Dec 04, 2018
|Ferris State at Minnesota State|
|Saturday, Dec. 8 - 3 p.m. (ET)|
|Video:||ESPN3 & WatchESPN|
|Radio:||97.3 FM WDEE|
|Tickets:||Info | (507) 389-5884|
|Social Media:||Facebook | Twitter | Instagram|
|Game Notes (PDF)|
|Team Video Center|
This Week's Action
The Ferris State University Bulldogs will square off against the Minnesota State Mavericks in the 2018 NCAA Division II National Semifinals on Saturday (Dec. 8) in Mankato, Minn. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) at Blakeslee Stadium on the MSU campus. FSU will be making its third-ever national semifinal appearance and its second in the past three seasons. The Bulldogs hold the nation's best record (59-7) over the past five years in Division II football.
The Bulldogs are currently a school all-time best and nation-leading 14-0 overall this season and claimed the GLIAC Championship with a 8-0 mark. Meanwhile, the Mavericks have been ranked #1 in the country most of the year and are presently 13-0 this season. They won the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference with an 11-0 record.
Saturday's game will be carried live nationally by ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app while also being aired 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 gets underway at 2 p.m. (ET). The contest will also be streamed with FREE live audio online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com. Visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for a complete listing of links.
Ticket prices for the playoff game are $15 for reserved seats and $10 for adult general admission seating. Youth and senior citizens are $5 while college students with/ID are $3 and children five and under are free. Fans are encouraged to purchase advance tickets online at www.msumavericktickets.com or can buy at the stadium on gameday.
Ferris State officially secured the program's 10th GLIAC Championship by winning this year's title in outright fashion. The Bulldogs went unbeaten in conference action for the third time in the last five seasons. Overall, FSU has now won 11 games or more six times in school history, including five-straight years.
Memorable Bulldog Run
Over the last five seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 59-7 overall record and claimed three conference championships, posted three unbeaten regular-seasons, captured two regional titles and reached the national quarterfinals three times. Ferris State has also accumulated two Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won nine postseason games.
Preseason Top 10 Team
Ferris State was a consensus top 10 team nationally in virtually every preseason Division II national poll, including as high as #3 by Lindy's Sports and CompughterRatings.com this year. FSU was also picked fourth by the Massey Ratings, seventh by D2Football.com along with eighth by both the AFCA and College Football America.
National Power & State's Best
Now in the seventh season under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 74-14 overall mark in his tenure and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival. Overall, Annese has won 84% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 299 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
Michigan's Best Team
Ferris State was chosen last summer by Hero Sports as the state of Michigan's best college football team, regardless of division. Hero Sports unveiled its top team from every state, regardless of division, and the Bulldogs were chosen tops among the 21 collegiate programs in Michigan. The award is the result of an equation created to level the playing field across all divisions of college football using specialized criteria.
The 110th Season
The 2018 campaign represents the Bulldogs' 110th 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 an all-time mark of 452-443-40.
National Semifinal Run
Ferris State posted a 12-3 overall record in 2016 while advancing to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals for only the second time in school history. In 2016, the Bulldogs also posted a school-record tying 12 victories. Ferris State received the program's third-straight NCAA Football Playoff berth and captured the Super Region Four Championship by beating archrival Grand Valley State during a memorable run.
Did You Know?
This year marks the third time in the past four years the Bulldogs were tabbed as one of the country's top three teams in at least one preseason national ranking.
The Head Coaches
Ferris State – Tony Annese (Alma, 1983), 7th season, 74-14-0 (.841) – 0-0 vs Minnesota State). 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 299-59 (.835) to date and includes three prep state championships and two national JUCO crowns. He won his 50th game at FSU in last year's season opener versus Findlay and it was also his 275th win at all levels overall.
Minnesota State - Todd Hoffner (Valley City State), 9th season, (0-0-0 vs. FSU). Hoffner has led the Mavericks to six NCAA Division II Playoff appearances along with five NSIC Championships. The school made its first appearance in the D2 Championship game under his watch in 2014. Previously, he was the offensive coordinator at South Dakota for two years and spent seven seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire (1999-2005) where he led the Blugolds to a 46-29 record.
