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Weekly Release #7: Ferris State at Indianapolis

Oct. 11, 2008 -- 6 p.m. (EDT)
Key Stadium -- Indianapolis, Ind.

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    This Week: The Ferris State University football team continues its two-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road swing by visiting Indianapolis Saturday, Oct. 11, for a 6 p.m. (EDT) game at UI’s Key Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.

    Ticket Information: Tickets can be obtained by contacting the Indianapolis Athletics Office at (317) 788-3472.

    C.J. Lee Media Coverage: Saturday’s game will be carried live locally by WYBR (102.3 FM) with Rob Bentley handling the play-by-play duties and Sandy Gholston handling the color commentary. A live video and audio pay-per-view webcast will be available through Indianapolis 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.

    Tough Trip To Houghton: Three time-consuming scoring drives and a strong running game lifted Michigan Tech to a 21-7 league triumph over the nationally 25th-ranked Bulldogs last Saturday (Oct. 4) afternoon at MTU's Sherman Field in Houghton, Mich. The Huskies ran for 259 yards on 52 carries and limited the Bulldog offense to only 240 total yards in recording their sixth-straight series' triumph before a MTU homecoming crowd of 2,989 fans. Ferris finally got on the board in the final minute as backup quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago) found senior wideout Rahseem Jones-Salaam (Baldwin) on a 30-yard scoring strike with only 34 seconds left in the game.

    Milestone Contest: Saturday’s contest at Indianapolis will represent the Bulldogs’ 150th contest with Jeff Pierce as head coach. The all-time winningest coach in FSU history, Pierce owns a 89-60 (.597) career mark at the Bulldog helm to date.

    Rankings Note: The Bulldogs have been ranked nationally twice this campaign, but have lost a game the following week to drop from the listing. FSU previously was ranked 24th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll prior to its loss at rival Grand Valley State (Sept. 20). Last week (Sept. 30), the Bulldogs were listed 25th in both the AFCA poll and the D2football.com National Rankings before losing at Michigan Tech and falling out of both polls.

    Long Time No See: Saturday’s game between the Bulldogs and Greyounds will mark the first time the two teams have squared off against each other since 2005 (9/17) when Indianapolis recorded a 7-3 win at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids. The two teams split the six series’ meetings held from 2000 to 2005.

    The Records: Ferris State is currently 4-2 this season and 3-2 in the GLIAC after Saturday’s 21-7 loss at Michigan Tech. 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 2-2 in road games in 2008. Indianapolis is presently 3-3 overall and 2-3 in the GLIAC after last Saturday’s (Oct. 4) 27-23 home win over Northwood. Indy, which has won its last two outings to date, posted a 6-5 overall record in 2007 and finished tied for sixth in GLIAC play (5-5). The Greyhounds are currently 1-1 at home this campaign. Last year, Indianapolis recorded a 3-2 mark on its home surface at Key Stadium.

    The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 89-60-0 (.597) – (5-4-0 vs. Indy). Pierce has compiled a 44-34-0 (.564) coaching mark in road encounters and is 30-25-0 (.545) 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.

    Indianapolis – Joe Polizzi (Hillsdale, 1976), 15th season, 78-79-1(.497) – (4-6-0 vs. Ferris State). Polizzi served two seasons (1986-87) as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Ferris State. He’s the 13th head coach in UI football history.

    Coaching Collegues: Both Jeff Pierce and Joe Polizzi were members of Keith Otterbein’s coaching staff in his first two seasons (1986-87) at Ferris. Pierce replaced Polizzi as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator in 1988 after the latter went to Hillsdale and served as the Chargers’ defensive backfield coach until 1991.

    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 364-405-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s loss at MTU.

    Under The Lights: Ferris is 33-46-4 (.422) in evening games going back to 1961. The Bulldogs are 12-23-2 (.351) on the road and 21-23-2 (.478) at home during that period. Indianapolis has won all four previous night games played between the two teams, but the four previous night contests were all played at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.

    Next Week: Ferris returns home to host the Wayne State Warriors in its annual homecoming contest Saturday, Oct. 18, with the league kickoff set for 2 p.m. (EDT) at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich.

    Standings Jam: Ferris is currently in a five-way tie for third place in the GLIAC standings behind leader Grand Valley State (5-0) and Ashland (4-1). The Bulldogs, Hillsdale, Michigan Tech, Saginaw Valley State and Wayne State all own 3-2 league marks with Indianapolis a game behind (2-3).

