Football Game Notes: SVSU (Sept. 11)
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* This Week: The Ferris State University football team hosts the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals in their 2010 home opener this Saturday, Sept. 11, at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich. Kickoff for the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. (EDT).
* Promotions: FSU will hold "Honoring American Heroes" Day at Top Taggart Field on Saturday in honor of 9-11 with a number of special events planned. The event will include a pregame Red, White & Blues tailgate featuring Big Daddy Fox and a postgame performance on the field by Michael Peterson. Fireworks will conclude the activities and a special FSU jersey & apparel sale will also take place outside the stadium.
* Ticket Information: Tickets will be available at the gate or for more information, contact 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. All first responders (police, fire, ambulance, etc.), military personnel and veterans will earn free admisison for Saturday's contest.
* Media Coverage: Saturday's game will be carried live locally by WYBR (102.3 FM) with Jason DaDay handling the play-by-play duties for the game and Sandy Gholston offering color commentary. It will also be streamed live online. A live video webcast will be available thru America One (formerly B2 Networks) along with live statistics. Links for all available media can be found by clicking on the "upcoming events" scoreboard tab on FSU's Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com.
* 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 Twitter scoring updates. Visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.
* Coming Up Next: Ferris hits the road again next week for its first league road tilt as the Bulldogs visit GLIAC newcomer Ohio Dominican for the first-time ever on Saturday, Sept. 18. The game is slated for a 12 p.m. (ET) kickoff at Panther Field in Columbus, Ohio.
* SVSU Ranked: Saginaw Valley State is listed 16th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Poll this week. SVSU was ranked in a number of NCAA Division II national polls during the preseason, including being ranked 14th by the AFCA. The Cardinals reached the NCAA Division II Playoffs a season ago and were ranked 11th last week prior to their season-opening setback.
* The Records: Ferris State posted a 1-10 overall mark a season ago and was 0-10 in GLIAC play. The Bulldogs were 1-4 overall at home last campaign. Ferris registered a 6-5-0 overall record in 2008 and placed seventh in the GLIAC with a 5-5 mark.
SVSU opened the 2010 season with a 42-41 overtime home loss to nationally fifth-ranked California (Pa.) last Saturday (Sept. 4) due to a missed extra point in OT. SVSU was 9-3 overall in 2009 and placed tied for second in the GLIAC standings with an 8-2 league mark. The Cardinals advanced to the NCAA Division II Playoffs before falling on the road in the first round by a 35-20 score at Nebraska-Kearney.
* The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 16th season, 91-75-0 (.548) – (98-7-0 vs. SVSU). Pierce is 47-32 (.595) overall in home contests at FSU and he owns a 36-27-0 (.571) record 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.
Saginaw Valley State – Jim Collins (Wittenberg, 1988), 3rd season, 16-7-0 (.696); Career: 17th season, 86-84-0 (.506) – (2-0-0 vs. Ferris State). Collins is in his third season at SVSU after spending 11 years at NCAA-III Capital (Ohio) where his team was 44-13 over the final five years. He was a graduate assistant at Central Michigan in 1989-90.
* The 102nd Season: The 2010 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 102nd 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 367-419-40 (.469) to date heading into the 2010 campaign.
* Last Week's Opener: Ferris dropped a 35-17 non-conference decision in its season opener at nationally 11-ranked Hillsdale last Friday (Sept. 3) evening. The Chargers bolted out to a 21-3 halftime edge and added a pair of TD's in the third quarter before FSU cut the final margin. Ferris had several chances in the first half to close the gap. The win was Hillsdale's fifth in the last six years versus the Bulldogs.
* Home Openers: Ferris is 42-39-4 (.518) in home openers dating back to 1920, which includes a 12-8-0 mark since 1990. The Bulldogs are 11-6 in their last 17 home-opening encounters and defeated Tiffin by a 34-14 score in last year's (8/29/09) first home contest at Top Taggart Field. FSU has presently won four consecutive home openers dating back to 2006, including a stunning 26-23 upset over the then nationally 5th-ranked Cardinals in the 2006 contest (9/16/06).
* Team Captains: FSU's team captains for the 2010 campaign are senior right guard Scott Shattuck (Lowell/Ionia) and junior quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) on the offensive side of the ball along with senior safety Chad Wilson (Howell), senior linebacker Matt Ryan (Howell) and senior defensive tackle Jacob Moreno (Holt).