The National Semifinals
The four remaining teams following last week's D2 National Quarterfinals were reseeded and FSU drew the #3 seed with Minnesota State at #2. The other national semifinal will feature #4 Notre Dame (Ohio) at #1 Valdosta State (Ga.). The two winners will meet in the D2 National Championship Game on Dec. 15 in McKinney, Texas. All four remaining teams are unbeaten this season .... With a win each of the next two weeks, the Bulldogs could become the first team in NCAA history (any level) to finish a season at 16-0. The Bulldogs will be making their third appearance in the national semifinals, along with 1995 and 2016, but have never advanced to the title game ..... No school has also ever won both the D2 men's basketball and football championships in the same calendar year, which FSU could accomplish this year after winning the men's basketball title last March.
National Quarterfinal Victory
Ferris State got off to a quick start again last week in the national quarterfinals and cruised past Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) by a 37-14 score to win the Super Region Three Championship at Cliff Harris Stadium in Arkadelphia, Ark. The Bulldogs ran for 357 yards in the victory and built a 27-0 lead en route to the win. Harlon Hill Trophy finalist Jayru Campbell returned at quarterback and directed the victory. The Bulldogs were making their third-straight D2 quarterfinal appearance and are the only team in the country to reach the quarterfinals the past three seasons.
Saturday's game will represent the first-ever series' meeting against Minnesota State and only the second-game ever against a team from Minnesota or the Northern Sun Conference. In FSU's only other trip to Minnesota, the Bulldogs fell at Winona State 17-10 back in 1998.
NCAA Playoff Berth
This year marks Ferris State's 10th all-time NCAA Division II Playoff appearance and the school's fifth in a row after previously not making the field since 1996 prior to the 2014 season. Overall, FSU has now compiled a 14-9 all-time playoff record and has reached the semifinals for the second time in three years. In 2016, the Bulldogs made their second-ever trip to the national semifinals and matched the 1995 squad, which fell on the road at North Alabama, for the highest finish in school history. Along with making the playoffs in both 2014 and 2015, the Bulldogs also captured back-to-back GLIAC Championships. Before those two years, FSU had not won a league title since 1999. The 2014 outright title was the school's first since 1996. Overall, this year represented the 10th conference title in Bulldog football history and third in the last five years.
Only Team In Nation
With the round two playoff victory over Northwest Missouri State, the Bulldogs became the nation's only team to reach the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals each of the past three seasons. Ferris State claimed the Super Region Championship in 2016 with a decisive road win at rival Grand Valley State in the quarterfinals to reach the national semifinals for the first time in school history. Last year, the Bulldogs also made it back to the national quarterfinals, but fell to Harding on a game-ending field goal at home in Big Rapids. FSU is now 3-4 all-time in games played in the national quarterfinals, but went 1-3 in the 1990's when the playoffs featured a smaller format with less teams in the field.
Leading The Nation
While all four teams remaining in the D2 Playoff field are unbeaten, the Bulldogs are the only team that holds a 14-0 mark this year, which leads the nation. Over the last five years, including this season, the Bulldogs are now only one of four teams in all of FBS, FCS or NCAA Division II to win at least 11 games or more each season, joining North Dakota State, Alabama and Ohio State. The four teams total less than 1% of more than 420 programs at the three levels of competition.
Huge Playoff Home Win
Despite playing without Harlon Hill Trophy nominee Jayru Campbell at quarterback two weeks ago, the Bulldogs rolled up 608 yards of total offense and ran for more than 300 yards in a 27-21 home win over Division II power Northwest Missouri State on Nov. 24 at FSU's Top Taggart Field. The Bulldogs built a 20-0 lead and withstood a late run by the Bearcats to pull out a second-straight playoff victory on their home field. FSU utilized three different quarterbacks in the victory and allowed only 31 yards rushing by the Bearcats on 24 attempts.
