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This Week: The unbeaten Ferris State University football team hosts the Findlay Oilers in their 2008 home opener Saturday, Sept. 13, at FSU’s Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game is set for 7 p.m. (EDT).
Special Activities Planned: A number of special activities and promotions for Saturday evening’s contest. The game is being billed as "Community, Fireworks & Health Care Night" with the traditional fireworks display will take place following the game. Additionally, Ferris' student government organization will be holding a "Blues & BBQ" event prior to the contest starting at 4 p.m. (EDT). Fans will be able to enjoy some of the area’s finest all-you-can-eat BBQ while listening to a live performance by renowned Grand Rapids blue’s artist Big Daddy and the Krewe. More info on all activities is available on the FSU website at www.ferris.edu/sports.
Ticket Info: Tickets will be available at the gate or can be purchased in advance by contacting the FSU Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888. They can also be bought online at www.starticketsplus.com. Tickets are $7 adults or $5 students (K-12), senior citizens and FSU faculty/staff. Ferris students with ID will be admitted free as will children not yet of school age.
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.
FSU Pulls Out Victory: A potential game-winning 32-yard field goal try by the nationally 24th-ranked Ashland Eagles was blocked as time expired as Ferris pulled out a thrilling 25-24 GLIAC triumph last Saturday (Sept. 6) afternoon at Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio. Following a Bulldog touchdown in the closing minute, AU took advantage of a long kickoff return into Ferris territory and moved the ball inside the FSU 20-yard line with 3.4 seconds remaining. However, Greg Berkshire's field goal try was blocked by Bulldog senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe (Orleans/Belding) as the horn sounded, preserving the victory in the league opener for both teams. The win was FSU's fourth-straight victory at Community Stadium against the Eagles. The Bulldog offense stepped up to the challenge and came up with the go-ahead score as junior back Dan Underhill (West Olive/Allendale) found paydirt from two yards out with only 37 seconds to go in the game.
The Records: Ferris State is currently 2-0 this season and 1-0 in the GLIAC after last week’s 25-24 upset at Ashland. 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. Findlay is presently 2-0 overall after Saturday’s (Sept. 6) 36-27 league-opening home win over Tiffin. UF posted a 5-6-0 overall record last season. The Oilers were 3-2 on the road a year ago and placed ninth in the GLIAC with a 4-6 league slate. Findlay recorded a 26-0 non-league road win at Urbana (Ohio) in week one (Aug. 30) of this season.
The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 14th season, 87-58-0 (.600) – (6-2-0 vs. Findlay). Pierce has compiled a 43-26-0 (.623) coaching mark in home encounters and is 34-21-0 (.618) 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. Findlay – Jon Wauford (Miami-Ohio, 1991), 2nd season, 7-6-0 (.538); Career: 2nd season, 7-6-0 (.538) - (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Wauford took over in 2007 after serving as the squad’s assistant head coach. He also spent time coaching at Miami (Ohio) and Kent State. Wauford played collegiately at Miami and also spent time in the CFL.
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 362-403-40 (.475) to date following Saturday’s win at Ashland.
New Turf Field: Fans at Saturday’s game will have an opportunity to view the recent renovations at Top Taggart Field, which include a new state-of-the-art Mondo Ecofill artificial playing surface. The new turf, which is the first of its kind in the state of Michigan, was part of a $1 million dollar upgrade of the facility this past summer.
Under The Lights: Ferris is 32-45-4 (.420) in evening games going back to 1961. The Bulldogs are 12-22-2 (.361) on the road and 20-23-2 (.467) at home during that period. FSU has won all six previous night games between the two teams, including three at Top Taggart Field.
Next Week: Ferris visits nationally-ranked archrival Grand Valley State Saturday, Sept. 20, for a 7 p.m. (EDT) league tilt at GVSU’s Lubbers Stadium in Allendale, Mich., with the annual Anchor-Bone Trophy on the line in the contest.
Community Health Night: FSU Athletics will be partnering with several campus organizations and departments for "Community Health Night" in conjunction with Saturday’s contest, which will be conducted free of charge for fans prior to the game inside the stadium. The event will feature informational tables for those interested in a variety of medical areas and include screenings for things such as vision, dental, blood pressure, pulse, body mass index and various pharmaceutical areas. The FSU schools of Pharmacy, Allied Health and Optometry along with the Birkam Health Center, Student Recreation Center and the Racquet and Fitness Center will be participating in the free health screenings.
Visser Earns Weekly Honor: FSU senior defensive tackle Jake Visser (Coopersville) claimed this week’s GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honor. The 6-2 Visser had an impressive showing defensively to help key the Bulldogs' victory. Visser came up with 12 total tackles, including nine solo stops in the contest. He also had one sack and one tackle for loss apiece, which both resulted in eight yards lost, to go along with a fumble recovery. In addition, Visser was honored by the FSU coaching staff as the squad's special teams player of the week for helping setup senior middle linebacker Kevin Noe's block of Ashland's 32-yard game-winning field goal attempt as time expired. From the middle of the Bulldog defensive line, Visser was able to clear a path, enabling Noe to gain position for the block.
