November 12, 2013

PREVIEW: Final Ferris State Football Regular-Season Game Against NMU This Saturday

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This Week: 
The Ferris State University football team hosts the Northern Michigan Wildcats in the 2013 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular-season finale on Saturday (Nov. 16) at FSU's Top Taggart Field. Kickoff for the "Senior Day" game is set for 12 p.m. (ET).

Last Home Game: Fans are encouraged to "arrive early, cheer loud and wear red!" for Saturday's final regular-season home game. Free hot chocolate and thundersticks will be distributed to the first 500 Ferris State students at the game.

Ticket Information: Tickets for Saturday's game are on sale now and can be bought online at StarTickets.com, by calling (800) 585-3737, or in person thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office located inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex. The ticket office is open today thru Friday from 9 a.m. (ET) to 5 p.m. (ET) with extended hours on Wednesday until 7 p.m. (ET). The Wheeler Pavilion Gameday Ticket Office will also open early on Saturday starting at 10 a.m. (ET) with the gates to the stadium opening at 10:30 a.m. (ET). For more information on ticket sales, please call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.  

Media Coverage: Saturday'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. The contest will also be streamed with free live audio and HD video online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.  The Meijer Pregame Show starts at 11:30 a.m. (ET). Links for all media coverage will be posted on FSU's official athletics website.

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 updates on several official social media platforms.  Visit www.twitter.com/FerrisFootball to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates or visit www.facebook.com/FerrisFootball.

The Records: Ferris State is currently 7-3 overall and 7-2 in the GLIAC after last Saturday's (Nov. 9) dominating 42-10 road win over Northwood in Midland.  FSU has won three-straight games to date, including wins over Michigan Tech and Wayne State along with Northwood.

Northern Michigan is currently 3-6 overall and in the GLIAC to date this season. The Wildcats have won two of their last three games overall, but suffered a 52-17 road setback last Saturday (Nov. 9) at Saginaw Valley State. NMU is 0-4 away from home to date this campaign.

The Coaches: Ferris State – Tony Annese (Alma, 1983), 2nd season, 14-7-0 (.667) – (1-0-0 vs. NMU).  Annese recorded a 195-41 (.826) mark as a head coach in four stops at the high school level before totaling a 30-4 (.882) record in three years as the head coach at Grand Rapids Community College. His overall career mark is 239-52 (.821) to date and includes three prep state championships and two national JUCO crowns.

Northern Michigan – Chris Ostrowsky (Jersey City State, 1993), 2nd season, 7-13-0 (.350) – (0-1-0 vs. Ferris State). Ostrowsky became NMU's 21st head coach last season after serving two years as the team's offensive coordinator.  He has more than 15 years of experience, which includes a stint at Division I Northeastern (Mass.).

Senior Day Saturday: Seventeen Ferris State seniors will be making their final career appearance at Top Taggart Field versus NMU and will be recognized prior to the contest.  The large group includes linebacker Jake Bentley, defensive tackle Donovan Carter, long snapper John Childers, safety Jonathan Flynn, offensive guard David Gifford, tight end Jace Heneveld, linebacker Cam Howard, kicker Austin Kantola, offensive tackle Carlin Landingham, tight end Josh Liske, offensive tackle Samuel Parker, linebacker John Purdy, tight end Nick Reyna, running back Korey Ringer, safety Marvin Robinson, cornerback James Stewart and safety Jamar Wimberly.

Bulldog Quick Note: The Bulldogs are riding a three-game winning streak and are currently 7-3 overall along with second in the GLIAC North Division with a 7-2 league record. FSU is also 10th this week in the NCAA Super Region Four rankings with the top six teams at the end of the season earning NCAA Division II playoff berths.

Nearing NCAA Division II Record: Ferris State sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan needs 87 yards on Saturday to match the NCAA Division II All-Time Single-Season record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a campaign. He currently has 1,396 total yards this season and is 87 away from matching the all-time seasonal mark originally set by Shawn Graves of Wofford in 1989. Vander Laan's current total is the most-ever for a GLIAC quarterback in a season, breaking his own mark established a year ago.

Aiming For Four: With a win on Saturday, the Bulldogs would win their fourth consecutive game. FSU has not closed a regular-season by winning four games in a row since 2001 when Ferris State posted a home win over Michigan Tech followed by road wins at Northern Michigan and Hillsdale before topping Indianapolis 16-13 in double-overtime in a memorable finale at Top Taggart Field.

