Football Game Notes: Hillsdale (Sept. 2)
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* This Week: The Ferris State University football team kicks off its 2011 11-game campaign and 103rd season of varsity competition Friday, Sept. 2, versus the Hillsdale Chargers in a 7:30 p.m. (EDT) non-conference matchup at FSU's Top Taggart Field in Big Rapids, Mich.
* Ticket Information: Single-game and season tickets for all FSU home contests are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888. Adult single-game general admission tickets can also be bought via Star Tickets and are only $7 while seniors (ages 65-plus), FSU Faculty/Staff and students in grades K-12 are just $5. Ferris State students are admitted free with a valid student ID card. Visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more ticket information.
* Media Coverage: Friday's game will be carried live locally by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with Rob Bentley handling the play-by-play duties and Sandy Gholston offering color commentary. A live multimedia package with audio, video, live stats, chat and blog will be available online. 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 Friday's contest and all other FSU games this year with live scoring updates via Twitter. Please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.
* Season Openers: Ferris State will be participating in its 103rd season opener since 1900 (no scores available in 1912 & 1916) and has compiled a 43-52-5 (.455 winning pct.) record. The Bulldogs have won 13 of their last 22 season openers to date, which includes six of their last 14 overall. Head coach Jeff Pierce has posted a 8-8-0 career mark in season-opening contests. Ferris had won four-straight season openers prior to last year's 35-17 setback at Hillsdale (9/3/10).
* Coming Up Next: Ferris opens Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play next week by traveling to Saginaw Valley State on Saturday, Sept. 10. Kickoff for the "Red Feather" game supporting Saginaw County youth charities is scheduled for 7 p.m. (EDT) at SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium in University Center.
* Chargers Ranked: Hillsdale is ranked 18th in the D2football.com Preseson Top 25 poll and was tied for 25th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Preseason Rankings. The Chargers were listed among the top 25 in virtually every preseason listing.
* The Records: Ferris State posted a 5-6 overall mark a season ago and was 5-5 in GLIAC play. The Bulldogs won five of their initial six games of the campaign and saw a four-game improvement over the 2009 season.
Hillsdale recorded a 9-3 overall mark in 2010 and placed tied for second overall in the GLIAC with an 8-2 conference record. The Chargers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2009 before falling to eventual national runner-up Grand Valley State.
* The Coaches: Ferris State – Jeff Pierce (Ferris State, 1979), 17th season, 96-80-0 (.545) – (9-7-0 vs. HC). Pierce is 47-44 (.516) overall in road contests at FSU and he owns a 39-27-0 (.591) 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.
Hillsdale – Keith Otterbein (Hillsdale, 1979), 10th season, 57-45-0 (.559); Career: 18th season, 117-84-3 (.581) – (5-4-0 vs. Ferris State). Otterbein served as head coach at Ferris State for nine seasons (1986-94) and then spent seven years (1995-01) as the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach at NCAA Division I Ball State.
* The 103rd Season: The 2011 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 103rd 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 372-424-40 (.469) to date heading into the 2011 campaign.
* Non-League Games: Ferris is 9-8-0 (.529) in non-league games dating back to 1990 and has won six of its last nine outings, including a 34-14 home triumph over Tiffin two years ago (8/29/09). Twelve of Ferris State's last 15 non-conference games have been away from home.
* Not The First: This year won't be the first time in recent memory the Bulldogs and Chargers have squared off in a non-conference matchup. In addition to last year's matchup at Hillsdale, the two teams also played a non-league home and home series in 2002 and 2003 with the Bulldogs winning both games. FSU topped HC 33-21 in Big Rapids in '02 (9/7) before beating the Chargers in Hillsdale by a 25-20 count the following year (9/6/03). Both meetings came in the initial contest of the season.
* First Timers: Nine Bulldog players made their first career starts in last year's opener at Hillsdale (Sept. 3). A total of 18 FSU players saw their first-ever action in a Bulldog uniform during the game.
* Friday Night Football: Ferris will kick off its 2011 season with a bang as the Bulldogs host Hillsdale for "Community Day". A number of special activities are slated in conjunction with the holiday weekend festivities. Lots will open for tailgating at 5 p.m. (ET) once on-campus afternoon classes have concluded.
* Game Promotions: The special Friday night kickoff activities coincide with the area's annual Riverdays Festival and will begin with a Welcome Back Tailgate sponsored by Pizza King along with the Grunst Brothers Sport Center and Party Store. The first 100 students will receive a free koozie. Free schedule magnets will also be given to the first 1,000 spectators at the contest compliments of Dental Health Care Associates. Numerous local businesses will have tables inside the stadium entrance and will be handing out coupons to fans. A number of activities will also be offered for youth as three inflatables will be located in the north endzone of Top Taggart Field. Kids will also have access to the turf practice field throughout the game in the northeast corner of the stadium. Halftime events will include a performance by the Reed City High School Marching Band. Students will also have an opportunity to win prizes in Minute To Win It contests throughout the game.
