September 15, 2009

Football Weekly Game Notes: GVSU (Sept. 19)

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Click Here For Gameday Information
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* This Week: The Ferris State University football team will host archrival and nationally top-ranked Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic this Saturday (Sept. 19) evening at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. A large crowd is expected for the game with the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contest between the two West Michigan rivals set to kickoff at 7 p.m. (EDT).

* Ticket Information: Tickets for the game will be available on gameday at the stadium or for more info, please contact the FSU Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888. FSU tickets can also be bought online at www.startickets.com. General admission tickets for this premium game are $10 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 charge of $7 on FSU's Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (Click on B2 Networks icon).  Live internet statistics 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 Road Loss: A disasterous first half spelled doom for Ferris State on Saturday (Sept. 12) afternoon as the Bulldogs suffered a 43-7 setback to the Findlay Oilers in GLIAC action at Donnell Stadium in Findlay, Ohio. The unbeaten Oilers dominated the first half in all phases of the game while taking a 38-0 halftime advantage. The Bulldogs fumbled twice, were intercepted twice and had a punt blocked for a TD in the opening half. The game was FSU's first road contest of the campaign.

* 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 hit the road to face the Northern Michigan Wildcats next Saturday (Sept. 26) with kickoff for the league tilt at 4 p.m. (ET) inside NMU's Superior Dome at Marquette, Mich.

* The Records: Ferris State (1-2, 0-2 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.  GVSU is presently 3-0 overall after Saturday's (Sept. 12) 38-7 league-home win over nationally 16th-ranked Saginaw Valley State.  GVSU was 11-1 overall in 2008 and won the GLIAC with a 10-0 mark en route to the national semifinals.  The Lakers have won 45-straight regular season games and 42 consecutive GLIAC tilts. They are 75-3 in their last 78 league contests overall and 46-3 in their last 49 road games.

* The Coaches: Ferris State  - Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 15th season, 91-66-0 (.580) - (2-11-0 vs. GVSU).  Pierce has compiled a 47-29-0 (.618) coaching mark in home encounters and is 36-24-0 (.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. Grand Valley State - Chuck Martin (Millikin, 1990), 6th season, 64-5-0 (.928) - (5-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Martin was honored as the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Coach of the Year in 2005 & 2006. He served as an assistant coach at GVSU for four years (2000-03) and was the defensive coordinator on the Lakers' 2003 national championship team prior to becoming the program's head coach.

* Anchor-Bone Classic: The Anchor Bone Trophy, which is sponsored by Huntington Bank, is awarded annually to the winner of the Ferris State-Grand Valley State football game. The trophy debuted in 2002 and GVSU has maintained possession of the trophy the last six years with four wins in Allendale along with two at FSU's Top Taggart Field.

Anchor-Bone Classic * Series Information:  GVSU has a 24-12-1 lead in a series which started in 1971 (10/9) with a 57-0 FSU home victory.  GVSU has a eight-game winning streak.

The Lakers will be making their first trip to Big Rapids since a 28-6 road win over the Bulldogs in 2006 (10/28) and it represents only the third meeting between the two teams at Top Taggart Field in the last seven years.  

The Lakers have won five consecutive meetings at Top Taggart Field.

FSU had its 42-game unbeaten streak (40-0-2) snapped in 1996 (9/21) with a 36-17 loss at GVSU, which also halted the Bulldogs' 41-game Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC) unbeaten string (39-0-2) and their 27-game conference win streak.

Ferris State is 8-6-0 in contests decided by 10 points or less and 2-13-0 in games decided between 11 and 30 points.

In the last three meetings at Big Rapids, Ferris is averaging 9.7 points (29 total) per game while Grand Valley State has averaged 38.3 points an outing (115 total) for a 28.7 points per game differential.

The last seven games have all been decided by 18 points or more (25.9 avg.) and won by the Lakers.

The two teams did not play in 2002 due to the death of an FSU player (Matt Sklom) in practice during the week.

The Anchor-Bone Trophy has been given to the game's winner the last six years and GVSU has claimed the traveling trophy all six times.

* 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.