Eight Wins Possible: A Ferris State victory on Saturday would give the Bulldogs their eighth win of the year. FSU has not won eight games in a single season since posting an 8-3 mark in 2006. Overall, the Bulldogs have achieved eight wins in a single-season only once (2006) in the last 16 seasons dating back to the school's last playoff appearance in 1996.

Seven League Wins: This year marks the first time the Bulldogs have posted seven wins in GLIAC play since 2006 and only the fourth time in the last 17 years dating back to the 1990's. A win on Saturday would give the Bulldogs their eighth league victory of the year. FSU also won seven games in the conference in 1999, 2001 and 2006, but has not claimed eight league victories since winning nine conference games en route to the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference title in 1996.

Winning Season: The Bulldogs officially recorded their eighth winning season in the last 11 years by beating Wayne State in impressive fashion 41-10 two weeks ago (Nov. 2) at Top Taggart Field. FSU has now finished with a winning season 17 times in the last 25 campaigns, including 12 times in the last 19 years. The Bulldogs won five consecutive conference championship titles from 1992-96 and were league co-champions in 1999.

Regional Rankings: The Bulldogs remain listed 10th this week in Super Region Four in the NCAA regional listing announced on Monday.  The top six teams at the end of the season will earn NCAA Division II playoff berths. Super Region Four consists of all teams found in the GLIAC, Great Lakes Valley Conference, Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Lone Star Conference.  A total of more than 40 schools are part of Super Region Four.

Second-Year Coaches: Saturday's contest will be a battle between two head coaches wrapping up their second year leading their respective teams in the GLIAC.  FSU's Tony Annese and NMU's Chris Ostrowsky were both hired following the 2011 campaign and marked the lone newcomers among the GLIAC's head coaching ranks in 2012.

Important Fact:  Saturday's game against NMU represents FSU's 11th game of the 2013 campaign. The Bulldogs have registered a 11-8 (.579) mark in the 11th game of the year dating all the way back to 1990.

Regular-Season Finales:  The Bulldogs are 18-11-0 (.621) in regular-season finale contests dating back to 1985, which includes a 13-10-0 (.565) mark since 1990. The Bulldogs have won four of their last seven regular-season finales, which includes a exciting 32-31 win over Northern Michigan last year (2012) inside the Superior Dome. Ferris posted back-to-back wins over Wayne State to close 2006 and 2007 before falling to Saginaw Valley State in its final games of the 2008 and 2009 seasons.  FSU lost at Northwood in 2010 before topping the Timberwolves in 2011.

Last Year's Win: A gutsy two-point conversion call with nine seconds remaining in the contest proved successful a year ago (11/10/12) for Ferris State as head coach Tony Annese went for the win and the Bulldogs pulled out an exciting 32-31 victory over Northern Michigan to cap the 2012 campaign inside the Superior Dome in Marquette. The Bulldogs trailed 31-24 with just over three minutes remaining, but drove 93 yards in 14 plays to pull within a single point on a 14-yard TD pass from quarterback Jason Vander Laan to wideout Jake Lampman with nine seconds remaining. Rather than kick the extra point and send the game into overtime, Annese elected to line up for a two-point conversion try and forced NMU to use its final two timeouts. Despite the stoppage, FSU didn't hesitate and went for the win with Torico Searcy finding the endzone on a sweep around the rightside to lift the Bulldogs to the victory.

National QB Leader: Ferris State presently boasts the nation's top running quarterback as Bulldog sophomore Jason Vander Laan has totaled more rushing yards on the ground this season than any other signal caller in the country, regardless of level. Vander Laan presently has 1,396 total yards rushing to date this year, which is tops among all quarterbacks at the NCAA Division I, II or III level, including both the FBS and FCS levels of competition. His 1,396 total yards on the ground rank ahead of Division I leader Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois, who has totaled 1,150 to date in nine games.

Second All-Time: Ferris State's current 3,107 yards rushing this year ranks second to date in school history. A year ago, FSU well-surpassed the previous school record of 2,538 rushing yards in a season. The Bulldogs rolled up 3,369 yards on the ground in 11 games a year ago. The previous school record had been established in 1995 during FSU's run to the NCAA Division II Semifinals. The Bulldogs need 262 yards on Saturday to break last year's record.

