FSU coach Tony Annese set for another showdown with Grand Valley State

The Ferris State football team hopes to hoist the Anchor-Bone trophy once again this season. (Photo courtesy of Ferris State Athletics)

BIG RAPIDS — It’s the No. 2 ranked NCAA Division II team in the nation, Grand Valley, hosting Ferris State ranked No. 3 in the country on Saturday night, and the drama building up to the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference showdown wasn’t lost on Bulldog skipper Tony Annese on Wednesday.

Annese conducted a press conference at the Ewigleben Sports Complex to discuss Saturday’s huge showdown.

Ferris State had won the first four regular-season matchups between the two West Michigan rivals under head coach Tony Annese prior to a 35-23 regular-season setback two years ago in Allendale.

Taking the GLIAC standings leadership will be his team’s focus, Annese said.

“We never pay attention to rankings,” he said. “Rankings in NCAA Division II are kind of like in high school, they don’t mean anything. You have a chance to make a name for yourself in the playoffs.”

FSU owns a 4-3-1 mark all-time against the Lakers when both squads are nationally-ranked.

“I’m proud of both teams,” Annese said. “To have three undefeated teams in West Michigan (along with Davenport) says a lot about west Michigan football, and a lot about the culture of the universities and how they promote their programs. It’s an incredible thing. As far as this game, I haven’t coached where it hasn’t been the biggest game. It’s been inbelievable. The faces have changed and the names have changed. There’s been great coaches. It’s still a great game. People in west Michigan celebrate it.

“For us, it’s something we should celebrate the opportunity to have a game like this. It’s amazing to our younger guys. I sent guys to Grand Valley as a high school coach. It’s cool to be able to play them and be able to compete.”

The game showcases two outstanding quarterbacks with Ferris’ Jayru Campbell and Grand Valley’s Bart Williams.

“Bart’s been unbelievable and is a great quarterback” Annese said. “He’s does some great things. Jayru has done great things for us.”

Williams’ mother, Annese said, stood up for Annese’s wife during their wedding.

The game is at Grand Valley but the home field advantage usually hasn’t meant much.

“We’ve won three out of four there and three out of four at home,” Annese said. “We were forunate to win at home last year. They outplayed us but we won the game. It hasn’t been a factor for us in any game we played. It’s a great exciting venue. We’ve enjoyed being there.”

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