Ferris State relishing chance to play 'bonus football'

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Trevor Bermingham joins Reggie Bell as one of Ferris State's two dual-threat quarterbacks.

The strength of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference got a tip of the cap from the Division II playoff selection committee.

Grand Valley State (11-0) earned the No. 1 seed in its region, and a bye.

Ferris State (9-2) earned the No. 2 seed and a home game this weekend in Big Rapids.

"Nothing better than playoff football," Ferris State coach Tony Annese said on his weekly show, speaking to host Rob Bentley. "Typically in Division II, you're done after the second week of November. And we get a chance to play some bonus football.

"So we're excited about it."

Ferris State is in the playoffs for the third consecutive year. It lost its first playoff game two years ago, and lost its second last year, to rival Grand Valley State.

It opens the 2016 playoffs at noon Saturday against Midwestern State (8-2), a school from Wichita Falls, Texas.

The game is at Top Taggart Field, where the Bulldogs will continue to wear their red pants and red jerseys, the outfit they've worn at home since they got on a roll this season — winning five straight to close the season. That included an absolute demolition, 51-17, of a quality Saginaw Valley State team last week.

The winner of Saturday's playoff game meets either Southwest Baptist or Colorado Mines next weekend.

Ferris State and Grand Valley State can't meet until the quarterfinals this year.

Ferris State features a potent offense that averages nearly 500 yards a game, led by junior quarterback Reggie Bell, a dual threat who's thrown for more than 2,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 — and racked up 26 touchdowns in all. Junior running back Jahaan Brown has rushed for more than 800 yards, and seven touchdowns.

Sophomore defensive end Zach Sieler has 14 sacks and one forced fumble.

Annese took over the program late in 2011, and this team features many members of his first recruiting class.

"It's pretty cool to get that class and get them to have the success on the field that they've had," Annese said. "We've grown into the team I was hoping we would be at the beginning of the year. I'm excited about it."