterbein (1986-94; 60-39-3) for the program’s top honor.

    One More Left: After Saturday’s game, the Bulldogs return home to host Saginaw Valley State in their regular-season finale Saturday, Nov. 8, with the league kickoff and Senior Day game set to start at 12 p.m. (EDT) at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich.

    In November: The Bulldogs have currently compiled a 21-9-0 (.700) record in November contests since 1995. FSU is 11-3-0 (.786) on the road and 10-6-0 (.625) at home during that span. Ferris won both of its November games last year with a 48-41 overtime home win over Northwood (11/3) and a 17-13 regular-season finale triumph at Wayne State (11/10).

    Number Ten: Saturday’s game against Hillsdale represents FSU’s 10th game of the season. The Bulldogs have registered a 12-6 (.667) mark in the 10th game of the year dating back to 1990. Last season (11/3/07), the Bulldogs beat Northwood in overtime 48-41 at home in game number ten at FSU’s Top Taggart Field.

    Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs are listed 10th in this week’s Super Regional Three Rankings issued on Monday (Oct. 27) after previously not being ranked last week. Five GLIAC schools are included in the current top 10 regional poll including Grand Valley State (#1), Ashland (#4), Michigan Tech (#7), Wayne State (#9) and Ferris (#10). New rankings will be announced each Monday until the end of the season.

    Among The Leaders: The Bulldogs are listed 13th nationally in pass defense (155.2 ypg.), 29th in total defense (295.9 ypg.), 30th in scoring defense (18.7 ppg.), 39th in pass efficiency defense (109.4), 43rd in rushing offense (174.4 ypg.) along with 69th in net punting (32.3) according to the latest NCAA-II National Statistics released on Monday (Oct. 27). In the GLIAC, Ferris is first in pass defense, first in pass efficiency defense, second in total defense, third in scoring defense, fourth in rushing defense and fifth 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 its final home contest this season. Senior Day activities will take place on Nov. 8 during FSU's regular-season home finale against Saginaw Valley State with the squad’s seniors being recognized prior to their final home contest at Top Taggart Field. Kickoff is at 12 p.m. (EDT).

    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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