Ferris State gears up for Harding’s triple-option tricks

Ferris’ Zach Sieler rushes quarterback Austin Warford of Ouachita Baptist. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS — The Ferris State football team is feeling good.

Following a 31-21 victory over No. 1 seed Fort Hays State (Kan.), the Bulldogs are set to host Harding on Saturday in the Division 2 national quarterfinal game. The contest is Ferris’ first-ever December home game.

“It’s pretty cool,” head coach Tony Annese said. “That’s your goal, to continue to play in December and play in the Elite 8 for the second year in a row. It’s not easy to do; we beat two conference champions to be here. Harding beat two champions, too. It’s hard to beat championship teams in the playoffs. At this stage, that’s what you get.

“It’s gonna be another grind on Saturday.”

“It means a great deal,” senior running back Jahaan Brown said. “This team is built to play anywhere, but playing at home makes it that much more significant for us.”

The Bulldogs will face a stiff test in the Bisons, who enter Saturday’s matchup having won 10 straight games. The Bisons run a triple-option offense that is averaging 351 rushing yards per game and 34.6 points.

Harding features four players with over 700 rushing yards, led by fullback Cole Chancey’s 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Terrence Dingle has completed 30-of-70 passes for 671 yards, four touchdowns, and six interceptions while running for 752 (4.1 average) yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground.

“It’s a challenge,” head coach Tony Annese said. “They’re fullback’s a great player and their quarterback has done a great job of executing that system. Their skill players are awesome. It’s a really unique style of play. No one in college football really plays that way except for maybe six to ten teams in the country.

“It certainly is a tough thing to defend.”

“We’re excited,” defensive end Zach Sieler said. “It puts a lot of pressure on the defensive line. A lot of banging; we’re looking forward to it.”

The Ferris offense looks to help out its defense by scoring early and often.

“There’s no added pressure,” Brown said. “We just have to go out there and do our job the way we’re capable of doing. We’ve got to strike quick and early. When you get up early on an offense like this it’s tough for them to come back.”

Leave a Reply