Ferris State Football Meets Familiar Foe in Quarterfinals

BIG RAPIDS – Top-ranked Ferris State football will play the No. 3 seed Northwest Missouri State on Saturday for a trip to the national semifinals.

The Bulldogs and Bearcats have met three times in the playoffs since 2016. Northwest Missouri State won the first matchup on its way to winning the 2016 national championship. The Bulldogs have won both other meetings, including a dominant 25-3 win in the 2019 playoffs.

Ferris State head coach Tony Annese said he sees some differences offensively between this year’s Bearcats team and those in the past, but the Northwest Missouri State defense is — as usual– among the best in the nation.

“Defensively they are very similar, just tough as heck. They’ve just got a stout defensive line and linebackers that can really run and a secondary that doesn’t really give up a lot of big plays. But on offense yes [there are changes], they’ve got some real good schemes.”

It will be the unstoppable force against the immovable object as Ferris State’s offense, averaging 46 points per game, meets a Bearcats defense that has given up 10 or fewer points in eight games this season.

Annese said Tuesday he is unsure about the availability of quarterback Jared Bernhardt, who went down with an injury in the second quarter of the Bulldogs win over Grand Valley State on Nov. 27.

Bernhardt did not practice on Tuesday.