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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 40th meeting between McDaniel (3-2, 1-2 CC) and Muhlenberg (2-3, 1-2 CC) in a series that dates back to 1927. The Mules snapped an 11-game losing streak in the series two years ago in Allentown and made it two in a row last year in Westminster but the Green Terror still holds a 21-15-3 advantage in the all-time series.
WHEN LAST WE MET: John DeLuca rushed for 242 yards, single-handedly outgaining McDaniel as part of a 488-yard afternoon for fifth-ranked Muhlenberg in a 49-6 CC victory last season. The Mules spotted the Green Terror a first-quarter touchdown before scoring 49 points in the next two periods for their second straight 43-point over McDaniel, snapping a nine-game losing streak in Westminster and garnering their first victory since 24-14 triumph in 1988. Muhlenberg held the Green Terror to 180 yards of total offense - 130 of which came in the first half, including 68 on the squad's lone scoring drive. T.J. Develin (Boyertown, Pa./Boyertown Area) finished with his first collegiate 100-yard game, running for 118 yards.
LAST TIME OUT: McDaniel was idle last week. Two weeks ago, freshman C.J. Billera (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus) caught seven passes for a career-high 92 yards as part of the Green Terror's 453 yards of total offense in a 30-3 CC victory over Juniata. The Green Terror notched its first conference victory and will enter the bye week with a winning record for the first time in four seasons and on its largest offensive outing since a 556-yard day against Gettysburg on Oct. 9, 2004. In addition to the big day by Billera - who entered the game with 11 receiving yards in his first four collegiate games, Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.) caught four passes for 68 yards while freshman Ryan Procaccini (Hockessin, Del./Wilmington Friends School) grabbed four balls for 66 yards. All three receivers had a touchdown. In all, Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) completed 18 of 25 passes for a career-best 257 yards and the three scores. T.J. Develin did the lion's share of the work on the ground, recording his second 100-yard rushing day of the season with 107 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. As a team, McDaniel rushed for 196.
WITH HONORS: C.J. Billera and Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson) earned spots on their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls two weeks ago. Billera earned the offensive nod after catching a career-best seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown. Cox was named to the defensive ledger after keying a defensive effort that held a McDaniel opponent to three or fewer points for the first time since 2004. Cox recorded eight tackles, including 2.5 sacks and a pass breakup.
LEADING THE WAY: Matt Cahill, Austin Herr (Millersville, Pa./Penn Manor), Aaron Slaughter (Baltimore, Md./Loyola), Mike Weick (Holland, Pa./Penn Charter) and Eric Zwilsky (Knoxville, Md./Brunswick) will all captain the squad in 2009. The five captains are the most named by the Green Terror since five players led the 2003 squad. Three of the four elected to the post this season are two-time captains. Cahill, Slaughter and Zwilsky were all captains in 2008 as well. They are the 11th, 12th and 13th two-time captains during Tim Keating's tenure.
CATCHING ON: With a somewhat depleted receiving corps two weeks away, C.J. Billera stepped out of his usual return specialist role and added split end to his duties against Juniata. The freshman tailback filled in admirably at the new position, catching seven balls for 92 yards. It was the third best day by a Green Terror receiver this season, bettered only by Matt Cahill in the opener (118) and Nick Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Twp.) against Catholic (140). Entering the game two weeks ago, Billera had just 11 yards receiving for the first four games of his career.
LONG DRIVE WINNER: Entering its last game, McDaniel had three scoring drives all season that had taken longer than 4 minutes, 29 seconds - and all three of those came in the first game of the season. Entering the Juniata contest, a drive had not consumed more than 11 plays or covered more than 71 yards. Since the opener, only two scoring drives took more than seven plays and none had covered more than 59 yards. By halftime two weeks away, all that changed. The Green Terror's first scoring drive - its second possession of the game - marched 93 yards. The next possession, McDaniel one-upped itself. The offense took 7:12 off the clock, putting together a 17-play march that covered 67 yards and ended with a Nick DeLuca (Devon, Pa./Conestoga) 30-yard field goal. The next possession for the Green Terror went 98 yards in 3:34 for a new long in yards.
