After an impressive 42-17 victory over arch-rival Grand Valley State on Saturday night, the Ferris State football team has begun preparing for their next GLIAC opponent, the Cardinals of Saginaw.
The Bulldog’s (3-0) have dropped a game to the Cardinals each of the past three seasons. Last year saw the Dawg’s facing a 24-0 deficit late in the second quarter. The Bulldog’s fought back throughout the game, but still took the loss at Top Taggart Field, 31-28.
In the 2013 contest, despite holding SVSU to 274 yards of total offense, the Dawg’s were hurt by four turnovers, one of which was a 42 yard fumble recovery for the Cardinal’s that pushed the game to 17-0 early in the second quarter.
The loss would eventually spell disaster for Ferris, as the mark in their loss column would eventually knock the team out of the playoffs. Saginaw Valley would go on into the postseason alongside of Grand Valley (0-3) as the two teams from the GLIAC North that saw playoff action.
Saginaw Valley State (0-3), has posted numbers the exact opposite from a season ago, dropping two games in GLIAC play already this year with losses at home against Tiffin and on the road against Michigan Tech. Ferris State knows this is a game they’ve got to win and the team is looking to stay focused all week and go out there and play their game.
“We have to take everything one game at a time. Obviously Saginaw is an opponent who has beat us the last two years. I mean that hurts a little bit, everyone knows it,” junior quarterback, Jason Vander Laan, said. “They’ve lost some guys this year between their quarterback and receiver duo. We have to go out there, stay focused, and keep doing our thing.”
Saginaw lost two giant pieces of their offensive puzzle in quarterback, Jonathan Jennings, and wide-receiver, Jeff Janis. Both players had professional grade potential, but Janis was the one who carved a name for himself, earning a coveted spot on the 53-man roster with the Green Bay Packers this season.
As for the defensive side of the ball, junior cornerback Troy Smith had similar thoughts on what the Bulldog’s have to do to pull out a victory. The defense knows that Saginaw Valley will strut out the same style offense that put up points quickly last season, despite missing two key players.
“Defensive wise we just want to stay with our fundamentals and keep playing the way we know how to play,” Smith said. “Practice hard every day, if we keep doing that, the sky is the limit.”
Smith came up big for the Bulldog’s in their victory over the Lakers of Grand Valley State University with an interception early in the third quarter. He was also seen batting away a couple passes late in the game as the Lakers became desperate and tried to push the ball down the field through the air. Smith, and the rest of the Ferris secondary will be set to match wits with Saginaw junior quarterback, Keith Moore.
Behind Moore, Saginaw has posted lack-luster numbers with an average of 154.0 yards through the air. The Cardinals are also sporting only 15.7 points per game, compared to the Bulldogs who are averaging a monstrous 48 points per game.
“Coach is doing a great job of changing our mind sets, the past three years it’s like this is just another team that we know we are better than and we just have to go out and put it on the field,” Vander Laan said.
The Bulldog’s will face the Cardinals on the road this Saturday, September 27 with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.