Ferris State Relishes Role of Underdog

BIG RAPIDS – In its two previous postseason campaigns, the Ferris State football program has fallen victim to the “underdog.”

Now faced with dethroning defending NCAA Division II national champion and top-ranked Northwest Missouri State (13-0) in a semifinal, the Bulldogs are relishing the opportunity to play the role of the “underdog.”

"A lot of people kind of thought that the demise of Ferris State was going to be when Jason Vander Laan left,” Ferris State coach Tony Annese said. “For our guys to step it up, and put themselves in this spot now, being in the national semifinals, with one of four teams still to play in division two. You know, that’s just a real achievement for our guys."

The 15th-ranked Bulldogs (12-2) have reached their first national semifinal since 1995 with wins over No. 22 Midwestern (Texas) State (65-34), No. 21 Colorado School of Mines (38-17) and No. 2 Grand Valley State (47-32).

"During the season right now, you’re running on adrenaline, because you’re so excited to be out here still in December with two games left in the season, if you’re fortunate enough to make it,” Ferris State senior linebacker Anthony Darkangelo said. “I don’t think it’s anything added, it just makes it that much sweeter to be able to move on."

Kickoff for Saturday’s semifinal is set for 3:30 p.m.