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This Week: The Ferris State University football team continues its two-game season opening homestand by taking on the Mercyhurst Lakers in its 2007 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener this Saturday, Sept. 8, at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for the Community & Fireworks Night contest is set for 7 p.m. (EDT) with the annual fireworks show taking place following the game. Tickets for all home games will be 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.
Opening Day Win: Ferris State opened the 2007 campaign with a 42-19 non-league victory over Kentucky State before a crowd of 2,359 this past Saturday (Sept. 1) evening at FSU’s Top Taggart Field. Ferris scored its six touchdowns in the game over a stretch of seven-straight drives after trailing 12-7 following the opening frame. Senior quarterback C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa) helped account for five of the Bulldogs’ six touchdowns in the win.
Player Of The Week: FSU’s C.J. Van Wieren was named this week’s 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 the win over KSU. 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. Van Wieren’s performance included a 79-yard scoring toss to senior receiver Mike Guevara (Manteca, Calif). He ran for two scores and threw for two more as the Bulldogs scored four consecutive touchdowns in the second and third quarters to take the lead for good.
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.
2006 Records: Ferris State registered a 8-3-0 overall record and placed third in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) with a 7-3-0 mark. The Bulldogs were 3-2 at home and 5-1 on the road a season ago. Mercyhurst is currently 1-1-0 overall in the 2007 season after losing its league opener at Northwood Saturday (Sept. 1) by a score of 28-10 in Midland, Mich. The Lakers defeated Kentucky State 21-6 on the road in their season opener (Aug. 25) at Frankfort, Ky. Last season, the Lakers compiled both a 3-7-0 overall and GLIAC record while placing tied for 10th in the league standings. MC was 3-2 at home, 0-5 on the road, and 0-0 at neutral sites last fall.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 13th season, 78-55-0 (.586) – (5-2-0 vs. Mercyhurst). Pierce has compiled a 40-24-0 (.625) coaching mark in home encounters and is 30-20-0 (.600) 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.
Mercyhurst – Marty Schaetzle (Bucknell, 1983), 6th season, 17-38-0 (.309) – (0-5-0 vs. Ferris State). Schaetzle spent five seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division I-AA Bucknell before coming to MC.
Ferris State Versus Pennsylvania Schools: Ferris State is 15-13-2 (.533) all-time against Pennsylvania-based colleges, which includes a 5-6-2 (.462) road ledger and a 10-7-0 (.588) home mark. The Bulldogs’ most common opponent from Pennsylvania other than MC and fellow league member Gannon is the Indiana (Pa.) Indians, who are 5-1-0 versus the Bulldogs.
Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 12 of its last 18 seasons and in seven of head coach Jeff Pierce’s 12 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.
More 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.
Preseason All-Americans: Senior defensive tackle Kurt Hout (Arvada, Colo./West) and Jake Visser have been chosen as 2007 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 earlier this summer 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.
Winning First: The Bulldogs have now won 11 of their last 19 season openers to date following Saturday’s victory over KSU. This year marks the second consecutive season the Bulldogs have opened the year with a win over the Thorobreds after a 31-13 road victory a year ago in Frankfort, Ky.
Key Game Stats: Junior defensive back Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett), who transferred from Grand Rapids Community College, had an interception in his first game with the Bulldogs versus Kentucky State . . . . . Mike Guevara had three catches for 160 yards in the game, including a 79-yard touchdown reception ........... Jake Visser netted a team-high 11 tackles, including eight solo stops in the Bulldogs’ victory over KSU. The consensus Preseason All-America selection also had two quarterback hurries and assisted on a tackle for loss. His performance helped the Bulldog defense limit the Thorobreds, who scored only a single touchdown in the final three quarters of the contest.
Great Stretch: Ferris scored its six touchdowns in the game against Kentucky State over a stretch of seven-straight drives. The Bulldogs scored back-to-back on their final drive of the first period and initial drive of the second quarter. Following a punt, FSU found the endzone on its final drive of the opening half and then began the second half by scoring on four consecutive drives.
More Game Notes: The win over Kentucky State was Ferris’ fourth victory in its last six non-league outings. The game versus the Thorobreds was only FSU’s second non-conference game at home dating back to 1990 ......... Saturday’s triumph gave Ferris State its ninth victory in its last 15 home-opening encounters. This year represented the first time since 2004 the Bulldogs’ first game of the year was at home ........ The Bulldogs improved to 40-39-4 (.506) in home openers dating back to 1920, which includes a 10-8-0 mark since 1990. The Bulldogs are now 9-6 in their last 12 home-opening encounters.
More Job Duties: Junior kicker-punter Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) has added to his job duties this fall. The 6-1 Yates converted all five of his PAT tries versus Kentucky State. He also tallied a 48-yard punt in the contest and averaged 58.3 yards along with two touchbacks on kickoffs. Yates kicked off seven times for 408 total yards. His two punts went for 74 total yards as he averaged 37 yards per punt. Yates, who was FSU’s primary punter in 2006, had never place kicked in a game for the Bulldogs prior to Saturday’s contest.