Round One Victory
Ferris State avenged a setback to Harding in last year's Super Region Three Championship Game by beating the Bisons 21-19 at home in round one of the postseason on Nov. 17. The Bulldogs built a 21-0 lead heading into the fourth quarter and held off the Bisons down the stretch to earn the win. Last year, in the Super Region Three Championship game, Harding had a long game-ending drive and converted a field goal as time expired to beat FSU 16-14 at Top Taggart Field. With the win, FSU became the last GLIAC school standing for the third consecutive season.
Among The National Leaders
Presently, the Bulldogs still rank among the nation's top teams in several offensive categories this year, including first in first downs (351), sixth in rushing (277 ypg.), 8th in total offense (497 ypg.), 12th in team passing efficiency (160.3) and 15th in scoring (38.6 ppg.). Defensively, the Bulldogs are 15th nationally in third down defense (.294) and eighth in defensive TD's (4). Individually, Bulldog junior quarterback Jayru Campbell ranks first in the country in points responsible for (270) along with fifth in passing efficiency (167.4), eighth in rushing TD's (20), in addition to 10th in total offense (293.5 ypg.). Campbell ranks as the nation's leading rushing quarterback with 1,235 total yards.
National Quarterfinal Road Win
Ferris State pulled out one of the biggest wins in school history in the national quarterfinals two years ago in 2016 as FSU recorded its first-ever NCAA playoff road victory with a thrilling 47-32 triumph over archrival Grand Valley State in the Super Region Four Championship Game at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. With the victory, Ferris State tied a school-record by claiming its 12th win of the year to advance to the national semifinals for only the second-time ever.
The 2016 national playoff quarterfinal game against Grand Valley State represented only the second-ever postseason matchup between the two longtime West Michigan rivals, but it was also the second year in a row as FSU avenged a 38-34 victory in round two in 2015 at home. The playoff victory over the Lakers in '16 also gave the Bulldogs their first-ever postseason road win as Ferris State had been 0-3 on the road in the playoffs all-time. Presently, FSU is 2-4 on the road in playoff action as the Bulldogs added a win over Fort Hays State in 2017.
Gene Upshaw Award Nominee
Bulldog senior left tackle and NFL prospect Devon Johnson is among the nominees for the 2018 Gene Upshaw Award presented to the nation's most outstanding offensive or defensive lineman. The 2018 GLIAC Lineman of the Year, Johnson has been featured on several recent draft boards as one of the nation's top 10 small college draft prospects and as a potential draft pick this coming spring. This past May, former FSU defensive tackle Zach Sieler became the Bulldogs' first-ever NFL Draft pick when he was chosen in the seventh round by the Baltimore Ravens upon completing his junior season on the field at FSU.
One Win Away
Ferris State is currently one win away from matching the school-record of 15 consecutive victories, which was recorded in 2013 and 2014. The Bulldogs won their final four games in 2013 under head coach Tony Annese before reeling off a perfect 11-0 regular-season in 2014 prior to a playoff setback. FSU's current 14-game streak this year represents the longest streak inside of a single-season in school history. The Bulldogs had a 28-game regular-season winning streak from 2013-16 and owned a 42-game regular-season unbeaten (40-0-2) streak from 1992-96.
Road Win Streak
Ferris State has currently won its last 11 games in a row away from Top Taggart Field heading into Saturday's playoff matchup and dating back to last season. The most recent road loss for FSU was a 20-3 setback at Ashland in September of 2017. FSU closed last season by winning its last four road tilts, including a playoff win at Fort Hays State, and has won seven games away from Big Rapids this year. This season's victory total includes a decisive neutral site win over Michigan Tech in the "Battle At The Ballpark" played at the home field of Minor League Baseball's West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. The longest road winning streak in school history is 15 in a row set from 2013-15.