    National Award Winner: FSU junior strong safety Chad Wilson (Howell) was honored as last week’s (Oct. 1) D2football.com National Defensive Player of the Week in addition to earning the GLIAC’s weekly defensive honor after his performance vs. Northern Michigan (Sept. 27). In addition to his game-winning 75-yard interception return, Wilson added nine tackles with six solo stops and two pass breakups. He has both of Ferris’ two interceptions on defense this season. His selection last week marked 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).

    First TD Pass: Bulldog junior quarterback Kyle Parrish threw his first TD pass at FSU with a 30-yard scoring strike to senior wideout Rahseem Jones-Salaam in the final minute at Michigan Tech. Parrish, who transferred to Ferris this season from Compton Community College in California, completed both of his two passes for 40 total yards in a relief role at MTU and also carried the ball once for seven yards.

    First TD Reception: Senior wideout Rahseem Jones-Salaam recorded his first career touchdown on the 30-yard strike from Kyle Parrish for FSU’s lone score against the Huskies. Jones-Salaam has a personal career-high nine pass receptions for 155 yards (17.2 ypc.) to date this campaign and now has 14 career receptions for 251 yards. His nine receptions this year ranks second among the team leaders.

    Still Climbing: Ferris’ Jake Visser tallied a team-high nine tackles, including seven solo stops and one tackle for loss (-2 yds.) at MTU. 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 336 career tackles and is in 11th place on the school list. He is also tied for first place with two former Bulldog greats in Monty Brown (1989-92) and Ed Philion (990-93), who both played in the NFL, with seven career fumble recoveries.

    MTU Notebook: Three Bulldog players recorded their first career tackles at Michigan Tech, including redshirt freshman center Jake Hancock (Big Rapids), junior receiver Kevin Ward (Commerce/Lakeland) and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Muneer Bawayeh (Dearborn/Fordson). Both Hancock and Ward’s stops came in special teams action ........ Saturday’s crowd of 2,989 fans at Michigan Tech represented the seventh-largest crowd in Sherman Field history.

    Veteran Trio: FSU’s starting trio of senior linebackers have compiled 37% (140 of 383) of the squad’s total tackles to date this season. The group, which includes middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) along with outside linebackers Jordan Moore (Ada/Lowell) and Jeff Hollandsworth (Livonia/Stevenson), have also teamed up to notch 79 of the team’s 229 solo stops (34%) to date this year.

    Strong In Five: This year’s 4-1 mark after five games (prior to Michigan Tech) represented the 17th time in 100 seasons the Bulldogs had 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 under Pierce.

    The Final Five: Ferris has registered a 59-30-1 (.661) record in its final five regular-season contests per season since 1990. The Bulldogs posted a 3-2 overall record in 2007 after previously compiling a 4-1 such record in the last five games of the 2006 campaign. FSU’s two losses in its last five games last year (2007) came in back-to-back weeks against the GLIAC’s top two teams in Ashland (10/20) and Grand Valley State (10/27).

    Good Month: The Bulldogs have compiled a 49-27-1 (.643) record in October contests since 1990. FSU is 26-16-0 (.619) on the road and 23-11-1 (.671) at home during that span in the month of October.

    Time Difference: The Bulldogs held a time of possession advantage in each of their first four outings this year, but the opponent has held the edge each of the last two weeks. Michigan Tech held the ball for 37:06 vs. FSU.

    Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs are listed 10th in the first NCAA-II Super Regional Three Rankings issued on Monday (Oct. 6). FSU is one of four GLIAC schools in the top 10 along with Grand Valley State (#1), Ashland (#3) and Michigan Tech (#4). New rankings will be announced each Monday until the end of the season.

    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.

    Among The Leaders: The Bulldogs are listed 30th nationally in scoring defense (18.7 ppg.) along with 28th in rushing offense (192.0 ypg.), 38th in total defense (301.0 ypg.), 42nd in pass efficiency defense (111.21), 51st in pass defense (182.8 ypg.) and 51st in rushing defense (118.2 ypg.) according to the NCAA-II National Statistics released on Monday (Oct. 6). In the GLIAC, Ferris is second in total defense, third in rushing defense, third in pass efficiency defense, fourth in pass defense, fourth in scoring defense and fifth in rushing offense.

    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 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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