PREVIEW: Ferris State Visits Hillsdale Looking For First Win At Muddy Waters Stadium In 13 years

PREVIEW: Ferris State Visits Hillsdale Looking For First Win At Muddy Waters Stadium In 13 years
Ferris State at Hillsdale
Saturday, Nov. 5 - 12 p.m. (ET)
Video:  Hillsdale Video (PPV)
Radio:  97.3 FM WDEE
Stats:  Click Here
Tickets:  Info |  517-607-3132
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Game Notes
Gameday Information
Team Video Center


This Week:
The two-time defending Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Champion Ferris State University football squad returns to the road this week as the Bulldogs visit the Hillsdale Chargers on Saturday (Nov. 5) for a 12 p.m. (ET) league tilt at Muddy Waters Stadium in Hillsdale.

The Bulldogs capped off a second-straight unbeaten regular season along with winning a second consecutive GLIAC Championship a year ago. FSU is presently 7-2 overall this campaign and in league action with Hillsdale owning a 4-4 overall record and 3-4 league slate.

Ferris State has won its last three outings in a row to date this year and is still battling for a potential NCAA Playoff berth with two games left in the regular season.

Ticket Information: Tickets for Saturday's game can be purchased prior to the contest on gameday. For additional information, please contact the Hillsdale Athletics Office at (517) 607 3132.

Media/TV Coverage: Saturday's game will be carried live locally by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM with the veteran broadcast team of Rob Bentley (play-by-play) and Sandy Gholston (color) calling the action. Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. (ET). The contest will also be streamed with a free live audio feed online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. All links, including free live internet statistics and Hillsdale's pay-per-view HD video webcast, will be made available at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Follow On Twitter: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow Saturday's contest 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.

Three-Straight Home Wins: Ferris State has posted decisive league home wins each of the past three Saturday's at Top Taggart Field. Two weeks ago, the Bulldogs opened their three-game homestand by beating Northern Michigan 45-23 in Big Rapids (Oct. 15). The Bulldogs then followed the win up with a 42-10 triumph over Lake Erie (Oct. 22). Finally, FSU won a key game with playoff implications last week as the Bulldogs topped then 19th-ranked Wayne State 42-20 in Big Rapids. In all three games, FSU jumped out to a decided advantage and had the opportunity to work reserves into the action in the second half.

GLIAC Players of Week: Ferris State had two individuals chosen this week as GLIAC Players of the Week following the victory over Wayne State as junior QB Reggie Bell (Los Angeles, Calif.) earned the Offensive Player of the Week distinction and senior punter Trevor Bermingham (Addison, Ill.) claimed the Special Teams Player of the Week honor. Bell accounted for 411 yards of total offense and four TD's in the victory while running for 172 yards and two scores. Bermingham also had a big day as he punted four times for 221 yards and pinned the Warriors back inside their own 20-yard line four times in the game. He averaged 55.3 yards per punt.

National Player of Week: Ferris State sophomore defensive end Zach Sieler (Pinckney) was tabbed as the D2Football.com National Defensive Player of the Week along with the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week after an outstanding individual effort in the win over Lake Erie (Oct. 22). Sieler tallied 11 total tackles, including eight solo stops, while adding 7.5 tackles for loss (-31 yards), four sacks (-21 yards), a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the victory. His 7.5 tackles for loss broke the Top Taggart Field stadium record and his played helped the FSU defense limit Lake Erie to only 83 yards rushing on 49 attempts (1.7 ypc.). Sieler presently leads the GLIAC in both tackles for loss and sacks this season.

School Record Victory: With the victory this season at Northwood in week three, Ferris State set a school record with its 28th-straight regular season win dating back to the 2013 season prior to a loss Sept. 24 at home against Ashland. FSU previously won 27 consecutive regular-season outings in a row from Oct. 23, 1993 to Sept. 14, 1996. FSU was a consensus top-five team in virtually every major NCAA Division II national poll last year. The Bulldogs' 28-game regular season win streak was the longest in the country prior to being snapped by Ashland this season.

The National Rankings: Ferris State moved up to #19 this week in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II National Poll. FSU had dropped out three weeks ago after having been listed in the poll for 31 consecutive weeks dating back to week one of the 2014 campaign. This week, Ferris State is also listed 16th by D2Football.com. In addition, FSU is now #14 nationally in the Massey Online Computer Rankings along with 11th according to the CompughterRatings.com Division II poll. Ferris State's current strenghth of schedule is listed 18th in the nation according to the Massey Ratings.

Regional Rankings: Ferris State moved up to #8 this week in the second NCAA Division II Super Region Four Rankings announced following the win over Wayne State. The top seven teams at the end of the year will receive berths into the NCAA Division II Playoffs. FSU is one of three GLIAC schools founds in the top eight overall along with Grand Valley State (#1) and Ashland (#7).

Series History: Saturday's contest will mark the first matchup between the Bulldogs and the Chargers since 2013 (10/19) when Hillsdale recorded a 45-38 victory over FSU at Muddy Waters Stadium. The road setback had been FSU's last regular-season loss prior to falling to Ashland this season (Sept. 24) when the Bulldogs' school-record regular season win streak was snapped. Hillsdale is the only team in the GLIAC the Bulldogs have not yet beat under head coach Tony Annese as FSU has dropped both previous games.

