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Weekly Release #6: Ferris State at Michigan Tech

Oct. 4, 2008 -- 1 p.m. (EDT)
Sherman Field -- Houghton, Mich.

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    This Week: The nationally-ranked Ferris State University football team travels to Michigan Tech this Saturday (Oct. 4) for a 1 p.m. (EDT) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game at MTU's Sherman Field in Houghton, Mich.

    Ticket Information: 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.

    Tim Hogue 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 pay-per-view webcast will be available through Michigan Tech for a pay-per-view. Live internet statistics will also be available. Links for all coverage will be posted on the FSU website at and can be found by clicking the “internet event schedule” icon at www.ferris.edu/sports.

    Nationally-Ranked: FSU vaulted back into the national rankings after a one week absence as the Bulldogs are listed 25th in two different polls released Tuesday (Sept. 30). Ferris returned to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Poll this week in the 25th spot and also garnered its first D2football.com national ranking of the season in the same position. The Bulldogs are one of only two GLIAC schools listed in either poll along with archrival Grand Valley State, which is ranked first nationally by D2football.com along with second in the AFCA poll. The Bulldogs returned to the AFCA poll this week after being considered the nation's top unranked team receiving votes for the top 25 with 32 points last week (Sept. 23). FSU was previously listed 24th nationally in the AFCA poll two weeks ago (Sept. 16), which marked the first time FSU had ever been ranked among the nation's top 25 teams in the AFCA poll since the organization began publishing its poll in 2000.

    Comeback Victory Over NMU: Ferris junior defensive back Chad Wilson (Howell) picked off a Northern Michigan pass in the final seconds and ran it back 75 yards for a game-winning touchdown to lift the Bulldogs to a thrilling 31-24 come from behind triumph over the Wildcats last Saturday (Sept. 27) afternoon in GLIAC action at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. With the score tied in the final minute, the Wildcats forced the Bulldogs to punt and took over at the 50-yard line with 22 seconds remaining in the contest. On first down, however, Wilson intercepted Carter Kopach's pass downfield at the FSU 25-yard line and cut back to the opposite side of the field before he eventually found paydirt with only four seconds left in the game. The interception came before a Ferris Hall of Fame Game crowd of 2,331 fans who saw the Bulldogs rally from a 24-10 deficit with nine and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter.

    The Records: Ferris State is currently 4-1 this season and 3-1 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 31-24 home win over Northern Michigan. 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 road games in 2008. Michigan Tech is presently 3-2 overall and 2-2 in the GLIAC after last Saturday’s (Sept. 27) 52-6 setback at Grand Valley State. MTU posted a 6-5 overall record in 2007 and finished tied for fourth in GLIAC play (6-4). The Huskies are currently 2-1 at home this campaign, but have played their last two outings on the road (1-1). Last year, Michigan Tech recorded a 4-2 mark at Sherman Field in Houghton.

    The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 89-59-0 (.601) – (6-7-0 vs. MTU). Pierce has compiled a 44-33-0 (.571) coaching mark in road encounters and is 30-24-0 (.556) 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), 3rd season, 15-11-0 (.577) – (2-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Kearly spent six seasons at MTU as associate head coach and offensive coordinator prior to becoming head coach two years ago. 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 four meetings against the Huskies in Houghton, including a 40-12 setback in the most recent contest last year (10/6/07). 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 five years, which includes wins across the bridge in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

    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 364-404-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s win over NMU.

    Next Week: Ferris visits Indianapolis Saturday, Oct. 11, for a 6 p.m. (EDT) league game at Key Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.

    GLIAC Award Winner: FSU junior strong safety Chad Wilson was named this week’s GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honor after his performance versus Northern Michigan. In addition to his game-winning 75-yard interception return, Wilson added nine tackles with six solo stops and two pass breakups in the victory. He has both of Ferris’ two interceptions on defense this season. His selection this week marks the second time a Bulldog player has earned the GLIAC's defensive weekly award this campaign as senior All-America defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) picked up the honor after FSU's win at Ashland (Sept. 6).

    Career Day: FSU sophomore slot Tim Hogue (Dearborn/Inkster) ran for a personal career-high 141 yards on 23 rushing attempts (6.1 avg.) and scored two touchdowns against Northern Michigan. He tallied a game-high 219 all-purpose yards in the victory and his netted a game-tying 26-yard TD run with under six minutes remaining. Hogue added one reception for 30 yards and eturned two kicks for 48 yards. He also scored on a 25-yard run.

