Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener this fall will help an important cause.
The Bulldogs' league-opening road tilt at Saginaw Valley State on Sept. 10 will serve as this year's "Red Feather" game, which annually raises money to support Saginaw County youth athletics. Kickoff at SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium in University Center is scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) and will also represent FSU's initial road contest this campaign.
This year will mark the fifth time in history and first since 1999 in which the Bulldogs have participated in the "Red Feather" game sponsored by The Fordney Club of Saginaw County. It will be only the second time since the event's inception in 1952 in which the game will take place outside of Saginaw's Arthur Hill Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs played in their first "Red Feather" game in the 1960 classic and beat Alma College by a 33-0 score. However, the Scots came back to beat Ferris in both 1971 and 1972 by scores of 7-6 and 12-9, respectively. In Ferris State's most recent "Red Feather" appearance, the Bulldogs registered an impressive 56-14 win over SVSU in 1999.
This year's game will coincide with the opening of SVSU's renovated Wickes Stadium, which includes new turf, lights and video boards. It also brings the "Red Feather" game back to its roots in college football. The game started in 1952 and involved Central Michigan every year but one until 1968. Alma College played in the game for three years, until the event went on a 25-year hiatus. When the game was revived, Saginaw Valley State played in three "Red Feather" games from 1997-99 before the Fordney Club decided to have high school teams play in the game in 2000.
The Fordney Club became involved with Arthur Hill's Memorial Stadium from its inception in 1949, helping to raise money for its construction and used the facility as the site of its annual football game to raise funds. The initial effort began an 18-year series which raised almost $100,000 for Saginaw charities.
A variety of different collegiate institutions and prep schools have played in the "Red Feather" game since its inception in the early 1950's. The first "Red Feather" game took place on September 20, 1952, pitting Central Michigan against St. Ambrose (Iowa) with CMU winning 38-14. Overall, Central Michigan appeared in fifteen early "Red Feather" games before it was put on hiatus following Alma's win over Ferris in 1972.
In 1997, the Red Feather game was revived by the Fordney Club with the proceeds of over $25,000 going to benefit Saginaw County youth athletics. Saginaw Valley State beat Michigan Tech 45-28 in the revival of the "Red Feather" Classic that year. A great tradition of exciting football once again entertained and thrilled local football fans and a new tradition of raising funds for youth athletics was established. SVSU defeated Fairmont State (W.Va.) in 1998 by a score of 23-7 before losing to Ferris State 56-14 in 1999.
In 2000, the Fordney Club elected to involve high school teams for the first time in the "Red Feather" game. Saginaw's Arthur Hill High School hosted Midland High in the inaugural high school game. Soon after, the Fordney Club decided to begin inviting prep teams from throughout Saginaw County to participate in the "Red Feather" game in alternating years.
This year, the "Red Feather" game returns to the collegiate ranks and will serve as the season opener for SVSU along with the unveiling of its newly-renovated stadium. The Fordney Club's goal is to raise more than $30,000 during the contest.
Last season (9/11/10), a game-saving interception by Bulldog linebacker Tayo Moss with less than a minute left in the contest preserved Ferris State's 21-17 upset victory over then nationally 16th-ranked Saginaw Valley State during the "Honoring American Heroes Day" contest at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids.
This year's matchup will mark the 37th consecutive season in which Ferris State has faced Saginaw Valley State dating back to 1975. FSU holds a 19-16-1 all-time series' advantage versus Saginaw Valley State including a pair of forfeit wins.
Prior to the visit to SVSU, Ferris State first kicks off its 103rd season of varsity competition this fall by hosting Hillsdale in a non-conference matchup on Friday, Sept. 2, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at FSU's Top Taggart Field.
For more information on the history of the "Red Feather" game, please visit this link: