Chagers host unbeaten Bulldogs
Hillsdale Daily News
Rich McGowan, Sports Editor
Though Hillsdale College has lost its last two games on long touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter, Charger coach Keith Otterbein said there wasn’t as bitter a taste left in his team’s mouth after last week’s loss to Ashland as there was after the Chargers’ home–opening loss to Northern Michigan two weeks ago.
He said if the Chargers continue to play with the passion and effort they showed in Ashland, they’ll find themselves on the winning end of the scoreboard more often.
“They realize they’re a good football team, that’s a point I keep emphasizing to them,” Otterbein said. “We’re a good football team and if we keep playing the same way…we’ll be just fine.”
The Chargers play their only night game of the season on Saturday as the host Ferris State at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs enter the game with a 3–0 record coming off an upset of No. 5–ranked Saginaw Valley State. Ferris took a 26–8 lead into halftime before hanging on in the fourth quarter as the Bulldog defense forced a Cardinal fumble at the 1–yard line in the game’s final minute to preserve a 26–23 win.
“It was a nail–biter it was a lot like our last two games,” Otterbein said. “It came down to the last possession and Ferris made a goal–line stand and they’re 3–0 now, they’re playing with a lot of fire and a lot of heart.”
Along with a wave of momentum, Ferris will bring an offensive line averaging 6 feet 5 inches and 306 pounds per man and a defense holding opponents to just 63 rushing yards a game.
“They defensive line is exceptional,” Otterbein said. “They’re big, they’re strong and move around. Their offensive line is giant. They’re making plays, they’re doing a good job and certainly we have to play well to win on Saturday.”
Saturday’s will be the first for the Chargers since the passing away of former football coach Frank “Muddy” Waters. Waters, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, led the team from 1954–73 and established Hillsdale as one of the best small college team in the country.
The Chargers will wear stickers bearing Waters’ name on their helmets this weekend.
While Waters’ passing has left the Charger program saddened, Otterbein said when kickoff arrives on Saturday his players will be ready for Ferris.
“I addressed after practice (Wednesday) Muddy’s passing and talked to our team about the influence he had on our program and his impact on the Charger football family,” Otterbein said. “It certainly is a sad time for us, but I don’t think you ever go out and win one for the Gipper. We’re trying to just go and win a game regardless.”