To date this season, a total of 10 different ball carriers have scored touchdowns on the ground for the Bulldogs, including a team-high 20 by junior quarterback Jayru Campbell. Meanwhile, a total of 17 different players have touched the ball and own at least one carry for FSU this season. Additionally, on the receiving end a total of 10 different players have also caught at least one TD pass with 17 different receivers hauling in at least one catch this campaign. The Bulldogs have utilized four different throwers in the passing game, including junior slot receiver Jevon Shaw who threw a game-opening 71-yard throw to receiver Sy Barnett two weeks ago against Northwest Missouri State.
FSU Keeps The Anchor-Bone
With this year's win over rival Grand Valley State, Ferris State held onto the Anchor Bone Trophy awarded annually to the winner of the Ferris State-GVSU football game. The trophy debuted in 2002 and GVSU won the first nine matchups before FSU maintained possession of the trophy four consecutive years from 2012-15. The Lakers reclaimed the trophy in the regular-season in 2016, but the Bulldogs have now won the last two regular-season matchups. Head Coach Tony Annese improved to 7-2 versus GVSU with the win and is now 4-1 at Lubbers Stadium.
Great Road Record
In seven seasons under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have been a dominant road team. Presently, the Bulldogs are 37-6 (.860) under his direction in games played away from Top Taggart Field over the course of his seven seasons at the helm. Ferris State's mark is even better outside of his first two seasons as the Bulldogs own a 28-3 mark since the start of the 2014 season way from Big Rapids.
Strong First Half Presence
While the Bulldog offense ranks among the nation's top units in total yardage and has grabbed the attention, the FSU defense has also allowed only 6.3 points per game in the first half of contests this year. The Bulldogs have played upwards of 60 players in five different games this year. Overall, Ferris State has outscored the opposition 314-88 in the first half of contests this season and given up less than 10 first half points in 11 of 14 games, incluidng eight games of three points or less allowed in the first two quarters.
Fred Mitchell Watch List
Bulldog junior kicker Jackson Dieterle is listed among the nation's top performers for the 2018 Fred Mitchell Award presented to the nation's most outstanding kicker and is featured on this season's watch list for the honor. The announcement was made by the Fred Mitchell Award Committee and the award is presented to the top placekicker on the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III, NAIA and NJCAA level who excels on and off the football field. This year's award recipient will be named in December.
51 Consecutive Starts Streak Ends
Ferris State senior offensive tackle Devon Johnson had made 51 consecutive starts, which is believed to be a school all-time record, before missing the Harding game due to an injury sustatined in the regular-season finale win at William Jewell. The 51-straight starts for Johnson represented the most in at least the past decade in Division II football. He returned to the starting lineup in the playoff win over Northwest Missouri State.
Harlon Hill Trophy Finalist
First-year Bulldog junior quarterback Jayru Campbell is one of the nine finalists for the 2018 Harlon Hill Trophy presented to Division's II top player in the country. Overall, a total of 37 student-athletes from across the nation were nominated for the 2018 Harlon Hill Trophy as the NCAA Division II College Football Player of the Year. The list of candidates was announced by the National Harlon Hill Award Committee. The junior standout was one of eight nominees for the prestigious award from Super Region Three and among three from the GLIAC up for the honor. Presently, he's ran for 1,235 yards in 13 games and led the country in points responsible for this year with 45 TD's.
School Record 14 Victories
Ferris State has topped a school all-time record by winning 14 games to date this season and eclipsed the previous mark of 12 wins. The Bulldogs won 12 games in both 1995 and 2016 en route to national semifinal appearances both years. Ferris State won its 450th game in program history with the round one playoff win over Harding. This season, the Bulldogs have beat five teams ranked in the top 25 at one point this year in the AFCA poll.
100th Collegiate Victory
Ferris State head coach Tony Annese posted his 100th collegiate coaching victory with the win over Davenport on Nov. 3 in Big Rapids. Annese owns a 74-14 mark to date at the Bulldog helm and also posted 30 victories on the junior college level at Grand Rapids CC following a highly-decorated prep coaching career in Michigan.