Football Banquet: The Ferris State football team will hold its annual postseason awards banquet on Sunday, Nov. 17, at Falcon Head Golf Course in Big Rapids, Mich. Festivities will begin at 12:30 p.m. (ET) with lunch to be served at 1:30 p.m. (ET) and the awards program to follow. All Bulldog fans and parents are invited and encouraged to attend the annual event. For more info, please contact Assistant Coach Brad Corpe at corpeb1@ferris.edu.

Fifteen-Year Streak: Ferris State rallied back from a 17-point second half deficit to beat Michigan Tech three weeks ago (Oct. 26) at MTU's Sherman Field.  The win was the Bulldogs' first in Houghton against the Huskies in 15 years dating back to 1998. Michigan Tech had won the previous six meetings in the Upper Peninsula.  FSU has now beat the Huskies in back-to-back years after originally snapping a 10-year series' losing string to MTU a year ago in Big Rapids. 

National Recognition: For the seventh different week this season, Ferris State had at least one student-athlete honored as a National Player of the Week following the win over Wayne State (Nov. 9).  Both Jamaal Jackson (offensive), junior linebacker Terrell Porter (defensive) and senior kicker Austin Kantola (special teams) were honored as honorable mention National Player of the Week selections by USA Football. Overall, a total of six different Ferris State football student-athletes have now combined to receive National Player of the Week honors a total of 19 times over the course of seven different weeks from the three primary media outlets that recognize players on a national level in Division II - D2football.com, Beyond Sports Network & USA Football.

The Final Three Games: FSU is midst its final three-game stretch of the regular-season. Ferris has now won at least two of its final three games of a year 16 times in the last 24 seasons dating back to 1990. This year was the fourth time in the last eight years the Bulldogs have accomplished the feat. The Bulldogs have won 52% (37-34) of their final three games of a campaign since 1990, but the figure jumps to 59% (42-29) counting regular-season games only and not playoff action.

Statistics Notes: The four touchdowns rushing by junior Jamaal Jackson against Wayne State is tied for the third-most in a game at the Division II level this season … FSU's current 310 yards rushing per contest is the highest seasonal average to date in school history … FSU's 488.1 total yards per game is the second-highest average in Bulldog single-season history … The 392 points scored by the Bulldogs represents the third-most in a single-season in FSU history while the 39.2 points per game average is second-best in a season … Jason Vander Laan's 1,396 yards on the ground is the sixth-most in a season in Bulldog history to date … Vander Laan's 108 total points to date is the fourth-highest seasonal figure in school history … A.J. McEwen's five interceptions to date is tied for 11th-best in school seasonal history.

Kantola Honored: Ferris State senior kicker Austin Kantola (Ravenna) was recognized for his efforts by being named to The Fred Mitchell Award list of excellence for the month of October. Kantola was one of 23 seniors and just one of nine Division II kickers to be honored during October on the list of 35 placekickers across college football announced by The Fred Mitchell Award organization for excellence on and off the football field. 

Comeback Time: The Bulldogs overcame a 17-point third quarter deficit to win at Michigan Tech this season.  While Ferris State's comeback was memorable, it wasn't the Bulldogs' largest comeback in school history.  FSU rallied from a 28-0 first-quarter deficit in a 1995 home game (11/11) versus Saginaw Valley State to keep its 39-game regular-season winning streak intact with a 46-42 win in blizzard conditions.  The comeback set an NCAA-II Record for most points overcome to win a game. A year ago, the Bulldogs trailed Wayne State in Detroit 21-0 before rallying for a 35-24 win. 

November Games: Ferris holds a 25-14 (.641) mark in its last 39 games held during the month of November. The total includes wins in eight of its last 15 outings during the month dating back to 2006. FSU was 1-1 in November contests last campaign and currently 2-0 this season.

National Computer Rankings: Along with the regional rankings, the Bulldogs are also among the nation's top 25 teams in two different national computer rankings this week. FSU is 22nd nationally in the Compughterratings.com national poll along with 25th in the Division II Massey Ratings poll. Both are online computerized national rankings polls.