* Sunny 97.3: Friday's game will mark the debut of a new broadcast partnership between FSU Athletics and Sunny 97.3 FM. Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston will call the action starting with the "Bulldog Pregame" show at 7 p.m. Sunny 97.3 and the Bulldog Sports Network will carry all home and away football contests this campaign with the broadcasts streamed live online at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
* Bulldog Sports Network: Fans can follow all the action of Ferris State football live online via a new Bulldog Sports Network multimedia portal which will launch Friday night. A live audio and video pay-per-view webcast will be offered for all home games with free audio for all road contests. The package also includes live stats, live chat and a live blog. Visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more info.
* Team Captains: FSU's team captains for the 2011 campaign will be senior quarterback Tom Schneider (Jerome/Addison) and senior guard Jake Hancock (Big Rapids) on the offensive side of the ball along with senior defensive tackle Muneer Bawayeh (Dearborn/Fordson) and junior defensive end Jordan Morgan (Chicago, Ill./Mt. Carmel) defensively.
* Welcome Back: The Bulldogs return 19 starters and more than 40 letterwinners from last season. Eight of the starters back are on the offensive side of the ball with nine on defense and both specialists.
* Under The Lights: Ferris is 36-51-4 (.418) in evening games going back to 1961. The Bulldogs are 12-26-2 (.325) on the road and 24-25-2 (.490) at home during that period.
* Natural Rivals: FSU and Hillsdale are traditional rivals who have met every year since 1972 with the two teams having split the last 10 matchups. The Chargers are nationally-ranked in the preseason polls and guided by former Ferris State head coach Keith Otterbein.
* All-GLIAC Returners: Ferris State returns five players who received GLIAC postseason accolades in 2010. The list includes senior lineman Jake Hancock, who earned second team offensive honors. Junior defensive end Jordan Morgan was an All-GLIAC Second Team honoree as well a year ago. Meanwhile, senior QB Tom Schneider, junior defensive back William Miles (Stockton, Calif./Tokay) , junior defensive end Brad Iskow (Bad Axe) and senior receiver Mike Ryan (Howell) were all honorable mention picks a season ago for the Bulldogs.
* Preseason All-Americans: A trio of Ferris State players received preseason acclaim as three Bulldogs were chosen to the 2011 Consensus Draft Services (CDS) Preseason All-America Teams. Senior center Jake Hancock was tabbed as a 2011 CDS Preseason First Team All-American with junior defensive end Jordan Morgan and senior cornerback William Miles, who was injured this spring, claiming honorable mention status on the preseason All-America team. CDS picked both a first and second team offensive and defensive unit with various honorable mention recipients at each position. The 6-2 Hancock was one of four players from a GLIAC school honored as a first team preseason All-America pick.
* Season Fact: The Bulldogs' 2011 schedule features alternating home and away games throughout the year as FSU will not play consecutive contests either at home or on the road at any point during the campaign.
* Good Works Team Nominee: Ferris State senior quarterback Tom Schenider is among the nominees for the 2011 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team, which is sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company. The award recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation. This year marks the program's 20th year honoring college football players at all levels of competition who stand out for their "good works" in the community. Since 1992, selection to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has become the gold standard for off-the-field character and leadership for college football players. The honor is widely considered the sport's pre-eminent community service award. The 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be announced in late September.
* GLIAC Contenders: The Bulldogs were listed as one of the possible contenders in the GLIAC race in the 2011 Sporting News College Football Preview Issue, which hit various news stands nationwide this summer. The annual publication compiled a preseason list of the nation's top 25 teams, which included three from the GLIAC in second-ranked Grand Valley State, number nine Wayne State and Hillsdale, which was listed 19th in the preseason poll. Additionally, the magazine offered a brief conference outlook of each Division II league and included the Bulldogs among the possible contenders in the GLIAC along with Michigan Tech and Ashland. The article, which was written by Greg Dewalt of the Florence (Ala.) TimesDaily, noted "With 19 returning starters, including fourth-year starting QB Tom Schneider, Ferris State could be ready to challenge for the conference title."
* Preseason All-GLIAC: A total of six Ferris State players received preseason All-GLIAC acclaim this year on the JBS D2 Preseason All-Conference listing. The list was compiled by the Josh Buchanan scouting service (www.jbscounting.com). Senior lineman Jake Hancock was tabbed to the offensive first team with junior defensive end Jordan Morgan pegged as a first-team pick on the defensive side. Four others were named as Players To Watch, including senior quarterback Tom Schneider, senior receiver Mike Ryan, junior defensive end Brad Iskow and junior cornerback Antwian Windmon (Chicago/Morgan Park).
* Preseason All-American: Ferris State senior lineman Jake Hancock earned his second first team preseason honor of the year as he was named to the he 2011 Collegiate Development Football League (CDFL) Preseason All-American Football Team. The selections were made by the CDFL and the D2 vs. NAIA Senior Bowl selection committee. The D2 vs. NAIA Senior Bowl is a postseason game showcasing the talent of senior players from the NCAA Division II and the NAIA levels. It will be played Dec. 3, 2011, in the New York City metro area. Nine GLIAC student-athletes were named to the 2011 CDFL Preseason All-American Football Team, which is a preseason listing of the top potential players who could be asked to play in the D2 vs. NAIA Senior Bowl later this fall.