Successful Senior Day
Ferris State honored a 16-member senior class prior to the final regular-season home game against Davenport on Nov. 3 as part of Senior Day activities. Together, the class has helped lead the Bulldogs to three GLIAC Championships over the past five years and three-straight national quarterfinal appearances along with an NCAA Playoff berth each season to date. They will join last year's senior group in departing as one of the winningest classes in school history.
Best Stretch In School History
Ferris State's 59 wins in the last five years (2014-18) marks the Bulldogs' best five-year stretch in school history. In addition, the 67 wins in the past six seasons (66-10) from 2013-18 tops the 1991-96 era for the most wins over a six-year span in program history. FSU went 52-8-2 while capturing five-straight Michigan Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC) crowns from '92-96.
First In School History
Ferris State junior quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit) became the first player in the 111-year history of Bulldog Football to run, catch and throw for a score in the same game in this year's win over against Grand Valley State. Campbell made his first FSU reception on a key fourth down throwback pass for a 31-yard score with 3:11 remaining against the Lakers. The play, which included slot Jevon Shaw throwing the ball, was the NCAA.com National Play of the Week.
Five Touchdown Quarterbacks
With his performance against Findlay early this year, FSU QB Jayru Campbell became the fifth different starting quarterback under Tony Annese at Ferris State to account for five touchdowns or more in a single game. Every QB who has started a game at FSU under Annese's direction now has a five TD game. Campbell accomplished the feat again at Northern Michigan and in a victory against Wayne State for the third time this season.
Thanksgiving Weekend Action
This year represented the fifth year in a row in which the Bulldogs played on Thanksgiving weekend by reaching at least the second round in the playoffs, including a first-round bye in 2014. The five-straight seasons of playing on Turkey Day weekend is the best in the country.
Best In Country
Since the start of the 2014 season, the Bulldogs have now topped longtime power Northwest Missouri State for the fewest losses of any NCAA Division II team in the country. The Bearcats have only eight losses (59-8) in the past five seasons. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs recorded back-to-back 11-1 seasons in 2014 and 2015 before a 12-3 mark in 2016 followed by an 11-2 showing in 2017 and a current 14-0 mark this year for a cumulative 59-7 record. Ferris State also holds the GLIAC's best mark and the best overall record of all 21 collegiate programs in Michigan at 74-14 overall since the arrival of head coach Tony Annese in 2012. With wins this year in the playoffs over Harding and Northwest Missouri State, the Bulldogs have avenged their season-ending losses each of the past two seasons as FSU fell to Northwest Missouri State in the 2016 national semifinals and to Harding in last year's quarterfinals.
Under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have lost only three regular-season games over the past five years dating back to mid-October of 2013. Two of the setbacks came in 2016 when the Bulldogs eventually made their deepest postseason run ever with a trip to the NCAA-II National Semifinals. Since the middle part of the 2013 season, FSU has only lost once to Grand Valley State and twice to Ashland in regular-season action. The Bulldogs own a 56-3 (.949) regular-season mark since closing the 2013 season by winning their final four games.
National Champion DB
Senior defensive back DeShaun Thrower (Muskegon) already owns one national championship. Last year, the two-sport athlete helped the men's basketball squad to its first national championship in his initial season on the floor last year as a key contributor as the Bulldogs posted a historic 38-1 campaign. Last year, he earned GLIAC Special Teams Player of the Week honors on the gridirion and this year, he claimed GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week recognition once as FSU's starting safety. Recently, Thrower scored a game-high 35 points for the men's basketball squad in a close setback to #13 Findlay in a battle of ranked teams in Ohio on Nov. 20 midst the playoff run.
Nation's Top Rushing QB
FSU junior QB Jayru Campbell presently leads all QB's in the country in rushing (1,235 yards). The Bulldogs have had the nation's leading rushing quarterback in D2 football now six of the past seven years. In 2016, former quarterback Reggie Bell's 1,081 yards on the ground in the regular-season were the most of any QB in the country. Previously, two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winning QB Jason Vander Laan led all quarterbacks in rushing in D2 football each of his four years from 2012-15.
