Ferris State Hosts Ohio Dominican in 2016 Opener

BIG RAPIDS – With 50 letterwinners returning, Ferris State puts its 25-game regular-season unbeaten streak on the line Thursday when it welcomes in Ohio Dominican.

Though only in its second decade as program, Ohio Dominican has become a familiar opponent of Ferris State’s in recent years, as the two have met five times since 2010, with the Bulldogs owning a 4-1 all-time record. Ohio Dominican’s lone win came in a 2014 NCAA Division II playoff contest.

The two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champion Bulldogs will debut a new quarterback Thursday, as Ferris State replaces four-year starter and two-time Harlon Hill Trophy winner Jason Vander Laan.

"We’ve worked on them quite a bit,” coach Tony Annese said. “They’ve got a new head coach, but he was their defensive coordinator, so we’ve got a good sense of who they are, and you know, the worst record they’ve had in the last three years is 8-3. They’re a powerful force, and obviously two years ago they beat us in the playoffs. They’re a team that really has done very, very well, so it’s going to be tough."

Former defensive coordinator Kelly Cummings inherits an Ohio Dominican program that is coming off its fifth consecutive winning season. The Panthers went 8-3 a year ago and were picked to finish second in the GLIAC South in the preseason coaches’ poll.

Kickoff Thursday is set for 7:30 p.m.