Traditional Rivals: Prior to the past two seasons in 2014 and 2015 when the two schools did not play, Ferris State and Hillsdale had met for 42-straight seasons dating back to 1972. The Bulldogs have won six of the last 13 matchups overall, including a season-opening 20-17 non-league triumph in Big Rapids in 2011 (9/2). However, Hillsdale has claimed the last two games and won five of the last six meetings overall. The Chargers are guided by former Ferris State head coach Keith Otterbein, who led the Bulldogs to then unprecedented success in the early to mid 1990's. This year marks only the Bulldogs' second trip to Hillsdale since the opening game of the 2010 season. FSU hasn't beat the Chargers in their last five tries at Muddy Waters Stadium dating back to 2003.

The Final Three: FSU is midst its final three game stretch of the regular-season. Ferris State has won at least two of its final three games of a year 18 times in the last 26 seasons dating back to 1990, including six of the last 10 years to date. The Bulldogs have won 53.8% (42-36) of their final three games of a campaign since 1990, but the figure jumps to 62.8% (49-29) counting regular-season games only and not playoff action. The Bulldogs have won all three of their final regular-season games in each of the past three years.

Stat Performers: Defensive end Zach Sieler leads the GLIAC in tackles for loss (2.2 pg.) and sacks (1.44 pg..). He's third nationally in sacks and fifth in tackles for loss to date .... The FSU defense is second in the GLIAC and is 28th nationally in turnovers forced this year with 19 to date .... The Bulldog defense is first in the league and 30th in the country in rushing defense (109.6 ypg.) .... FSU ranks ninth nationally in rushing (256.7 ypg.) ... Ferris State is first in the GLIAC and 28th in the nation in pass interceptions this year (12) ... Cornerback Tavierre Thomas is first in the league and 13th in the country in interceptions per game while safety Willie Smith is second in the league and 25th in the nation in the same category .... Kicker Wyatt Ford is first in the league and 12th nationally in field goals per game (1.33 pg.) ... Anthony Darkangelo ranks sixth in the GLIAC in tackles (9.4 pg.) .... FSU junior QB Reggie Bell is first in the GLIAC and 11th in the nation in total offense (322.6 ypg.) .... The Bulldogs have had two 100-yard rushers three times this year as quarterback Reggie Bell and tailback Jahaan Brown both topped the 100-yard rushing mark in the same contest against Michigan Tech, Ashland and Northern Michigan  ... FSU is also second in the country in net punting this year (40.94) and 18th in sacks (3.22 pg.).

Among Best In GLIAC History: First-year Bulldog junior quarterback Reggie Bell accounted for a personal career-high 483 yards this year against Grand Valley State, which ranks as the ninth-highest single-game output in GLIAC history. He completed 19-of-39 passes for 343 yards and two scores while also rushing for a game-high 140 yards on 27 carries. Four of the top 10 single-game total offensive performances in conference history are now owned by a current or former Bulldog quarterback as two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan owns three of the marks. He racked up 496 total offensive yards in last year's league road win at GVSU. Bell's 343 passing yards also marked his high in a Bulldog uniform. Bell's 483 yards were only 16 away from Vander Laan's school-record of 499 yards set in 2014 against Lake Erie.

Big Interception Day: Ferris State junior cornerback Tavierre Thomas tallied three interceptions in the setback to GVSU this year, which represents a career single-game high in a FSU uniform. In addition, it also matched the school-record of three picks set four other times. Ferris State's Dennis Bemis had three against GVSU in 1971 while Chris Estrada posted the same number at Wayne State in 1985. More recently, the Bulldogs' DeRen Ellis notched three versus WSU in 2000 and William Miles picked off three passes at Indianapolis in 2010. Thomas was also only one shy of tying the GLIAC single-game record of four interceptions set five different times.

Final Five-Game Stretch: Ferris State is midst its final five-game stretch of the regular season. FSU finished strong in its final five-game stretch of the regular-season last year. Ferris has now registered a 83-49-1 record in its final five regular-season contests per season since 1990. In 2012, the Bulldogs went 3-2 over the final five-game stretch. FSU was 4-1 in 2013, winning the last four games. The Bulldogs then won their last five games of the regular-season last year while capping a perfect 11-0 regular-season before posting an identical 5-0 mark in 2015.

Fred Mitchell Award Watch List: Bulldog junior kicker Wyatt Ford was named to the Fred Mitchell Award List of Excellence for his performance during the month of September. Ford was one of only 16 kickers across the country named to the list for excellence on and off the field. He was perfect in PAT tries during the opening month of the campaign and missed only a single field goal attempt. The monthly honorees are considered as potential nominees for the annual Fred Mitchell Award given to the nation's top collegiate placekicker.

The 108th Season: The 2016 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 108th 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 422-440-40 to date.