First TD In Big Drive: Ferris’ Dan Underhill recorded his first career touchdown in the win over Ashland and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Underhill capped the Bulldogs’ go-ahead touchdown drive covering 39 yards with a two-yard TD blast with only 37 seconds remaining in the game. FSU started the drive in Eagle territory on the heels of a long kickoff return from sophomore slot Tim Hogue (Dearborn/Inkster) and the Bulldogs benefited from a couple key Ashland penalties to keep the drive alive. The Eagles gave FSU two first downs in the drive – one on defensive holding, the other on pass interference. The holding call came on a fourth-and-seven play from the AU22 and wiped out an incompletion. The pass interference call came on a second-and-11 situation from the AU 13 and put the ball at the AU 2. On the next play, Underhill scored the game-winning touchdown.
Notes From The Win: The game at Ashland featured six lead changes ... The Bulldogs scored in the final minute of each half as senior kicker Jim Yates (Goshen, Ind.) booted a 42-yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the opening half before Dan Underhill scored with 37 seconds to go in the game ..... FSU was a perfect four-of-four in the red zone at Ashland with three touchdowns and one field goal ....... Senior outside linebacker Jordan Moore (Ada/Lowell) tallied a personal career-high 14 tackles (nine solo) in the triumph .... Tim Hogue notched his first career TD on a five-yard run.
Don’t Rush It: Ferris has allowed only 83 total rushing yards in two games this year and ranks fourth nationally to date in rushing defense. FSU held Tiffin to minus three (-3) yards on 21 carries (Aug. 30) and limited Ashland to only 86 yards on 36 attempts (2.4 avg.). Meanwhile, FSU’s offense is averaging 171.5 yards on the ground after two contests.
Visser Moves Up The Charts: FSU’s Jake Visser continues to climb several lists in the FSU record book as he moved into fifth place on the school's all-time sack leaders chart during the win over Ashland and currently has 22.5 sacks in his career. Additionally, Visser presently has 306 career tackles and is tied for 16th place on the school list. Visser also notched the seventh fumble recovery of his career in the win over Ashland, which ties former Bulldog greats Monty Brown (1989-92) and Ed Philion (990-93) for the most in school history. Both Brown and Philion played in the NFL.
Home Openers: Ferris is 40-39-4 (.506) in home openers dating back to 1920, which includes a 10-8-0 mark since 1990. The Bulldogs are 9-6 in their last 12 home-opening encounters and defeated Kentucky State 42-19 in their first home game last year (9/1/07). Last year represented the first time since 2004 the Bulldogs’ first game of the season was at home. FSU last played its first two games of a campaign on the road in 2006 and won both games at Kentucky State and Mercyhurst en route to an 8-3 overall record ..... FSU is 130-108-8 (.545) all-time at Top Taggart Field.
Important Fact: This year marks only the second time in the last 12 seasons the Bulldogs have opened the year with a 2-0 record. FSU also won its first two games in 2006 en route to an 8-3 overall finish. Prior to the last 12 years, the Bulldogs won at least two games in a row to start the season from 1993 to 1996.
Gridiron Club Parking: As in the past, all FSU Gridiron Club members will be allowed to park in Lot 35 at Top Taggart Field on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those club members who have reached either the Gold or Champion membership levels ($500-plus) will have reserved parking space in the North Endzone of Top Taggart Field.
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.
First On The Field: Eleven different Ferris players saw their first-ever action in a Bulldog uniform in the season opener at Tiffin (Aug. 30). The Bulldogs’ first-timers on the field included redshirt freshman quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison), redshirt freshmen receivers Seth Hubbard (Elwell/Alma), Damien Miller (Ovid/Ovid-Elsie) and Mike Ryan (Howell) along with junior quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago), true freshman slot David Freeman (Westland/Wayne Memorial) and senior transfer defensive end Darnell Wilson (Lansing/Sexton). Four others saw action on special teams including redshirt freshmen Jake Hancock (Big Rapids), Russell Weatherspoon (Detroit/Pershing) and Muneer Bawayeh (Dearborn/Fordson) in addition to junior Kevin Ward (Commerce/Lakeland).
Rankings Info: Ferris was listed among other schools receiving votes in this week’s (Sept. 9) American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll with 10 votes .... FSU was listed 46th in the College Sports Report Division II preseason rankings (www.collegesportsreport.com). Ferris placed seventh among the GLIAC schools featured in the College Sports Report rankings. The listing included 148 schools at the NCAA Division II level ...... D2football.com columnist Tony Nicolette, who is covering the GLIAC for the online service again this fall, had the Bulldogs picked eighth in his preseason league listing this year.
Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have a special game day promotion for each of its four remaining home contests this season at Top Taggart Field. 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.
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 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.
FSU 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.
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.