* Red Feather Game: The Ferris State University football team's GLIAC opener next week at Saginaw Valley State 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.
* New Faces On Staff: The Bulldogs have two new faces on the coaching staff this season, but both are familiar with the program. Former Ferris State defensive back Kyle Williams takes over as the DB's coach after previously having served as a student assistant coach at Ferris State each of the last two campaigns. He fills the shoes left by the departure of former position coach Gary McGraw, who accepted a job as an assistant coach at NCAA Division II Midwestern State (Texas). Additionally, former Bulldog standout kicker Doc Proctor has joined the staff this year and is working with the FSU kickers and punters.
* Training Camp Notes: Ferris' officially opened fall camp Wednesday, Aug. 10, as the squad's freshmen reported to campus for the first time. The Bulldogs' returning veterans reported Thursday, Aug. 11, with the squad's first official practice held Friday, Aug. 12. Prior to the Hillsdale game, FSU will have held 25 total workouts along with two scrimmages. Ferris' three-week training camp period not only has featured practices and scrimmages, but also meetings, lifting, conditioning, testing and various orientation sessions. FSU's final preseason scrimmage was held last Friday (Aug. 26) morning. Classes at Ferris State University began Monday (Aug. 29).
* Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 14 of its last 22 seasons and in nine of head coach Jeff Pierce's 16 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.
* GLIAC Preseason Poll: The Ferris State University football team was selected to finish sixth in the 2011 GLIAC Football Coaches Preseason North Division Poll, which was released in mid-August in conjunction with the launch of the GLIAC Football Media Day website. The Bulldogs received 37 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference's 14 head coaches. This year marks the first time the league's preseason gridiron poll has been seperated by divisions. Grand Valley State and Wayne State were picked as the North and South Division favorites, respectively.
* Bulldog Figures: Senior wide receiver Mike Ryan's 657 receiving yards last year was the 19th-highest seasonal mark in FSU history ...... Senior defensive back William Miles became only the 17th player in Bulldog history to record five or more interceptions in a campaign a year ago ........ Junior defensive end Jordan Morgan's eight sacks last year tied for the 18th-best single-season mark in Bulldog history ....... Morgan has 12 career sacks to date and is four sacks away from tying former FSU defensive line coach Whitney Bell for 15th place on FSU's career leaders list.
* Catching Them: Senior wide receiver Mike Ryan presently has 1,176 career receiving yards and ranks 14th on FSU's all-time career list. He also has 90 catches and needs only 10 more to become the 11th player in school history to grab 100 receptions or more in his Bulldog career.
* Passing Up The List: Senior quarterback Tom Schneider's 1,741 passing yards last season represented the 18th-best single season performance in school history. He came up only 259 yards shy of being only the 13th player in Bulldog history to throw for 2,000 yards or more in a single campaign.
* Pierce Approaching 100th Win: FSU head coach Jeff Pierce registered his 50th career home win at Top Taggart Field last year against Findlay (Oct. 9). Pierce presently owns a 50-35 (.588) mark in home games played at FSU. Additionally, he's only four victories shy of notching his 100th win overall as he enters Friday's contest with a 96-80 (.545) all-time mark.
* Strong In Five: Last year's 4-1 mark after five games represented the 18th time in 100 seasons the Bulldogs had won four of their initial five outings, including the third time in the last five years. Ferris has accomplished the feat seven times under head coach Jeff Pierce and went on to win at least seven games in five of the years under Pierce.
* Good Day: Ferris receiver Mike Ryan tallied eight catches in last year's season opener (Sept. 3) at Hillsdale. It topped his previous high of six grabs for 91 yards at Northern Michigan (9/26/09) and included a 13-yard scoring pass from Tom Schneider for the game's final score.
* Passing Leaders: FSU quarterback Tom Schneider surpassed the 2,000 career yards passing figure with 252 yards in the air versus Findlay a season ago (Oct. 9). He currently has 2,656 career yards and ranks 10th on the Bulldogs' all-time career leaders chart. He's also 11th in total offense with 3,580 yards in his career.
* Return Leaders: Senior receiver Damien Miller (Elsie/Ovid-Elsie) is eighth all-time in career kick return yardage at Ferris State. He has 52 career kick returns for 881 total yards to date heading into the year. Miller is also eighth in punt return yards (243).
* 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 2011 Ferris State University Football Yearbook is available to view as an online publication. The publication features such information as 2011 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2010 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.
* Kicking Leaders: FSU senior kicker Shawn Snoor (Diamondale/Holt) currently ranks tied for 12th in school history with seven made field goals. He's also listed 13th overall with 1,821 career punting yards to date.
* Red Zone Offense: The Bulldogs ranked near the GLIAC leaders in red zone offense most of last year and converted 31-of-40 (.775) times inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The total included 26 touchdowns and five field goals. FSU was perfect inside the red zone over a three-game stretch with a combined 12-of-12 total versus Ohio Dominican, Tiffin and Lake Erie (Sept. 18-Oct. 2) a season ago.