Unbeaten Regular Season: Last year's 11-0 start for Ferris State matched the 2014 season for the program's best season-opening victory total in nearly 20 years since winning its first 12 games en route to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals in 1995, which is the highest finish in Bulldog history. Overall, the Bulldogs have compiled six undefeated regular-seasons in program history.

One Of Best In The Country: Since the start of the 2013 season, the Bulldogs rank only behind defending national champion Northwest Missouri State for the fewest losses of any NCAA Division II team in the country. The Bearcats have only a pair of losses in the past three seasons. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have recorded back-to-back 11-1 seasons along with a 7-2 mark this year. Ferris State also holds the GLIAC's best mark and the best overall record of all 21 collegiate programs in Michigan at 44-11 overall since the arrival of head coach Tony Annese in 2012.

NFL Trio: The Bulldogs had three former players from last season in National Football League (NFL) Training Camps this summer. Former two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning quarterback Jason Vander Laan was with the New York Jets as a tight end while defensive tackle Justin Zimmer played for the Buffalo Bills. Wideout Jake Lampman is still with the New Orleans Saints and was activated for the first time last week, making three key special teams tackles in a 41-38 home win over Carolina. All three signed as undrafted free agents shortly after the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Records: Ferris State (7-2, 7-2 GLIAC) posted an 11-1 overall mark in 2015 and won a second-straight GLIAC title with a perfect 10-0 league record. In 2014, Ferris State finished 11-1 overall and won the GLIAC with a perfect 10-0 conference mark, becoming the first team in the GLIAC North to finish league play unbeaten since 2008 before doing it again this year. In 2013, FSU posted an 8-3 overall record and placed second in the GLIAC North Division standings with a 8-2 conference mark. FSU, which won seven games in head coach Tony Annese's debut season in 2012, has presently won 33 of its last 37 contests overall.

Hillsdale owns a 4-4 overall record to date this year and is 3-4 in GLIAC action. The Chargers notched a 5-6 overall mark in 2015 and were 5-5 in conference play. Hillsdale had lost three-straight games this year prior to a 41-38 road victory at Northern Michigan last Saturday (Oct. 29). HC is 3-1 at home to date this season.

The Coaches: Ferris State – Tony Annese (Alma, 1983), 5th season, 44-11-0 (.800) – (0-2 vs. Hillsdale).  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 at all levels is 269-56 (.828) to date and includes three prep state championships and two national JUCO crowns. He coached his 300th career game at all levels in 2014 and notched his 260th victory late last campaign.

Hillsdale - Keith Otterbein (Hillsdale, 1979), 15th season, 90-75 (.545); Career: 23rd season, 148-115-3 (.562) - (7-5-0 vs. Ferris State). Otterbein served as head coach at Ferris State for nine years from 1986-94 and then spent seven years (1995-01) as the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach at NCAA Division I Ball State before returning to his alma mater.

Preseason Top 20: Ferris State was a consensus top 20 team in the preseason and was tabbed as the nation's #12 team entering the season, according to the American Football Coaches Association Rankings. FSU was also ranked eighth in the Massey Ratings, ninth by D2Football.com, 14th by CompughterRatings.com, 17th by The Sporting News and 20th by Lindy's Division II Magazine.

Breaking The Mark: The Bulldogs broke the school-record for most consecutive wins overall back in 2014. FSU had won 15 games in a row overall dating back to the 2013 season before falling to Ohio Dominican in the 2014 NCAA Division II Playoffs. Previously, FSU won its opening 12 games in 1995 before falling in the Division II National Semifinals, which was the Bulldogs' best finish in school history. FSU has presently won 32 of its last 34 regular-season games overall.

Year Five Under Annese: A proven winner at all of his previous coaching stops and highly-regarded across the country, Tony Annese is directing the Bulldogs for the fifth 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 has an overall career head coaching record of 269-56 (.828) and was 30-4 (.882) as a JUCO coach at GRCC.

Preseason All-American: Ferris State junior center Jake Daugherty was a consensus Preseason All-American for the Bulldogs heading into the 2016 campaign. The local Big Rapids product received acclaim from virtually every source in the presason, including Sporting News, Lindy's, Football Gameplan and more. Daughterty started every game for the Bulldogs at center in 2015 as FSU ranked among the national leaders in rushing and total offense.

Returning All-American: Junior center Jake Daugherty returns as an All-American for the Bulldogs after garnering Football Gazette Division II First Team laurels a year ago. In addition, sophomore offensive lineman Devon Johnson was a Freshman All-American last season as one of the country's top rookies, according to USA College Football. Additionally, current senior linebacker Anthony Darkangelo garnered first-team all-region accolades last campaign from Football Gazette.

Second In GLIAC Poll: The two-time defending GLIAC Champion Ferris State University football team was projected to finish second in the conference standings as the 2016 GLIAC Football North Division Preseason Poll was announced. Ferris State picked up 45 total points and three first-place votes to rank second in the division just behind archrival Grand Valley State. The Lakers were first with 47 points and five top votes. The two squads were followed by Michigan Tech in third place (35 points) and Wayne State in fourth (30).

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