National Game Of The Week
The Bulldogs' homecoming tilt against league rival Ashland was televised via ESPN3 and the ESPN app across the country as part of the NCAA Division II National TV Showcase "Game of the Week". This year marked the fourth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have participated in the Division II National Showcase and the fourth-straight year in which a FSU home contest has been featured. It marked the third consecutive year in which FSU's outing against Ashland was the D2 National Game of the Week.
Among The Best In The Nation
The Bulldogs began their 110th season of varsity competition this fall with their sights set on making a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. FSU has now made three-straight NCAA Division II National Quarterfinal appearances and was one of only five teams in all of college football to win at least 11 games each of the past four years prior to this season. The Bulldogs along with Northwest Missouri State are the only programs in Division II football to make the playoffs each of the past five seasons, including this year.
Latest Home Game Ever
The Bulldogs closed the 2017 season at home against Harding (Ark.) in the NCAA National Quarterfinals at Top Taggart Field, falling 16-14 on a game-ending field goal by the Bisons. The game represented the first-ever home football playoff game in the month of December and the latest home game ever for FSU. The Bulldogs also hosted quarterfinal-round playoff action in 1994, 1995 and 1996, but those games were played in late November.
Nation's Winningest Active Coach
Ferris State head coach Tony Annese currently ranks as NCAA Division II's winningest active head coach, based on a minimum of three seasons, with a 74-14 (.841) overall record in seven years. His current mark tops Colorado State-Pueblo head coach John Wristen, who is in second with a 106-25 (.809) mark according to the NCAA.
Consensus Top Team In the Country
Ferris State is a consensus top 10 team in the country in every Division II poll this week, including as high as #1 by CompughterRatings.com along with #1 by the Massey Online Computer Ratings and #3 by Hero Sports. FSU was #2 in the most recent AFCA and D2Football.com national polls announced.
Big Win Season
This year marks only the seventh time in school history in which the Bulldogs have won at least 11 games in a campaign, but also the fifth year in a row. In 2016, FSU matched the school-record of 12 wins set in 1995 (12-1) and the Bulldogs have now topped the feat this year (13-0). Ferris State also notched 11 wins in 1994 (11-1), 2014 (11-1) and 2015 (11-1). The past five seasons, 2014-18, represent the first time in which the Bulldogs have notched at least 11 wins five years in a row.
Home Of College Football's Greatest Rushing QB
Former FSU signal caller Jason Vander Laan, who is currently with the Carolina Panthers as a tight end, finished his Bulldog Football career from 2012-15 with 5,953 career rushing yards, becoming the all-time record holder for most rushing yards by any QB at any level. He topped the previous career record of 5,128 yards held by Wofford's Shawn Graves from 1989-92. Vander Laan eventually finished as a two-time recipient of the Harlon Hill Trophy presented to Division II's top player, becoming the first GLIAC player to ever win the award twice. He also was the first player in NCAA history at any level to both rush and pass for 1,000 yards for four consecutive seasons.
The All-GLIAC List
Ninteen Bulldogs were named to the 2018 All-GLIAC team this season and the Bulldogs had three major award recipients as announced by the league office. Seventh-year FSU head coach Tony Annese garnered GLIAC Coach of the Year accolades after leading FSU to the conference championship while junior quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit/Cass Tech) was tabbed as the GLIAC Player of the Year. FSU senior offensive tackle Devon Johnson (Aurora, Ill.) received the GLIAC's Offensive Lineman of the Year honor.
The Bulldogs had seven individuals named to the All-GLIAC First Team, including both Campbell and Johnson. The others included redshirt freshman wide receiver Sy Barnett (Williamston), senior offensive guard Nic Sawyer (Ann Arbor), junior defensive end Austin Edwards (Lansing), junior defensive back Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.) and sophomore linebacker Sam Heyboer (Grand Rapids.).
FSU also had six others receive All-GLIAC Second Team recognition in sophomore back Marvin Campbell (Detroit), junior offensive guard Tyler Allison (Clinton Township), senior defensive tackle Jamil Pollard (West Deptford, N.J.), junior defensive back Adrian Green (Ellenwood, Ga.), junior linebacker Avonte Bell (Lansing) and junior returner Dion Earls (Chicago).
