Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 Tony Nicolette's GLIAC Column

Ferris State at #22 Hillsdale

These two traditional rivals were not on each others league slates this fall, so they will be getting together in a "non-conference" capacity.

2009 could not have been more divergent for these clubs. Hillsdale had a banner year registering a 10-win campaign. The Chargers made their first ever NCAA Playoff trip and even notched a road playoff win at Minnesota State. For Ferris, a string of three consecutive winning seasons came to a screeching halt as the Bulldogs struggled through a ten-game losing streak and one of the worst seasons in school history.

Most who follow the GLIAC feel that the rough season Ferris had was more of a fluke than anything else. Junior quarterback Tom Schneider is out to prove that's the case, and he'll be at the controls of the offense being installed by new Bulldog offensive coordinator Chris Boden. There really isn't anywhere to go but up after FSU only mustered 11.1 points per game last year.

The Ferris defense also has some new help on the coaching staff, as well as six new starters. They look to improve on allowing 33 points per game last season, and will have their work cut out for them right out of the chute against a Hillsdale bunch that posted 37 points per contest in league play a year ago. The Chargers have All-GLIAC quarterback Troy Weatherhead back for his senior season, as they do wide-out Andre Holmes. These two will be the linchpins for Keith Otterbein's bunch, which is focused on taking the next step and establishing themselves as perennial conference and playoff contenders.

Prediction: While it's hard to see Ferris playing as poorly as they did last year, Hillsdale has such a strong team coming back that it's hard not to consider the Chargers a heavy favorite. Teams don't typically have "trap" games this early in the season, so I doubt HC will get caught looking ahead to their trip to Allendale next weekend. Hillsdale has won four straight openers, and Weatherhead's big game helps them run the streak to five. Hillsdale 37, Ferris 14.

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