September 9, 2009

Football Weekly Game Notes: Findlay (Sept. 12)

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* This Week: The Ferris State University football team hits the road for the first time this season by visiting the unbeaten Findlay Oilers for a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Findlay, Ohio.  Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. (EDT) at UF's Donnell Stadium.

* Ticket Information: Tickets will be available at the stadium on gameday or for more information, please contact the UF Ticket Office at (419) 434-6684.

* 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 $7 on FSU's Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (Click on B2 Networks icon).  Live internet statistics and an audio-only  broadcast will also be available.

* Follow On Twitter: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow Saturday's contest and all other FSU games this year with live scoring via Twitter.  Please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates. 

* Tough Home Loss: A slow start and a couple of early mistakes were too much for Ferris State to overcome as the Bulldogs suffered a 44-23 setback in their GLIAC opener versus nationally 23rd-ranked Ashland last Saturday (Sept. 5) evening at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Ashland took an early 21-0 advantage and blocked two Bulldog kicks along with forcing a fumble in the game.  FSU trimmed the lead down to eight points twice in the third quarter before AU closed the door with two fourth-quarter TD's.

* FSU Opens With Win: Ferris State opened its 101st season of varsity action by beating the Tiffin Dragons 34-14 in a non-league game in week one (Aug. 29) at Top Taggart Field. A crowd of 3,407 fans braved drizzly conditions throughout the contest to watch the Bulldogs roll to the season-opening win.  FSU scored 20 points in the final 4:24 of the first half to take a 27-7 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs forced four turnovers, including a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown, and totaled 322 yards of total offense in the game.

* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs return home to host nationally top-ranked archrival Grand Valley State in the annual Anchor-Bone Classic on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (EDT) and the second annual Blues &???BBQ event will take place in conjunction with the contest.

* The Records: Ferris State (1-1, 0-1 GLIAC) registered a 6-5-0 overall record in 2008 and placed seventh in the GLIAC with a 5-5 mark. The Bulldogs were 3-2 at home and 3-3 on the road a season ago.  Findlay is presently 2-0 overall after last Thursday's (Sept. 3) 35-13 league-opening road win at Tiffin.  UF posted a 2-9-0 overall record last season.  The Oilers were 1-4 at home a year ago and placed tied for 11th in the GLIAC with a 1-9 league slate. Findlay recorded a 42-21 non-league home win over Urbana (Ohio) in week one (Aug. 27) this season.

* The Coaches: Ferris State  - Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 15th season, 91-65-0 (.583) - (7-2-0 vs. Findlay).  Pierce has compiled a 45-35-0 (.563) coaching mark in road encounters and is 36-23-0 (.610) 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), 3rd season, 9-15-0 (.375); Career: 2nd season, 9-15-0 (.375) - (0-1-0 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.

* Welcome Back: Saturday's contest will mark FSU's first visit to Donnell Stadium since recording a 34-31 triumph in 2005 (10/1).  The two teams did not play each other in 2006 or 2007 due to the scheduling method used by the GLIAC. It will also represent only the second time Ferris has played at Findlay in the last seven seasons.  UF leads the all-time series' 5-4 in games played at Findlay, Ohio.

* Battle At The Ballpark: A highlight of the Bulldogs' 2009 campaign will come on Saturday, Oct. 3, when FSU takes on Michigan Tech in the "Battle At The Ballpark", which will be played on the home field of Minor League Baseball's West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, Mich., starting at 7 p.m. (EDT). Ferris State will be the home team for the GLIAC tilt with proceeds from the fundraising game going to help generate additional revenue for the FSU football program.  A variety of pregame events will take place in conjunction with the game.  For more information, including ticket sales in progress, please visit the "Battle At The Ballpark" website by clicking on the banner icon at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com.

* On The Road Again: Saturday's game at Findlay represents the Bulldogs' first road contest this season. The Bulldogs have won their initial road game in four of the last five seasons to date. Last year, Ferris defeated Tiffin (8/30/08) by a 14-12 count in non-league play at Tiffin, Ohio. FSU is 45-35 (.563) overall to date in road contests under 15th-year head coach Jeff Pierce. Since 1990, FSU has claimed a victory in its first road game of the year 11 times.

* Common Foe: Ferris and Findlay have played one common opponent already this season in Tiffin and the two scores were nearly identical. The Bulldogs beat the Dragons 34-14 in a non-league home game to open the year (Aug. 29) while Findlay topped Tiffin in its league opener on the road last Thursday (Sept. 3) by a 35-13 count.

* Findlay Note: Findlay is averaging a league-high 38.5 points and 479.5 yards in two games this season to date. They are also listed second in total defense, allowing 266.5 yards per contest.