* Welcome Back: The Bulldogs return a total of 12 starters and more than 40 letterwinners from last season. Six of the starters back are on the offensive side of the ball with five on defense to go with junior kicker Shawn Snoor (Diamondale/Holt).
* Familiar Foes: Ferris and Saginaw Valley State will meet for the 36th-straight year dating back to 1975 as the two schools have faced either other every season without interruption since the series' originally began. FSU holds an 18-16-1 all-time edge counting two forfeit victories.
* Another Ranked Foe: This week's outing will represent the fourth consecutive game the Bulldogs have played against a team ranked in the AFCA Division II Top 25 dating back to last season. Ferris State concluded the 2009 campaign with a 59-14 home setback (10/31/09) against Hillsdale (#22) followed by a 41-7 regular-season finale loss (11/7/09) at Saginaw Valley State (#22). Hillsdale was listed 16th nationally a week ago prior to its season-opening win over the Bulldogs last Friday.
* Ranking Upset: The Bulldogs last faced a ranked SVSU team at home in 2006 and Ferris upset the then fifth-ranked Cardinals 26-23 at Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids (9/16/06). The win lifted the Bulldogs into the national rankings for the first time in 2006 as FSU was listed 14th in the Don Hansen's Football Gazette Division II Top 40 Poll after the surprising upset win. In addition, the win helped the Bulldogs improve to 3-0, which represented the program's best season start since 1996.
* Big Play In '06: Former FSU All-America defensive tackle Jake Visser, who was then a sophomore, recovered a Saginaw Valley State fumble at FSU's two-yard line with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game to preserve the Bulldogs' upset home victory over the nationally-ranked Cardinals in 2006. Visser notched eight tackles (four solo) in the contest.
* Last Meeting In Big Rapids: Ferris was plagued by seven turnovers, which included five lost fumbles, in its last meeting versus SVSU at Top Taggart Field as the Cardinals posted a 26-14 regular-season finale win over FSU in 2008 (11/8/08). FSU led 14-10 after the opening stanza, but the Cardinals came back to score 16 unanswered points in securing the victory as they kept their NCAA Division II Playoff hopes alive. Ferris had seven fumbles in the game, losing five, and also threw two interceptions. Four Bulldog drives in the second half resulted in turnovers while SVSU had no turnovers in the outing.
* Scoring Output: Ferris' 17 points versus Hillsdale last week were the Bulldogs' most since week two of the 2009 campaign. FSU was held to 10 points or less in eight of its last nine games a season ago.
* Under The Lights: Ferris is 34-50-4 (.409) in evening games going back to 1961. The Bulldogs are 12-25-2 (.333) on the road and 22-25-2 (.469) at home during that period.
* Top Taggart Field: Ferris State is 88-65-2 (.574) at Top Taggart Field since 1980 and sports a 73-54-2 (.574) conference home ledger during that span. The Bulldogs are 67-38-2 (.636) overall since 1990, which includes a 59-35-2 (.625) league record at home. The facility features a recently-installed 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.
* Key Returnee: Senior linebacker Matt Ryan ranked third among the GLIAC leaders and tied for eighth natioanlly in total tackles (11.3 pg.) last campaign. Ryan tallied a team-high 124 tackles last season, including 54 solo stops en route to earning All-GLIAC Second Team laurels.
* Good Day: Ferris junior receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) tallied a personal career-high eight catches in last week's outing at Hillsdale. It topped his previous high of six grabs for 91 yards last season at Northern Michigan (9/26/09) and included a 13-yard scoring pass from Tom Schneider for the game's final score.
* Passing The Mark: FSU quarterback Tom Schneider surpassed the 1,000 career yards passing figure with 176 yards in the air at Hillsdale. He now has 1,146 career yards and ranks 16th on the Bulldogs' all-time career leaders chart.
* First Timers: Nine Bulldog players made their first career starts at Hillsdale. A total of 18 FSU players saw their first-ever action in a Bulldog uniform during the game, including four transfer players.
* Hillsdale Game Notes: Ferris dropped to 9-9 overall under head coach Jeff Pierce in non-league games following last week's setback at Hillsdale ........ The opening-day loss was FSU's first setback in its initial game of a campaign in five years ....... The Bulldogs fell to 43-52-5 (.455 winning pct.) all-time in season openers with the loss and are now 8-8 overall with Pierce at the helm ....... Ferris fell to 9-8-0 (.529) in non-league games dating back to 1990 after having won six of its previous eight such outings. Twelve of FSU's last 15 non-conference games have been away from home ...... Ferris and Hillsdale have now played each season without interruption since 1972.