Massey Ratings: The Bulldogs are listed 25th this week in the Division II Massey Ratings, which is an online computerized ranking system.  FSU is one of three GLIAC schools found in the top 25 nationally of 168 total Division II schools.  Ohio Dominican is listed sixth and Saginaw Valley State 11th of the GLIAC member schools found in the listing besides FSU. FSU's current strength of schedule, according to the Massey Ratings, is 10th nationally.  A year ago, the Bulldogs faced one of the nation's two strongest schedules. Presently, FSU's offense is ranked 13th in the country according to Massey.

The Anchor-Bone Trophy: Ferris State kept possession of the Anchor Bone Trophy for another year after beating West Michigan archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic by a 54-44 count on Oct. 12 at FSU's Top Taggart Field. The trophy is awarded annually to the winner of the Ferris State-Grand Valley State football game. It debuted in 2002 and GVSU maintained possession of the trophy for the first nine years with five wins in Allendale along with four at FSU's Top Taggart Field. However, the Bulldogs have now won back-to-back series' meetings as FSU recorded an impressive 40-24 win at Lubbers Stadium in 2012 to claim the trophy for the first time prior to this season's win.

Rushing Record: Ferris State established a new school single-game rushing record with 465 yards on the ground against Grand Valley State (Oct. 12).  FSU piled up nearly 300 yards rushing in the second half alone on its way to 583 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs have dominated the Lakers on the ground each of the last two years as Ferris State's 465 yards rushing on Saturday night topped the previous record FSU set at GVSU a year ago with 457 yards on the ground.

The Bulldog Season: The Bulldogs opened 2013 with a 56-10 road setback at two-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State (Sept. 7) before a sellout crowd of nearly 19,000 fans at the Fargodome.  FSU then followed with an exciting 56-49 league home win over Lake Erie (Sept. 14) in the league opener and topped defending league champion Ashland 34-7 on the road (Sept. 21) before a 59-16 road win at Walsh (Sept. 28) prior to splitting at home with Saginaw Valley State and GVSU and the doing the same on the road with Hillsdale and Michigan Tech. FSU posted a 7-4 overall mark a season ago and was 6-4 in GLIAC play in the first season under head coach Tony Annese.  The Bulldogs won three of their initial four games and also finished the year by winning three of their last four outings in 2012.

Beating The Lakers: The Bulldogs recorded their first back-to-back wins over GVSU since the 1994-95 seasons with the triumph this year. The victory was the Bulldogs' sixth all-time series' triumph over the Lakers in Big Rapids and the first at Top Taggart Field since 1995. The back-to-back wins in the rivalry represent only the fourth time in school history in which FSU has beat GVSU in consecutive seasons. 

Milestone Win: Head Coach Tony Annese became the first Bulldog head coach to beat the Lakers in back-to-back years since Nick Coso did so back in 1976 and 1977.  No other Ferris State coach besides Coso and Annese have defeated Grand Valley State in consecutive seasons.

Great Production: Ferris State's 54-point output versus Grand Valley State was its second-highest total ever against the Lakers and was only three shy of the 57-0 triumph the Bulldogs recorded in the first-ever series meeting back in 1971 in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs' 54 total points marked the third time this year in which FSU has totaled 45 points or more in a contest and the fifth time in less than two years under head coach Tony Annese.  Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had done so only three times in the previous seven years.

Powerful Offense: FSU's 583 yards of total offense against GVSU represented the eighth time in the Tony Annese era in which the Bulldogs have totaled 500 yards or more offensively in a contest.  FSU just missed totaling 500 yards in last week's win at Northwood.

New Video Board: Ferris State officially unveiled its new Daktronics scoreboard and sound system in conjunction with the homecoming matchup against SVSU on Oct. 5. The new scoreboard, which includes a LED video board, was approved by the Ferris State board of trustees in early July. It puts FSU on par or above competing schools in Division II in providing an entertaining game day experience and replaced the previous system that dated back to the 1980's.

Season Notebook: FSU's win over Walsh (Sept. 28) came in the Bulldogs' first-ever visit to Canton and historic Fawcett Stadium located at the Pro Football Hall of Fame …. FSU compiled 615 yards of total offense versus Walsh, which marked the third time in 15 games during the Tony Annese era in which the Bulldogs have topped the 600-yard mark in a contest ….. A total of 10 different players carried the ball and nine caught at least one pass for the Bulldogs in the victory over Walsh.

Offensive Output: FSU's 59-point scoring output versus Walsh (Sept. 28) was its highest production since a 62-42 home win over Northern Michigan in 2005. Ferris scored eight offensive touchdowns and rolled up 615 yards of total offense.

