The Ferris State Bulldogs are entering GLIAC play standing at 2-1 on the season as they are set to face Northern Michigan in their homecoming game on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The Bulldogs are coming off a defeat at the hands of the University of Montana Grizzlies in a close matchup. Even after the loss, the Bulldogs remain the number one Division II team in the nation as they took the FCS Montana Grizzlies to their limits.
The team has had the bye week to rest and recover before conference play begins. The Bulldogs will be looking to get back in the win column as they continue their campaign of the three-peat.
Senior offensive lineman Brendan Bengtsson feels the bye week was good for the team.
“After a big game like that it’s nice to get everybody healthy,” Bengstsson said. “This is really good preparation for us and it helps us every day.”
Well rested, the Bulldogs will now first have to make their way through the GLIAC. That will start with the Northern Michigan Wildcats. For Northern Michigan, their mission is seemingly to upset the #1 ranked D2 team in the country for their first win of the season. A win for Northern would also break their 13 year drought of losing to Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have already shown growth throughout the season. A big part of the team moving forward will be its defense. The defense is averaging 19 points against per game, has recorded five sacks and has had an interception in each game this year.
Leading the Bulldogs in interceptions this year this season is defensive back Shon Stephens. The Bakersfield, Calif. native knows that the defense must prove themselves and gives credit to the coaches for helping them get there.
“The coaches are getting on us everyday in practice and saying we could get better,” Stephens said. “We just showed them how to prove ourselves because the week before we did not show up like we were supposed to, so we definitely had to show up against Montana.”
The Bulldogs will need their defense to continue to improve and prove themselves now that conference play is to begin. The offense has also been impressive so far this season as they have averaged 34 points per game, with 445 yards of total offense a game, the offensive yards are evenly split with 220 yards rushing and 224 yards passing. The offense will look to remain strong and continue to grow throughout conference play.
Head coach Tony Annese is proud of how hard the team has competed at this point in the season and now wants to keep that competitive spirit going.
“The thing that you really look for is how hard are you going to compete,” Annese said. “We were very competitive and so I’m proud of that and I hope we just can bottle that and continue to play that way.”
For the Bulldogs to keep up with the rest of the GLIAC, every game from is a must-win for the team. Their fight against the Wildcats begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Top Taggart Field.