Six other Bulldogs earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention recognition in sophomore center Jake Boonstra (Grand Rapids) along with junior defensive tackle Sam Girodat (Jackson), senior receiver Keyondre Craig (Muskegon), sophomore defensive back Cyntell Williams (Battle Creek), junior slot Jevon Shaw (Farmington Hills) and senior back Derrick Portis (Lompoc, Calif.).
Senior offensive lineman Devon Johnson has been a consensus Preseason All-America choice this year by every outlet for the Bulldogs while fellow senior lineman Nic Sawyer has also garnered multiple recognition on various NCAA Division II Preseason All-America squads. FSU returned four starters on the offensive line this year.
Highest AFCA National Ranking
FSU's current #2 national ranking in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Rankings the past eight weeks matches the Bulldogs' second-place standing late in the 2015 regular season and early in the 2017 campaign for the school's highest ranking ever in the history of the coaches' poll that dates back to 2000. Previously, FSU was ranked as high as 1st nationally in 2015 by D2Football.com along with the Division II Power Rankings, but has never been #1 in the current coaches poll. Ferris State was ranked #1 for two weeks back in 1996 when the NCAA Football Committee produced the weekly rankings prior to the creation of the head coaches' poll.
A Winning Season
Ferris State has officially clinched its 13th winning season in the last 16 years this season. FSU has now finished with a winning season 21 times in the last 29 campaigns, including 16 times in the last 23 years. The Bulldogs won five consecutive conference championship titles from 1992-96 and were league co-champions in 1999 prior to back-to-back conference crowns in 2014 and 2015.
Deepest Postseason Run
Ferris State had its deepest NCAA Playoff run in 21 years in 2016 since reaching the NCAA Division II National Semifinals in 1995, which had represented the highest finish in school history. The Bulldogs also made the postseason in 1996 along with 2014 and 2015, but did not make it past the second round. Before the last three seasons, the only other time FSU played in the final month of the year took place on Dec. 2,1995, when FSU fell 45-7 in the national semfinals on the road at North Alabama.
Home Field Edge
This year not only represents the Bulldogs' fifth-straight NCAA Playoff appearance, but it is also the fifth year in a row in which FSU has played host to at least one playoff game at Top Taggart Field. In 2014, the Bulldogs hosted a playoff game for the first time in 18 years, falling to league rival Ohio Dominican 46-33 while making their first postseason berth since 1996. In 2015, FSU topped Texas A&M Commerce 48-30 in the first round at home before suffering a 38-34 setback to GLIAC rival Grand Valley State in the second round at Top Taggart Field. In 2016, FSU beat Midwestern State (65-34) and Colorado Mines (38-17) in the first rwo rounds before topping rival Grand Valley State on the road (47-32) prior to a national semifinal setback at NW Missouri State (35-20). Last year, FSU hosted both Ouachita Baptist and Harding in home playoff action.
NCAA Playoff Road Win
Before last week's win at Ouachita Baptist, in FSU's most recent postseason road game last year, the Bulldogs knocked off top-seeded Fort Hays State (Kan.) of the MIAA in round two of the 2017 NCAA Division II Playoffs in Hays, Kan. FSU totaled 460 yards of total offense and jumped out to a 31-7 lead in the 31-21 victory. Ferris State took a 10-0 halftime lead after allowing only six yards rushing in the first half.
GLIAC Preseason Poll
The Bulldogs were picked again to finish near the top of the league as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) unveiled its 2018 GLIAC Football Preseason Poll with the Bulldogs second overall. Ferris State picked up 56 total points and two first-place votes to rank second just behind archrival Grand Valley State. The Lakers were first with 61 points and six top votes. The two squads were followed by Ashland in third place (54 points and one vote). Three teams were tied for fourth place overall.