Award Winners: A trio of Bulldog players reaped the rewards following the rivalry win over Grand Valley State this year.  Sophomore quarterback Jason Vander Laan (Frankfort, Ill./Chicago Christian) was one of the national offensive award recipients by Beyond Sports Network and also tabbed as an honorable mention player of the week choice by USA Football.  In addition, senior cornerback James Stewart (Detroit/University Prep) attained USA Football National Defensive Player of the Week Honorable Mention laurels while senior kicker Austin Kantola (Ravenna) picked up honorable mention player of the week recognition from USA Football in the special teams category. Both Vander Laan and Stewart were also recognized individually by the GLIAC as the league's offensive and defensive players of the week, respectively.

Dominating The Lakers: This year marked the second-straight season in which Bulldog quarterback Jason Vander Laan has claimed the GLIAC's Offensive Player of the Week honor after a win over Grand Valley State.  Vander Laan has now ran for 185 plus yards each of the last two seasons against the Lakers after posting 210 yards on the ground versus GVSU this year. 

Reliving The Streak: In fitting fashion, the Bulldogs' recent victory over Grand Valley State came on the same night in which FSU celebrated "The Streak", which was the program's memorable 42-game regular season unbeaten streak from 1992-95. Former alumni from the impressive run were on hand as FSU won the Anchor-Bone Classic and beat the Lakers in back-to-back seasons for the first time since that memorable era.

National Player Of The Week:  Earlier this year, sophomore defensive end Justin Zimmer claimed National Player of the Week honors for FSU after the Bulldogs' road win at Ashland (Sept. 21) from Beyond Sports Network, D2football.com & USA College Football along with being the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded 10 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in the win over the Eagles.  His played helped the Bulldog defense limit the Eagles to only seven points as FSU forced three turnovers.

More National Honors: FSU sophomore quarterback JasonVander Laan was tabbed as the National Offensive Player of the Week by D2football.com and Beyond Sports Network along with being chosen as the GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week following Ferris State's home win over Lake Erie (Sept. 14). He accounted for seven touchdowns against the Storm while rushing for a career-high 279 yards and four scores.  He was also 14-of-23 in the air for 170 yards and three scores with no interceptions or sacks.  He averaged 10.3 yards per carry in the contest, including a 63-yard TD run.

Big Night: Presently, Jason Vander Laan's 279 total yards rushing versus Lake Erie remains ranked as NCAA Division II's sixth-highest single game performance of the season and he's presently ninth in the nation with 1,396 total rushing yards this campaign, which is tops for all QB's in the country.  He's also third among the GLIAC leaders on the ground.  His 279 total yards on the ground versus Lake Erie were the most by a Bulldog rusher since Andrew Terry established a NCAA record with 410 yards rushing on 38 carries against Findlay in 2004 (10/2/04) at Top Taggart Field.

Fifth All-Time: FSU's Jason Vander Laan topped the 2,000 career yards rushing mark in the GVSU game and is now fifth all-time on the Bulldogs' career rushing list with 2,764 total yards.  He totaled 218 yards at Michigan Tech, which was his third 200+ yard rushing performance of the season. In FSU's win over Walsh, he surpassed C.J. Van Wieren (2004-07) to become the school's all-time career leader in rushing yardage by a quarterback. Vander Laan also ranks ninth in school history in passing yards and owns 3,082 total yards.  Among the former players he has moved past this year is current FSU wide receivers coach Sparky McEwen, who totaled 2,183 passing yards in his Bulldog career.

Topping 5,000 Yards: Ferris State's Jason Vander Laan topped the 5,000 yard mark in total offense three weeks ago at Michigan Tech and currently ranks seventh in school history with 5,816 career yards of total offense.

Bulldog Quick Preview: Expectations are high at Ferris State in year two under head coach Tony Annese.  The Bulldogs posted a 7-4 overall mark in his debut season last fall (2012) and FSU ranked among the nation's top 10 teams in both rushing offense and total offense.

The Bulldogs recorded several impressive wins under Annese's direction a year ago, including beating archrival Grand Valley State in the Anchor-Bone Classic for the first time since 1999, snapping a 10-year losing streak to Michigan Tech and topping defending national runner-up Wayne State for the first time in five years.  FSU also managed to win seven games for only the second time in the past decade despite facing one of the nation's two toughest schedules in Division II football during the regular-season, according to the Massey Ratings.

