PREVIEW: Ferris State Football Seeks Second Straight National Title
The Bulldogs could be the first NCAA Division II school to win back-to-back titles since 2016.
Ferris State Seeks Second Straight Title Saturday In McKinney, Texas
The Ferris State Bulldogs will try to make it two straight with a win in the NCAA Division II title game against the Colorado School Of Mines. Ferris advanced to the championship game following a 38-17 win over West Florida at Top Taggert Field in Big Rapids last Saturday.
The Orediggers from Colorado won their semi-final in an impressive fashion as well, whipping Shepherd University, 44-17. The Orediggers have won thirteen straight games after losing their first two games of the season, including one to a school known very well here in West Michigan.
School of Mines lost their first game of the season to Grand Valley State, 25-22, in Allendale. Ferris, meanwhile, split two games with the Lakers, losing at home 22-21, and then winning the rematch in Allendale in the playoffs, 24-21.
If those scores are any indication, it should be a tough, close game Saturday. The game will be broadcast on the cable channel ESPNU, and on the ESPN3 app.
Ferris Is Back Despite Losing A Lot Of Last Year's Leaders
Ferris Coach Tony Annese admitted any advantage the Bulldogs may have gained from having been in the title game last season, which they won 58-17 over Valdosta State, is gone because the team lost most of the players from that team.
"All three of the running backs are gone (from last year's team), six offensive lineman, the starting quarterback, four of the top receivers, so I'm just feeling great that our guys have been able to do it," Annese told the press Wednesday.
The Bulldogs are led by first year starter QB Carson Gulker. Gulker leads the country in rushing touchdowns with 28. Defensively, FSU's Caleb Murphy is first nationally in sacks (25.5 sacks) along with first in tackles for loss (37.5 TFL).
The Bulldogs are also among the nation's top 20 teams in both scoring defense (14.6 ppg.) and scoring offense (35.4 ppg.) this year.
The Orediggers Are Also Fully Loaded With Talent
School of Mines are led by junior quarterback John Matocha, who is a favorite to win the Harlon Hill Award as Division II player of the year, and senior running back Michael Zemen, who was a Harlon Hill finalist a year ago and has 1,301 yards rushing and 21 rushing touchdowns in 15 games this season.
Mathocha is a dual-threat quarterback who has thrown for 4,570 yards and 50 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. He also has 633 yards rushing and 5 touchdowns.
Mines is averaging 46.7 points per game while allowing 18.3 points per game.