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Big Rapids, Mich. - The 2012 schedule is officially set for Ferris State University, which kicks off a new era of Bulldog Football this fall under first-year head coach Tony Annese.
The Bulldogs today (May 18) unveiled their 2012 gridiron slate and ticket information for the program's 104th season of varsity competition. The 11-game schedule features five home contests at FSU's Top Taggart Field along with six consecutive night games to open the campaign.
A proven winner at all of his previous coaching stops and highly-regarded across the country, Annese will direct the Bulldogs for the first time this fall following three impressive years as the head coach at Grand Rapids Community College, which came on the heels of a highly successful 25-season stint at the prep level.
"We've made tremendous strides as a program over the past few months and I'm eager to step on the field this fall," Annese said. "We have to be diligent and continue to work hard this summer, but the foundation we've established this spring is in place. There is a tremendous football tradition here at Ferris State and we look forward to the opportunity to reignite this program on the field."
Ferris State will officially begin the 2012 season on the road with its lone non-league game on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the University of St. Francis (Ill.) in Joliet, Ill. The highly-regarded Fighting Saints are ranked seventh nationally in the NAIA Football Coaches Spring Preseason Poll and will be guided by a first-year head coach of their own in former Bulldog assistant coach Joe Curry.
The Bulldogs then open a 10-game league schedule the following week as they travel to Painesville, Ohio, for the second-time ever to face the Lake Erie Storm in the first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game on Sept. 8.
FSU's home opener is scheduled for Sept. 15 when the Ashland Eagles make the trip to Big Rapids to square off against the Bulldogs. Kickoff for the initial home game is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) under the lights on Ferris State's Mondo-Ecofill artificial surface with the game billed as Agriculture Day.
The Bulldogs remain at home the following week, on Sept. 22, when they take on league newcomer Walsh (Ohio) for the first time in school history with the contest also slated for a 7 p.m. (ET) start. It will help kickoff the annual Paint Big Rapids Pink event.
Following the two-game evening homestand, the Bulldogs venture back on the road to begin their final seven-game stretch versus GLIAC schools from the state of Michigan.
FSU starts the divisional swing by traveling to Saginaw Valley State on Sept. 29 before visiting Grand Valley State for the Anchor-Bone Classic on Oct. 6 in Allendale. The league matchup at GVSU will represent the 41st meeting in the all-time series between the two West Michigan archrivals with the game's winner being presented with the 10th annual Anchor Bone Trophy.
The 86th annual Homecoming game is on Oct. 13 when former Bulldog head coach Keith Otterbein brings his Hillsdale Chargers to Top Taggart Field for FSU's first afternoon game of the year at 2 p.m. (ET). The next week (Oct. 20), Michigan Tech comes to town for a 1 p.m. (ET) start with the contest being promoted as "Dog Day".
Ferris State will play two of its final three regular-season games away from home starting with an Oct. 27 contest versus defending NCAA Division II National Runner-Up Wayne State in the Motor City. The regular-season home finale is an afternoon game on Nov. 3 against Northwood for "Kids Day" in Big Rapids with the final contest on the road in the Upper Peninsula at Northern Michigan inside the Superior Dome on Nov. 10.
The NCAA Division II Playoffs begin the week after the regular-season ends on Nov. 17 and run until the Division II Championship game on Dec. 15 in Florence, Ala.
In addition to a new team on the field this fall, fans will also see a new and improved ticket pricing structure with advanced purchase price breaks.
Season and individual game tickets for the 2012 campaign are currently on sale now. An individual season ticket is $30. The Division II Pass for Two, which includes admittance to all Bulldog sports except hockey, is $150. New reserved chair backs will also be offered this season and are $85 including a season ticket or $55 without a season ticket.
To reserve your chair back for the 2012 season, please call the FSU Athletics Department at (231) 591-2860 by June 29. Seating representative Josh Rees, will help fans choose a preferred seating location at Top Taggert Field over the phone. Fans can also choose their exact location during the Bulldogs' preseason scrimmage on Aug. 18, but all chair back seats must be purchased by June 29 via a credit card.
Fans will receive a discount for purchasing single-game tickets in advance. Adult single-game tickets are $7 in advance or $9 on gameday for general admission seating. FSU faculty/staff, seniors (ages 65 and up) along with students in grades K-12 are $5 in advance or $7 on gameday. All Ferris State students are admitted free with a valid student ID card.
All tickets can be purchased by visiting the FSU Athletics Ticket Office inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex or by calling (231) 591-2888. Single-game tickets can also be purchased thru Star Tickets by calling (800) 585-3737, online at www.startickets.com, the customer service desk at all West Michigan Meijer locations or via the FSU Athletics Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ferrisathletics.
Ticket office hours will vary during the summer months. For more information on ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Below is the complete 2012 schedule:
Thursday, Aug. 30 - at St. Francis (Ill.), 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 8 - at Lake Erie*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 15 - vs. Ashland*, 7 p.m. (Agriculture Day)
Saturday, Sept. 22 - vs. Walsh*, 7 p.m. (Paint Big Rapids Pink Kickoff)
Saturday, Sept. 29 - at Saginaw Valley State*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6 - at Grand Valley State*, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 13 - vs. Hillsdale*, 2 p.m. (Homecoming)
Saturday, Oct. 20 - vs. Michigan Tech*, 1 p.m. (Dog Day)
Saturday, Oct. 27 - at Wayne State*, 12 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 3 - vs. Northwood*, 1 p.m. (Kids Day)
Saturday, Nov. 10 - at Northern Michigan*, 1 p.m.
Nov. 17 - NCAA Division II Playoffs begin
Note: Home games in Bold and played at Top Taggart Field
All starting times and dates are subject to change.
* Denotes GLIAC game