Ironically, the Bulldogs' most recent contest prior to this season's opener inside the Fargodome at North Dakota State also took place in a domed venue as the Bulldogs concluded 2012 in memorable fashion by beating Northern Michigan 32-31 last fall (Nov. 10) as Annese's squad went for the win and successfully completed a two-point conversion with nine seconds remaining in regulation rather than electing to kick an extra point to force overtime at the Superior Dome in Marquette.

Besides putting together an impressive debut season with the Bulldogs, Annese and his staff also inked what is considered to be the nation's top incoming recruiting class this winter in Division II football, according to FootballScoop.com.

GLIAC Preseason Poll: The Ferris State University football team was selected to finish third in the 2013 GLIAC Football Coaches Preseason North Division Poll, which was released in conjunction with the launch of the GLIAC Football Media Day website. The Bulldogs received 69 points along with one first-place vote in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference's 15 head coaches. This year marks the third time the league's preseason gridiron poll has been seperated by divisions. In the North Division, Grand Valley State was picked first with 94 points and six first-place votes, Saginaw Valley State was second with 87 points and six first-place votes.  Ashland was chosen to win the GLIAC South.

AFCA Division II Poll: The Bulldogs were among eight teams from the conference ranked or listed as receiving votes in the 2013 American Football Coaches Association Preseason Division II Coaches' Poll. Ashland was ninth, Grand Valley State 14th along with Saginaw Valley State University 22nd in the nation. Five other GLIAC teams were listed in the "Others Receiving Votes" category including Michigan Tech, Ferris State, Hillsdale, Ohio Dominican and Wayne State.  FSU received votes in the national poll again last week.

Ohio Stretch: Ferris State wrapped up its GLIAC South Division stretch with a perfect 3-0 mark against Ohio schools.  FSU previously swept four Ohio teams in 2010 and beat three of four in the 2011 campaign before topping two of three a year ago.  Since 2010, the Bulldogs are 12-2 versus teams from the Buckeye state.  

National Statistics Leaders: The Bulldogs presently lead the GLIAC and are ranked sixth nationally in rushing offense this week at 310.7 yards per game.  FSU is also 20th nationally and fourth in the league in total offense with an average of 488.1 yards per contest.  Ferris State ranks second in the country in third down conversion percentage (.500) along with 11th in fewest penalty yards per game (39.0 ypg.). FSU also is fourth in the nation in punt return defense (1.11).  The Bulldogs are second in the GLIAC in scoring offense (39.2 ppg.) and are among the top 25 in the nation.

Individually, Jason Vander Laan ranks sixth nationally in rushing touchdowns (18) along with ninth nationally in rushing yards (1,396). Vander Laan is also 11th in the country in scoring (10.8 ppg.) and second in the GLIAC in points responsible for (192).  FSU's A.J. McEwen is second in the conference and is 17th nationally in interceptions (0.5 pg.).

Big Return: Ferris State's Dontae Ingraham nearly returned a kickoff against Lake Erie for a touchdown in FSU's first home game. He had an 88-yard return on the play to the Storm four-yard line, which helped lead to a TD run by Jason Vander Laan on the next play that gave FSU a 35-27 lead late in the third period.  FSU has not had a kickoff return for a touchdown since former defensive back Jim Skodak took one 85 yards to the house in a 17-14 road win at Northern Michigan in 2004 (10/16/04). Despite coming up just short on the kickoff return, Ingraham scored his first Bulldog touchdown by catching a 23-yard TD pass from Jason Vander Laan in the opening quarter.

Nation's Top Performers: Ferris State junior cornerback A.J. McEwen, who moved from wide receiver last spring, currently remains 17th in the country with five interceptions this campaign and is averaging 0.5 picks per contest. He had the first two interceptions of his Bulldog career in the second half versus Lake Erie and added another pick in the win over Ashland along with one at Walsh before intercepting another pass at Michigan Tech. McEwen ranks 17th in the nation to date and second in the GLIAC with the five picks this year.

The 105th Season: The 2013 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 105th 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 392-436-40 (.474) to date heading into this week's matchup.

