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This Week: The Ferris State University football team kicks off its 2008 11-game campaign and 100th season of varsity competition Saturday, Aug. 30, versus the Tiffin Dragons in a 2:30 p.m. (EDT) non-conference matchup at TU’s Frost-Kalnow Stadium in Tiffin, Ohio. For info on ticket sales, please contact the Tiffin Athletics Department at (419) 448-3288.
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 are also tentatively 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.
Season Openers: Ferris State will be participating in its 100th season opener since 1900 (no scores available in 1912 & 1916) and has compiled a 41-51-5 (.448 winning pct.) record. The Bulldogs have won 11 of their last 19 season openers to date, which includes four of their last 11 overall. Head coach Jeff Pierce has posted a 6-7-0 career mark in season-opening contests. Ferris recorded a 42-19 non-league triumph over Kentucky State in last year’s (2007) season opener held at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich.
Preseason All-Americans: Senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville), senior cornerback Terrell Heggins (Lansing/Everett) along with senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) have been chosen as 2008 preseason All-Americans by various sources. A returning All-American, Visser earned preseason acclaim by being named to the 2008 Lindy's College Football Preview All-Division II Preseason First Team along with 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 also chosen as a first-team pick by Lindy’s College Football Preview while Noe attained CDS First Team honors. Noe claimed additional honors from CDS by being named to its 2009 All-Underappreciated Third Team from all levels of competition.
Home Opener: Ferris’ 2008 home opener is against the Findlay Oilers on Saturday, Sept. 13, at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. A variety of events are planned for the evening game, which kicks off at 7 p.m. (EDT). It will also represent FSU’s Community, Fireworks and Health Care Night with the traditional fireworks display after the game.
2007 Records: Ferris State registered a 7-4-0 (including forfeit win) overall record in 2007 and placed tied for fourth in the GLIAC with a 6-4 mark. The Bulldogs were 4-2 at home and 3-2 on the road a season ago. Tiffin posted a 9-2-0 overall record last campaign as an independent school at the NCAA-II level. TU was 4-1 at home, 5-1 on the road, and 0-0 at neutral sites last fall.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 85-58-0 (.594) – (0-0-0 vs. Tiffin). Pierce has compiled a 42-32-0 (.568) coaching mark in road encounters and is 1-3-0 (.250) in August contests to date. Pierce, who played at Ferris (defensive back) from 1974-77, is the 12th head coach in Ferris State’s history. Tiffin – Dave Walkosky (Toledo, 1990), 1st season, 0-0-0 (.000) – (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Walkosky takes over the Tiffin program after serving as an assistant coach at Washington State. He worked as a defensive coach at Toledo from 1996 to 2006 and has also served as defensive coordinator at Tennessee-Martin along with stints at Memphis and Waynesburg (Pa.).
Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 13 of its last 19 seasons and in eight of head coach Jeff Pierce’s 13 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.
Up Next: Ferris opens GLIAC action with its second consecutive game in the state of Ohio by visiting Ashland Saturday, Sept. 6, for a 1 p.m. (EDT) contest at AU’s Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio.
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 360-403-40 (.473) to date heading into the 2008 campaign.
Dragon Note: Tiffin was picked to finish last in the 2008 GLIAC Preseason Coaches Poll, but was among the team’s receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II Preseason Poll. The Dragons were ranked as high as 20th last campaign.
Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its five home contests this season at Top Taggart Field. Community, Fireworks and Health Care Night will be held in conjunction with FSU's first home tilt versus Findlay (Sept. 13) with the annual Fireworks Night to take place after the contest. A Blues & BBQ pregame party will also take place featuring blues’ artist Big Daddy Fox and the Krewe. FSU's game against Northern Michigan (Sept. 27) will mark the school's ninth-annual Hall of Fame Day contest. 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.
Non-Conference Matchups: Ferris is 7-7-0 (.500) in non-league games dating back to 1990 and has won four of its last six outings, including last year’s 42-19 triumph over Kentucky State. Since 1990, the Bulldogs are 5-6-0 (.455) on the road as 10 of their last 12 non-conference games have been away from home. The lone non-league home tilt in that stretch prior to last year was a 33-21 win over Hillsdale (non-GLIAC game) in 2002 (9/7).
Team Captains: FSU’s team captains for the 2008 campaign will be 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 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.
New Faces: Three new faces have joined the Ferris coaching staff for 2008. Prior to the start of camp, head coach Jeff Pierce filled open positions on the staff with the addition of former Bulldog standout Whitney Bell, longtime collegiate coach Allen Curtiss and Eric Ravellette, who most recently spent the last two seasons as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Southeast Missouri State. Additionally, Chris Reese was promoted to the defensive backs and video coordinator position following two years as a defensive assistant. Bell spent the summer 2008 season as a member of the Arena Football League's (AFL) Grand Rapids Rampage, Curtiss previously was on the staff for 20 years at Bluffton (Ohio) while Ravellette played collegiately and was on the staff at Western Kentucky before going to Southeast Missouri State. Bell will coach the defensive line, Ravellette takes over the offensive line and recruiting coordinator duties with Curtiss serving as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach.
Training Camp Notes: Ferris' officially opened fall camp Wednesday, Aug. 6, as the squad's freshmen reported to campus for the first time. The Bulldogs' returning veterans reported Thursday, Aug. 7, with the squad's first official practice held Friday, Aug. 8. Prior to the Tiffin game, FSU will have 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's final preseason scrimmage was held last Friday (Aug. 22) morning. Classes at Ferris State University won’t begin until next Tuesday (Sept. 2). The Bulldogs started their usual game-week routine this Sunday (Aug. 24).
FSU Among 2007 NCAA Division II Leaders: Ferris ranked among the top 100 NCAA-II teams in nine statistical categories last season, including: 27th in net punting (33.8 avg.), 28th in rushing offense (212.5 ypg.) and 50th in total offense (391.9 ypg.). FSU was also 55th in scoring offense (29.1 ppg.) at the NCAA-II level.
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.
Did You Know?: The Bulldogs’ 8-3-0 overall mark in 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.
New Rules To Watch: The biggest rules change this season will be seen on the clock. The play clock will now be 40 seconds instead of the previous 25-second clock. The 40-second clock will start as soon as the previous play has ended rather than when the ball was spotted ready for play in the past. Additionally, on out-of-bounds plays this season the clock will start once the ball is marked for play. In the last two minutes of each half, the clock won’t run until the ball is snapped on out-of-bounds plays.
GLIAC Coaches Poll: Ferris was selected to finish seventh in the 2008 GLIAC Football Coaches Preseason Poll, which was released during the GLIAC's annual football media day luncheon (Aug. 5) at Zehnder's Restaurant in Frankenmuth, Mich.The Bulldogs received 66 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference's 12 head coaches.