* Gameday Information: In-game promotions will include such things as a t-shirt giveaway, Birkam Football giveaway, Synder's Certificates and Patterson's Bulldog Sweetheart of the Game. The "Bulldog Challenge" kids area will be available and located in the northwest paved area of the stadium behind the home side bleachers, sponsored by Sgt. Shawn Fries and the National Guard. It will feature such things as a mechanical rock wall, inflatable obstacle course and throwing contests.  The "Puppy Pound" small children's area will be located on the practice turf area behind the north endzone.

* Free Shuttle: In an effort to help accomodate the large crowd and ease traffic congestion for Saturday's game, the FSU Athletics Department will be offering a free bus shuttle service running periodically from The Gate family and entertainment center parking lot on Perry Street in Big Rapids to the east side visitor's entrance to the stadium.  The shuttle will run for two hours before kickoff and for one hour after the game.

* Blues & BBQ: Ferris' student government organization will be holding its second annual "Blues & BBQ" event to raise scholarship funds prior to the contest, starting at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). Fans will be able to enjoy some of the area's finest all-you-can-eat BBQ as part of the pregame tailgate event and listen to music provided by Big Daddy and the Krewe. The event will take place in the tailgate area in front of the stadium with an entry free of $8 for FSU students and $10 for adults.  Children 10 and younger will be admitted free to the "Blues & BBQ" event with all patrons receiving a dollar off the admission fee by bringing a non-perishable food item.

* Under The Lights: Ferris is 35-47-4 (.430) in evening games going back to 1961. The Bulldogs are 13-23-2 (.368) on the road and 22-24-2 (.479) at home during that period. GVSU has won the last five night games played between the two teams, including four in Allendale.

* Parrish Climbing: FSU senior quarterback Kyle Parrish (Garden Grove, Calif./Santiago) surpassed the 1,000-career passing yards mark by throwing for 291 yards on 21-of-32 passing against Ashland (Sept. 5). 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.

* Keep Scoring: Redshirt freshman back Tyler Thomas (Jackson) has scored a touchdown in two of Ferris' first three contests this campaign. He ran for a 18-yard TD in the season opener versus Tiffin (Aug. 29) and found paydirt from two yards out against Ashland (Sept. 5). 

* First Touchdown: FSU junior receiver Matt Schuelke (Paris/Reed City) caught the first touchdown pass of his career in Saturday's loss at Findlay by hauling in a 17-yard strike from sophomore QB Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) to cap the Bulldogs' only scoring drive of the game that covered 80 yards in eight plays during the third period.

* Among The Leaders: Bulldog senior middle linebacker Nick Butler (Midland) currently ranks tied for third among the GLIAC leaders in tackles (9.7 tpg.) after totaling a career and game-high 12 stops at Findlay.

* GLIAC Player Of The Week: Ferris State junior outside linebacker Kyle Fitzpatrick (Vestaburg) was 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 39 tackles in 25 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.  FSU has an all-time record of 367-410-40 (.470).

* In The Red Zone: To date this year, the Bulldogs have converted 10-of-12 times (.833) inside the opponents' 20-yard line. FSU has scored seven touchdowns and made three field goals in its scoring trips to the red zone.

* Interesting Note: When FSU and GVSU squared off in 2008 at Lubbers Stadium, it marked the fourth time both teams had been ranked when they played and the first since 1995.  The Bulldogs were ranked 24th in the AFCA Division II Coaches Poll and the Lakers were second the week they faced each other last campaign. Both teams were also ranked when they played each other from 1993 to 1995 with FSU winning two of those games and the other resulting in a tie (1993).

* 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 Fitzpatrick and 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.

* Top Taggart Field: Ferris State is 88-62-2 (.586) at Top Taggart Field since 1980 and sports a 73-51-2 (.587) conference home ledger during that span. The Bulldogs are 67-35-2 (.654) overall since 1990, which includes a 59-32-2 (.645) league record at home. The facility features a Mondo Ecofill playing surface, which is the first of its kind in Michigan and came as part of a $1 million dollar renovation to the facility prior to the 2008 season.

* 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.

* "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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