Evening Football: FSU's recent win over GVSU represented the Bulldogs' fifth evening contest of the 2013 campaign.  Five of FSU's first six contests of the year were evening games this campaign. However, the Bulldogs' final five regular-season games are or were afternoon starts at various times.

Year Two Under Annese: A proven winner at all of his previous coaching stops and highly-regarded across the country, Tony Annese will direct the Bulldogs for the second time this fall. He came to FSU 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.  He owns an overall career head coaching record of 239-52 (.821) after the first eight games of the 2013 campaign and was 30-4 (.882) as a junior college head coach at GRCC.

First Game Trip: Besides facing one of the nation's top collegiate football programs in two-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State (Sept. 7), the Bulldogs also took the field in week one in front of one of college football's most passionate fan bases at North Dakota State.  More than 100,000 fans a year pass through the Fargodome to watch the Bison, ranking North Dakota State in the top 10 nationally for attendance in the Football Championship Subdivision. Known as one of the loudest environments to play in college football, the Fargodome crowd routinely goes over 100 decibels.  NDSU's home since 1993 has become of the most difficult places in the country for opponents to play and can pack in 19,000 fans for football games. BleacherReport.com named the Fargodome among its top 50 greatest college stadiums.  ESPN College Gameday visited Fargo earlier this year.

The Schedule: Ferris State's 11-game Bulldog football slate in 2013 featured five home contests at Top Taggart Field and a 10-game GLIAC schedule. 

The Returnees: Among the returnees for the Bulldogs this campaign are five returning all-conference honorees in quarterback Jason Vander Laan, offensive linemen Carlin Landingham and Adam Bennett, defensive lineman Corey Stone along with wide receiver Jake Lampman.  They are among more than 40 letterwinners back from last season's roster. Overall, the Bulldogs return 17 starters and more than 40 letterwinners from last season.

Coaching Staff: The Bulldog staff this season feature a new defensive coordinator in Lou Esposito, who joined FSU in the spring after serving as the defensive line coach at Western Michigan.  He is a former Division II head coach at St. Joseph's (Ind.).  The rest of the FSU staff returns basically intact from a year ago. Rob Zeitman, who was a head coach at Grand Rapids Northview High School before moving to Ferris State, is the assistant head coach and handles the offensive line. The other full-time assistants include former Bulldog players Ryan Hodges and Sparky McEwen along with ex-Grand Valley State quarterback Ryan Brady, who is FSU's offensive coordinator this fall. Meanwhile, Brad Corpe returns to coach the running backs with Andy Tevlin guiding the defensive line and former longtime prep head coaching legend Jack Schugars working with the special teams.

Former Head Coach: Former Ferris State quarterback Charles "Sparky"McEwen joined head coach Tony Annese's staff last year as an assistant coach and directs the wide receivers. McEwen, who played for the Bulldogs from 1987-90, spent more than a decade as a professional football coach in the Arena Football League with both the Grand Rapids Ramapge and the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz.  He currently ranks 14th among the school's all-time passing leaders with 2,183 career yards. His son, A.J. McEwen, is a defensive back for the Bulldogs.

Did You Know?: Ferris has had a winning season in 17 of its last 25 seasons overall.  The Bulldogs won five consecutive conference championship titles from 1992-96 and were league co-champions with Northwood in the 1999 season.

Strong Ties: The Bulldogs' projected contributors on the two-deep most weeks have included as many as 12 players who spent time in West Michigan at Grand Rapids Community College under head coach Tony Annese's direction before embarking on their Bulldog careers.

West Michigan: The Bulldogs' two deep lineup and list of potential starters this year have included at least 22 student-athletes from communities located in various parts of West Michigan such as Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Zeeland, Muskegon, Rockford, Greenville, Ravenna and more. Nearly 50 percent of FSU's projected starters have been West Michigan natives. Besides the ties to West Michigan found among this week's potential two-deep players, the overall Bulldog roster includes more than 60 individuals and over half of the entire FSU squad from portions of West and Northwest Michigan.  

More Season Notes: Newcomer Dewayne Boston scored the Bulldogs' lone touchdown at North Dakota State in his Ferris State debut. The junior college transfer hauled in a 19-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jason Vander Laan near the end of the first half ….. The Bulldogs ran for 228 yards on the ground against a North Dakota State defense that ranked among the nation's leaders in rushing defense a year ago by allowing less than 100 yards per contest.  The week before facing FSU, the Bison allowed less than 50 rushing yards to defending Big 12 Conference Champion Kansas State in a 24-21 win …… The nearly 19,000 fans on hand at the Fargodome is believed to be one of the largest crowds in which the Bulldogs have ever played in front of during school history .... Michigan transfer Marvin Robinson had a team-high 10 tackles and a diving interception at NDSU.