AFCA Good Works Team Nominee
Ferris State junior quarterback Travis Russell (Grand Rapids/West Catholic) was chosen as one of the nominees for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of the most prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. The list of 169 nominees was announced by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Russell played in all 13 games last fall and is a two-time GLIAC All-Academic Team selection. Last year, former teammate and three-time All-America center Jake Daugherty (Big Rapids) was eventually chosen as one of the members of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and invited to be honored at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Live National TV Again
This year represented the fourth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs were selected to participate at least once in the NCAA's Division II Game of the Week package. In both 2015 and 2016, the Bulldogs hosted a Division II National Game of the Week on the American Sports Network. Last year, ESPN3 carried the Bulldogs' regular-season road tilt at Ashland and home game against rival Grand Valley State as part of the national game of the week package. In addition, FSU's 2017 national quarterfinal home game versus Harding was also picked up live by ESPN3.
GLIAC Recognition For Milestone Marks
Ferris State junior quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit) was tabbed as the GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week for the sixth time this year and fifth time in six weeks after the win over Davenport in FSUs' final league game. The junior standout had another four touchdown performance in leading FSU a decisive win on Senior Day. He ran for a game-high 145 yards rushing on 20 carries and two scores while completing 10-of-17 throws for 142 yards and two more TD's. Campbell's play helped FSU bolt out to a 34-3 halftime lead. In the opening quarter, he hooked up with Sy Barnett for a 43-yard scoring strike and soon after scored on a 46-yard keeper. He added two more second period scores with a four-yard TD run and a 14-yard scoring pass to end the half.
In the game against Davenport, Campbell eclipsed the 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yard rushing marks this season and also tallied his 40th touchdown of the year. He also earned the GLIAC weekly honor after the Bulldogs' week two win over Findlay this year, the homecoming victory over Ashland, the win over Michigan Tech in the "Battle At The Ballpark" played at Fifth Third Ballpark and after the Anchor-Bone Classic victory against GVSU along with the triumph over Wayne State.
Ferris State junior linebacker Delon Stephenson (Sayreville, N.J.) had five interceptions in a three-game span this year for the Bulldogs. Overall this year, the first-year standout has two "pick six" interception returns for scores this season. He received the GLIAC Defensive Player of the Week honor following the win at GVSU when he picked off two passes in the game with both coming at key times in the contest. He added another INT in the playoff win over Northwest Missouri State.
Seven Bulldogs In The NFL
A total of seven different Bulldog Football alums took part in training camp this summer with National Football League (NFL) organizations, which were the most in school history. The Bulldogs' NFL standouts include former two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan (Carolina Panthers), wide receiver Jake Lampman (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), linebacker Brady Sheldon (Cleveland Browns), defensive tackle Justin Zimmer (Atlanta Falcons), defensive tackle Chris Okoye (Cincinnati Bengals), cornerback Tavierre Thomas (Arizona Cardinals) and defensive end Zach Sieler (Baltimore Ravens). Sieler and Zimmer both made their respective 53-man rosters while Thomas was picked up by the Browns as part of their 53-man team. Both Vander Laan and Sheldon were signed to practice squads with Okoye and Lampman placed on injured reserve. Two seasons ago, Lampman became the first FSU player in 13 years to play on football's biggest stage in regular-season action while he was with the New Orleans Saints while both Vander Laan (Indianapolis Colts) and Sheldon (Oakland Raiders) were called up to the active roster with their respective organizations at the time late last fall. In late April, Sieler became Ferris State's first-ever NFL Draft choice when he was picked in the seventh round as the 238th overall selection by the Ravens. Recently, Sheldon was picked up by the Green Bay Packers as part of their practice squad.
NFF National Hampshire Honor Society Selections
For the fourth consecutive year, Ferris State ranked as one of the top GLIAC members and in-state NCAA Division I and II schools with nine student-athletes chosen to the 2018 National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Society for their work both on the field and in the classroom. The NFF Hampshire Honor Society is comprised of college football senior players from all divisions of play who each maintained a cumulative 3.2 GPA or better throughout in their college career.
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.