* Crushing Loss: Findlay also won its initial two games over Urbana and Tiffin last season before a 14-0 setback at Ferris State in week three (9/13/08) began a season-ending nine-game losing streak as the Oilers finished with a 2-9 record.  The game marked Ferris' first shutout dating back 71 games since recording a 35-0 triumph at home over Michigan Tech in 2001. It was the program's eighth shutout victory since 1990, but only the second in the last 13 seasons along with the 2001 game versus MTU.

* Ashland Game Review: Senior QB Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago) was chosen as the Bulldogs' Babb Ford Player of the Game against Ashland ... Sophomore QB Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) caught a TD pass and also ran for a score against the Eagles.  He was one-of-four in the air for four yards off the bench in his first game of the season ... The official attendance for the "Super Saturday" game was 2,066 ... Both teams were perfect in the red zone with the Eagles going five-of-five and FSU finishing four-for-four ... The contest marked the seventh-straight time the visiting team had won in the series between Ferris and Ashland.

* Parrish Tops Mark: FSU senior quarterback Kyle Parrishsurpassed the 1,000-career passing yards mark by throwing for 291 yards on 21-of-32 passing against Ashland. Parrish currently ranks 15th on the school's all-time passing list with 1,266 career passing yards in only 10 career games to date.

* Good Day For Miller: Bulldog sophomore receiver Damien Miller(Elsie/Ovid-Elsie) tallied a team-high tying five catches for 85 yards against Ashland. The five catches were one more than he had all of last season when he played in 11 games.

* Keep Scoring: Redshirt freshman back Tyler Thomas(Jackson) has scored a touchdown in each of Ferris' first two contests this campaign. He ran for a 18-yard TD in the season opener versus Tiffin and found paydirt from two yards out against Ashland.

* GLIAC Player Of The Week: Ferris State junior outside linebacker Kyle Fitzpatrickwas honored as this season's first GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 1) for the first time in his career following FSU's season-opening contest versus Tiffin. The 6-2 Fitzpatrick tallied five tackles with four solo stops to go with a sack and a tackle for loss against the Dragons. He also provided one of the game's biggest highlights with his 65-yard interception return for a touchdown late in the second quarter of the contest. A two-year letterwinner, Fitzpatrick has netted 30 tackles in 24 career outings at FSU to date.  The interception was the first of his career. 

* The 101st Season: The 2009 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 101st 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 367-409-40 (.473) to date. 

* Tough Go: Ferris holds a 29-42 (.408) all-time record against teams from the state of Ohio in school history. The Bulldogs have played 10 schools from the Buckeye state and have fared the best against those teams now competing in the GLIAC.  FSU holds a 10-9 mark versus Findlay and is 9-13 overall against Ashland.  The Bulldogs also own four wins (4-6) over Ohio Northern, are unbeaten versus Cedarville (2-0) and Tiffin (2-0) and have topped both Wilmington along with Defiance once each in the program's history.  Ferris' worst mark has come against Central State, which owns a 7-0 record against the Bulldogs although the two teams have not met since 1986.

* In The Red Zone: Ferris' offense was a perfect four-for-four in red zone scoring chances versus Ashland. To date this year, the Bulldogs have converted 9-of-10 times (.900) inside the opponents' 20-yard line. FSU has scored six touchdowns and made three field goals in its nine scoring trips to the red zone this campaign.

* Conference Openers:  Ferris State dropped to 10-19-1 (.350) in conference openers since 1980 with Saturday's league-opening loss to Ashland and is 5-12-0 (.294) in home outings during that period.

* Week One Review: FSU began the year with a victory for the fourth consecutive campaign with a win over Tiffin (Aug. 29) in week one ..... FSU improved to 9-7-0 (.563) in non-league games dating back to 1990 with the triumph. Ferris has currently won six of its last eight such outings ....... Ferris State improved to 43-51-5 (.460 winning pct.) all-time in season opening tilts with the win. The Bulldogs have won 13 of their last 21 season openers to date, which includes six of their last 13 overall.

* First Scores: FSU's four touchdowns against Tiffin in the season opener all came from four different players who tallied their first collegiate scores in sophomore tailback David Freeman (Westland/Wayne Memorial), freshman slot Troy McClary (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte), Kyle Fitzpatrickand redshirt freshman back Tyler Thomas.  Freeman made his first career start in the backfield versus Tiffin after playing the slot last fall while McClary is a true freshman and Thomas a redshirt freshman transfer.