* Solid Pass Defense: Ferris ranked second among the GLIAC leaders and 12th nationally in pass defense last season (148.91 ypg.). Two starters graduated in cornerback Angelo Williams and safety Santino Favot, but the Bulldogs regained the services of senior safety Chad Wilson (Howell), who missed all of last season due to injury after earning GLIAC Honorable Mention kudos in 2008.
* Back Again: FSU junior kicker Shawn Snoor ranked sixth among the GLIAC leaders in PAT's (14-15) and seventh in field goals (6-8) last season. Snoor entered the 2010 season listed 13th among the Bulldogs' all-time field goals leaders with his six made tries from last year.
* Welcome Back: In addition to Matt Ryan, the Bulldogs return three other players this year who have previously claimed conference kudos. They include a pair of 2009 All-GLIAC Honorable Mention picks in senior defensive tackle Jacob Moreno and sophomore defensive end Jordan Morgan (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel). Additionally, senior safety Chad Wilson was an honorable mention pick in 2008 before missing all of last year due to injury.
* New Faces On Staff: The Bulldogs have two new faces on their full-time coaching staff this season. Former Northern State (S.D.) head coach Chris Boden takes over as FSU's offensive coordinator and will utilize a system similar to the one Mike Leach made famous at Texas Tech. Boden was on the same staff as Leach at Division II powerhouse Valdosta State (Ga.) in the 1990's. Additionally, Gary McGraw fills the role of defensive backs coach after previously serving as the defensive coordinator at Quincy (Ill.). He played defensive back at Oregon where he helped the Ducks win back-to-back Pac-10 Championships in 2000 and 2001.
* Training Camp Notes: Ferris' officially opened fall camp Wednesday, Aug. 11, as the squad's freshmen reported to campus for the first time. The Bulldogs' returning veterans reported Thursday, Aug. 12, with the squad's first official practice held Friday, Aug. 13. Prior to the Hillsdale game, FSU had held 25 total workouts along with two scrimmages. Ferris' three-week training camp period not only featured practices and scrimmages, but also meetings, lifting, conditioning, testing and various orientation sessions. FSU's final preseason scrimmage was held prior to its media/fans photo day (Aug. 27). Classes at Ferris State University began last Monday (Aug. 30).
* Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 14 of its last 21 seasons and in nine of head coach Jeff Pierce's 15 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.
* Good Streak: The Bulldogs have presently emerged victorious in eight of their last 10 games determined by a touchdown or less dating back to a thrilling 44-41 league home win (9/22/07) over Hillsdale. FSU had won seven-straight such contests prior to its home loss last year to Grand Valley State (9/19/09).
* Yearbook Available Online: The 2010 Ferris State University Football Yearbook is available to view as an online publication. It features 2010 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2009 season statistics, career and season statistical records, series records, game records, etc. Visit www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com to find it online.
* The "Bulldog Beat" Football Show: A special internet talk show on FSU football will air each week this fall as the "Bulldog Beat" Football Show hits the web airwaves on Thursday nights throughout the season. The talk show, which will be powered by a service called Blog Talk Radio, will be co-hosted by FSU Associate Athletics Communications Director/Football SID Rob Bentley and local journalist Sandy Gholston. The approximate 60 to 90-minute show will take place Thursday evenings starting at 9 p.m. (ET) and can be heard live by visiting: www.blogtalkradio.com/ferrisathletics.
* 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.
* Follow The Bulldogs: A live video and audio webcast is slated to be offered for all 2010 Bulldog home football games and selected road games via an agreement with America One (formerly B2). Visit the FSU Athletics Website (www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com) and click on the B2 icon.
* Gameday Promotions: Ferris will have special game day promotions for each of its five home contests this season at Top Taggart Field. Honoring American Heroes Day will be held in conjunction with FSU's first home tilt versus Saginaw Valley State (Sept. 11) with Kids Night set for the second home matchup against Tiffin (Sept. 25). Homecoming is set for Oct. 9 when the Bulldogs host Findlay. The annual Anchor-Bone Classic matchup against Grand Valley State (Sept. 19) will also be part of the area's Paint Big Rapids Pink event to support breast cancer research. Finally, FSU's regular season home finale against Michigan Tech (Nov. 6) will serve as the annual Senior Day game and also include a special FSU Parents Appreciation event. Visit the FSU website for more information on game promotions.