    First Touchdowns: Two Bulldog players scored their first career TD’s in the win over the Wildcats and both players hail from Howell, Mich. Besides Chad Wilson’s 75-yard interception return for his first career score, redshirt freshman wide receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) also notched his first collegiate TD by hauling in a 38-yard scoring pass with 8:14 left in the game. The touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) was the Bulldogs’ second scoring play in the air this season as the squad’s other 10 offensive touchdowns have came on the ground.

    First In Awhile: The Bulldogs hadn’t returned an interception for a touchdown prior to Chad Wilson’s game-winning score this past Saturday since current senior linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) ran one back 28 yards for a score as a freshman in the final game of the 2005 season at Saginaw Valley State (11/5/05), which Ferris lost by a 39-32 score.

    Strong Quarter: Ferris’ 21 fourth-quarter points in Saturday’s win were the most the Bulldogs have scored in the final period of a game since putting up 21 points in the fourth frame of a 40-16 home win over Northwood (10/4/03).

    Defensive Stopper: Ferris’ Jake Visser tallied a game-high 11 tackles with five solo stops, three tackles for loss and one quarterback sack in the win over NMU. Visser continues to climb several lists in the FSU record book as he currently ranks tied for fourth place on the school's all-time sack leaders chart with 23.5 sacks in his career. Additionally, Visser presently has 327 career tackles is in 14th place on the school list. He is also tied with two former Bulldog greats in Monty Brown (1989-92) and Ed Philion (990-93), who both played in the NFL, with seven fumble recoveries in his career.

    NMU Notebook: FSU quarterback Tom Schneider’s seven pass completions vs. NMU went to six different receivers ........ All five of Northern Michigan’s punts came in the fourth quarter ............ Sophomore defensive lineman Jacob Moreno (Holt) tallied a career-best seven tackles ....... Redshirt freshman defensive end Wayne Pritchett (Detroit/Martin Luther King) saw his first career action against NMU and had one tackle.

    Strong In Five: This year’s 4-1 mark after five games represents the 17th time in 100 seasons the Bulldogs have emerged victorious in four of their initial five outings, including the second time in the last three years along with the 2006 season. Ferris has accomplished the feat six times under head coach Jeff Pierce. The Bulldogs have went on to win at least seven games in four of the five previous times with Pierce at the helm.

    Worth Noting: The Bulldogs have posted a 12-5-0 overall record in their sixth game of the year dating back to 1990. Two of those game six losses have came to the Huskies in the last two years – 41-7 in Big Rapids (10/7/06) and 40-12 in Houghton (10/6/07).

    Key Figure: Ferris is 20-5-0 (.800) when scoring at least 20 points in a contest against Michigan Tech and conversely is 3-23-4 (.172) when scoring below the 20-points total for a game.

    Hall Of Fame Success: The Bulldogs improved to 5-4-0 overall in their annual Hall of Fame game with the win over NMU. Ferris has currently won four of its last five Hall of Fame games overall, including two-straight against the Wildcats.

    Among The Leaders: Ferris has allowed only 450 total rushing yards in five games this year and ranks 20th nationally to date in rushing defense (90.0 ypg.). The Bulldogs are listed 26th nationally in scoring defense (18.2 ppg.) along with 27th in total defense (283.4 ypg.). In the GLIAC, Ferris is first in rushing defense, second in total defense and third in scoring defense. FSU held Tiffin to minus three (-3) yards on 21 carries in the season opener (Aug. 30). Meanwhile, FSU’s offense is averaging 202.4 yards on the ground after five contests, ranking 25th nationally.

    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.

    Power Poll: D2football.com national columnist Bob Eblen had the Bulldogs listed fifth in his “Super Regional Three” Power Poll last week (9/23) behind GVSU, Minnesota-Duluth, Chadron State (Neb.) and MTU.

    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.

    Did You Know?: The Bulldogs need only two more wins 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.

    Shutout Victory: Ferris’ win over Findlay (Sept. 13) in its 2008 home opener at Top Taggart Field represented FSU's first shutout dating back 71 games since recording a 35-0 triumph at home over Michigan Tech in 2001. It marked the program’s eighth shutout victory since 1990, but only the second in the last 12 seasons along with the 2001 game versus MTU.

    Team Captains: FSU’s team captains for the 2008 campaign are senior receiver Cole Meredith (Big Rapids) and junior quarterback Eric Grozenski (Rochester Hills/Notre Dame Prep) 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 of the four 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. Homecoming is set for Oct. 18 when the Bulldogs host Wayne State with a 40th Reunion Day for the school’s 1968 undefeated team planned in conjunction with the Northwood game (Oct. 25). Senior Day activities will take place 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.

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