Conference Openers: Ferris State is 9-17-1 (.352) in conference openers since 1980 and sports a 4-10-0 (.286) home mark in those outings during that period. The Bulldogs posted a 28-7 win at Mercyhurst last season (9/9) after suffering a 30-10 road loss at Grand Valley State in the 2005 season opener (8/27). The last time FSU won its conference opener at home was in 2001 (9/8) with a 33-10 triumph over Findlay at Top Taggart Field.
Training Camp Notes: Ferris' officially opened fall camp Wednesday, Aug. 8, as the squad's freshmen reported to campus for the first time. The Bulldogs' returning veterans reported Thursday, Aug. 9, with the squad's first official practice held Friday, Aug. 10. Prior to the Kentucky State game, FSU held 25 total workouts along with two scrimmages. Ferris' three-week training camp period not only has featured practices and scrimmages, but also meetings, lifting, conditioning, testing and various orientation sessions. FSU held its final preseason scrimmage on Aug. 24 at Top Taggart Field. Classes at Ferris State University began last Monday (Aug. 27).
New Rules To Watch: The biggest rule change this season has come on kickoffs, as the ball is now placed five yards back at the 30-yard line rather than the previous spot at the 35-yard line. Other rule changes this year were geared toward adding plays to the game that were eliminated by rule changes last year. The clock now stops on possession changes and won't start on kickoffs until the receiving team touches the ball.
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 correspondant 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).
Welcome Back Troops: The Bulldogs took a break from their 2007 preseason camp schedule on Aug. 17 to help welcome home and honor a unit which recently finished serving a greater purpose. The Bulldog players and coaching staff were among the first to greet three buses full of local national guard members, who returned home from a 14-month tour of duty in Iraq. After the second of two practice sessions, the Ferris players, coaches and staff helped form a human tunnel as the 148 members of the 125th Infantry Battalion of E Company came off the bus in Mecosta County and entered FSU's Jim Wink Arena, where a large celebration was held in front of family and friends before a near capacity crowd of 1,900 people.
Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its final five home contests at Top Taggart Field. Community Night will be held in conjunction with FSU's second home tilt versus Mercyhurst (Sept. 8) with the annual Fireworks Night to take place after the contest. FSU's game against Hillsdale (Sept. 22) will represent Community Health Day while the Northern Michigan (Sept. 29) matchup 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.
Rankings Info: 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 will cover 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.
FSU Among 2006 NCAA Division II Leaders: Ferris ranked among the top 100 NCAA-II teams in 10 statistical categories last season, including: 20th in team sacks (2.64 spg.), 21st in rushing offense (182.8 ypg.), 31st in pass efficiency (139.8 avg.), 37th in sacks allowed (1.55 spg.), and 46th in total offense (343.6 ypg.). Individually, Jake Visser led the GLIAC and was ninth nationally in sacks (1.0 spg.) along with 30th in solo tackles (4.7 avg.).
New Starters Up Front: Three of the Bulldogs’ five offensive linemen made their initial collegiate starts versus Kentucky State. Redshirt freshman Matt Wellman (Portland) earned the starting nod at left tackle with sophomore Joe Doman (Ann Arbor/Whitmore Lake) lined up at center with sophomore Brad Bammert (Flushing) found at right tackle. In addition, senior left guard Cory Jones (Hicksville, Ohio) made only his second appearance ever in the starting lineup as a Bulldog player. The fifth offensive line starter, right guard Bill Bourdlais, picked up All-GLIAC honors last year.
Tough Unit: Ferris returns all four starters from a year ago on its defensive line, which could be one of the league’s if not the nation’s top units. While both Jake Visser and Kurt Hout have earned numerous preseason honors at the interior tackle spots, the squad’s two starting defensive ends have plenty of experience as well. Senior Erik Schumacher (Lake Isabella/Beal City) was an honorable mention All-GLIAC pick a year ago and junior Kyle Walker (Grand Haven) started all 11 contests in 2006.
Up Next: Ferris hits the road for the first time this season as the Bulldogs venture two hours east to battle the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals Saturday, Sept. 15, in GLIAC action at SVSU’s Wickes Memorial Stadium in University Center, Mich. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (EDT). The game represents the Bulldogs’ only road encounter in their initial five outings 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.
Team Captains: The team captains for the 2007 season are senior quarterback C.J. Van Wieren and senior guard Bill Bourdlais on offense. Junior defensive tackle Jake Visser and senior end Erik Schumacher will be the defensive captains. None of the four individuals served as a team captain last season.
Did You Know?: The Bulldogs’ 8-3-0 overall mark last season (2006) represented the program’s best mark since Ferris recorded a 10-2-0 overall record and reached the NCAA-II National Quarterfinals in 1996.
Postgame Reception: The Ferris State Gridiron Club will be hosting a post-game “After Glow” reception following each Bulldog home game this season at “The Gate”, the new family entertainment complex located on Perry Street in Big Rapids.