* First Game Jitters:
The Bulldogs had 23 players make their first appearance in a FSU uniform during the season-opener against Tiffin. The total included five true freshmen with four slot players in Alan Freeman (Westland/Inkster), Troy McClary, Skyler Stoker (Jackson/Grass Lake) and Stephen Gardner (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) along with punter Mitchell Voss (Valparaiso, Ind./Wheeler).

* First Time Starters: Nine different players started their first games in a Bulldog uniform against Tiffin in week one. The total included five on the defensive side of the ball and four on offense.  Among the starters was senior Kevin Ward(Commerce/Lakeland), who hit the field for the first offensive play as FSU utilized a tight end in the formation.

* Close Calls Last Year:  Five of Ferris' six wins last campaign were decided by seven points or less. The Bulldogs scored the go-ahead TD in the final 37 seconds of four of those contests - at Ashland (Sept. 6), vs. Northern Michigan (Sept. 27), at Indianapolis (Oct. 11) and vs. Northwood (Oct. 25). Seven of FSU's 10 outings last season were determined by 14 points or less and the Bulldogs finished 6-1 in those contests. Ferris was 5-0 in games decided by seven points or less.

* Good Streak: The Bulldogs have presently emerged victorious in eight of their last nine games determined by a touchdown or less dating back to a thrilling 44-41 league home win (9/22/07) over Hillsdale. FSU has won seven-straight such contests and the squad's only setback in games decided by less than seven points over the last two years was a 37-35 homecoming loss to Ashland in 2007 (10/20).

* Great Start Last Fall: FSU started the 2008 season with a 3-0 mark prior to a loss at archrival Grand Valley State (Sept. 20). The 3-0 start was FSU's second such start in the last 13 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 to open a season 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.

* Team Captains: FSU's team captains for the 2009 campaign are senior right tackle Brad Bammert(Flushing) and senior quarterback Kyle Parrish on the offensive side along with senior middle linebacker Nick Butler (Midland) and senior safety Chad Wilson (Howell) on the defensive side.

* Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 14 of its last 20 seasons and in nine of head coach Jeff Pierce's 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.

* Game Day Promotions: Ferris will have special game day promotions for each of its five home contests this season at Top Taggart Field.  Community Football Day was held in conjunction with FSU's first home tilt versus Tiffin (Aug. 29) and the annual Fireworks Night and Riverdays Festival coincided with game two against Ashland (Sept. 5).  The second annual Blues & BBQ pregame party will take place prior to the Anchor-Bone Classic matchup against Grand Valley State (Sept. 19).  Homecoming is set for Oct. 10 when the Bulldogs host Indianapolis. Finally, the 10th annual Hall of Fame Game will take place Oct. 31 during FSU's regular-season home finale against Hillsdale. Visit the FSU website for more information on game promotions.

* 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.

* GLIAC Coaches Poll: Ferris was selected to finish seventh in the 2009 GLIAC Football Coaches Preseason Poll, which was released during the GLIAC's annual football media day luncheon (Oct. 3) at the Doubletree Hotel in Bay City, Mich. The Bulldogs received 66 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference's 12 head coaches.

* 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.

* Historic Milestone: Jeff Pierce became Ferris State' s all-time winningest coach in the 2004 season (9/4) as a result of the Bulldogs' 23-17 overtime conference win at Ashland.  Pierce surpassed current Hillsdale head coach Keith Otterbein (1986-94; 60-39-3) for the program's top honor.

* "Bulldog Blitz" Live Chat:  "Bulldog Blitz", a live online weekly chat covering Ferris State University football, will take place each Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. (ET) throughout the 2009 gridiron campaign. The chat, which will be powered by a service called CoverItLive, will be co-hosted by FSU Football SID Rob Bentley and local journalist Sandy Gholston. The chat will take place each Wednesday at 8 p.m. (ET) throughout the season starting on Aug. 26 with a discussion on previous contests and a preview of the week ahead. Each episode is expected to last at least a half-hour in length. In addition to comments from the show hosts, Bulldog fans will also have the opportunity to ask questions, which will be reviewed for content before they are posted by the site administrator. Fans will also be able to participate in live fan polls during the chat and view photos posted within the discussion. A unique feature of the CoverItLive service is the ability for fans to replay what has been said after the chat is over. Email reminders can also be set for those wanting to be reminded of the upcoming chat before it happens. To participate in the live chat, please visit www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com and click on the "Bulldog Blitz" banner icon found on the football page. 
 
* 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.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (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 2009 Ferris State University Football Yearbook is available to view online in a PDF format. The 68-page publication features such information as 2009 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2008 season statistics, career and season statistical records, series records, game records, etc.  Visit the FSU athletics website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com 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 2009 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.ferrisstatebulldogs.com) and click on the B2 broadcast icon.

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