Offensive Statistics: Ferris State's 473.5 yards per game last season ranked as the second-highest seasonal figure in school history. The highest mark of 534.5 yards a contest came in 1999 ...... Ferris State had a school-record 289 first downs last season to top the previous single-season mark of 277 first downs set in 1995 ...... The Bulldogs' 5,209 total yards last season was the third-best mark in school seasonal history.

Conference Record: Ferris State quarterback Jason Vander Laan set a new GLIAC single-season record for rushing yardage by a quarterback as a redshirt freshman during the 2012 campaign. The rookie signal caller ran for 1,338 total yards last season with 1,235 coming in 10 league games to establish the record.  The league mark for most rushing yards by a QB in conference games ONLY had been 1,128 yards by Saginaw Valley State's Jeff Klopf in 1997.  Ironically, Klopf played prep football under FSU's Tony Annese prior to his collegiate career.  Vander Laan's totals were also the most ever by a FSU QB in a single-year and placed sixth on the school's seasonal rushing chart.

Rookie Record: Bulldog QB Jason Vander Laan also set a new school record for most rushing yards in a single-season by any Bulldog freshman a year ago with 1,338 total yards on the ground. Former tailback Derek Fudge owned the previous mark with 1,227 yards during the 2000 campaign.

Statistics Notes: Ferris State senior kicker Austin Kantola is tied for 11th on FSU's all-time list with 14 made field goals ...... The Bulldogs' A.J. McEwen ranks 10th in school history with 238 career punt return yards .... Jake Lampman's 717 receiving yards a year ago was 18th-best all-time in a season at FSU.

Preseason Honors: Junior receiver Jake Lampman and senior tackle Carlin Landingham were both chosen to the 2013 Detroit Free Press Michigan All-Small College Preseason First Team ..... Several Bulldog players were also ranked among the nation's best at their respective positions heading into 2013 according to the D2football.com Preseason Position Rankings compiled by the online source - Jason Vander Laan is listed 16th at quarterback, Jake Lampman is 57th at receiver, Carlin Landingham is 30th at offensive tackle, Adam Bennett was 18th at center (moving to guard this year), Corey Stone is 22nd at defensive tackle and Marvin Robinson came in 35th at safety.  All were also chosen as preseason All-GLIAC picks by D2football.com.

Key Roster Note: The Bulldogs have four players currently listed on their roster who attended Manatee High School in Bradenton, Fla., which has been the nation's number one ranked high school team for several weeks over the last two seasons. The group includes sophomore slot Antonio Agurs along with three true freshmen in receiver Jajuan Pollock, defensive lineman Marquis Dawsey and defensive back Willie Smith.

Sunny 97.3: Saturday's game continues the 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 11:30 a.m.  Sunny 97.3 and the Bulldog Sports Network will again 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 the Bulldog Sports Network multimedia portal again this season.  A live audio and video pay-per-view webcast in HD 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 at select times. Visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more info.

Home Ticket Information: Season and single-game tickets for the 2013 home campaign are currently on sale now.  Fans are encouraged to buy tickets in advance this season for a discount over the normal gameday rates.  For more info on ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 orwww.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

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 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 2013 Ferris State University Football Yearbook is available to view as an online publication. The publication features such information as 2013 player rosters, season outlook, player biographies, coaching staff information, 2012 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.

More Media Coverage: Ferris State Football will be featured throughout the year as part of the "Bulldog Sports Update", which will air Monday thru Friday at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunny 97.3 FM.  Additionally, the football team will also be featured at various times on "Ferris State Friday's", which can be heard at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Grand Rapids' WBBL as part of "The Rundown with Doctor & Bentley".  The host is hosted by Tim Doctor and former NFL linebacker Ray Bentley.  His son, Jake Bentley, is a member of the Bulldog football team. Additionally, head coach Tony Annese will make regular weekly appearances during the season on the Ferris Sports Update TV show, which is available across Northern Michigan on Fox 32 along with Comcast Xfinitiy in Michigan and other sources, including online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

 
 
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