I LOVE THE 90s, PART DEUX: Not only had the Green Terror not travelled more than 71 yards all season to find the end zone, it had been more than three years since McDaniel put together a 90-plus yard scoring drive. On Sept. 9, 2006, the Green Terror marched 95 yards on 10 plays in the fourth quarter against Seton Hill for a nine-yard Brad Baer-to-Matt Gingrich touchdown. Two weeks ago, the offense did it twice. In the first quarter, McDaniel started at its own seven-yard line before a 19-yard Tom Massucci-to-Matt Cahill pass capped the eight-play drive. In the second quarter, the drive started at the Green Terror 2 for the longest scoring march since Oct. 16, 2004 when Baer needed just one play to hit now assistant coach Jamie Unger for a 98-yard touchdown against Dickinson - the longest play from scrimmage in program history.
RUNNING WITH THE DEVELIN: T.J. Develin has rushed for 446 yards this season, accounting for more than two-thirds of the Green Terror 667 net rushing yards this season. He enters today's game needing just 98 yards to match his 2008 total. For his career, he has rushed for 1,296 yards and is just 112 yards from breaking into the top 15 all-time on the career rushing list.
AERIAL DISPLAY: Sophomore QB Tom Massucci, in his first season as the full-time starting quarterback, needed just half of the season to accomplish with it took the entire season for the team to do last season. In 2008, four McDaniel signal callers threw for just 1,002 yards and four touchdowns during the 10-game campaign. Through just five games this year, Massucci has thrown for 1,018 yards and nine scores. That total puts him on pace to be the Green Terror's first 2,000-yard passer since Ron Sermarini threw for 2,069 in 1999. For the year, Massucci is completing 56.6 percent of his passes (90-for-159), averaging 203.6 yards per game - which ranks fifth in the CC. He had his second 200-yard game of the season last week with a career-best 257 yards.
TERROR TIDBITS: The Green Terror is 3-0 at home this season and 0-2 on the road... McDaniel has won all three games that kicked off a 1 p.m. but lost both games that kicked off later... The Green Terror has lost 13 consecutive road conference games dating back to a 13-6 win at Muhlenberg on Nov. 5, 2005... McDaniel has not won back-to-back contests since the start of the 2005 season... Travis Wenrich (Wernersville, Pa./Conrad Weiser) returned an interception 61 yards against Juniata - the longest return of his career... The Green Terror is coming off the bye with a winning record for the first time in four years... Against Juniata, the offense put up its largest outing (453 yards) since a 556-yard day against Gettysburg on Oct. 9, 2004... McDaniel has a +9 differential in sacks for the season, recording 15 and allowing just six... The Green Terror is 12-3 under Tim Keating with an extra week to prepare.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 17th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 101 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters today's game with record of 101-67-3, guiding the program to seven CC championships and a pair of NCAA playoff wins. Before coming to the Hill, Keating notched a 26-23 record in five seasons at Wesley... Mike Donnelly is in his 13th season at Muhlenberg. He has compiled a record of 83-50 to date with the Mules to rank as the winningest coach in the 107-year history of football. Since taking over a program that won a total of 18 games in the eight years prior to his arrival, Donnelly has turned Muhlenberg into a perennial championship contender and national top-10 team. He was named regional coach of the year by the American Football Coaches Association and D3football.com after leading the Mules to their first undefeated regular season and second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs two seasons ago, backing that up with a CC title and NCAA bid last year. Donnelly guided Muhlenberg to the program's first-ever NCAA berth in 2002 - part of five consecutive postseason appearances from 2000-04 that included NCAA bids in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
THE WORD ON MUHLENBERG: The Mules enter today's game off a 21-0 victory over Juniata last Saturday... Justin Myers threw for 135 yards in Muhlenberg's first CC win of the season. Seven of Myers' 13 completions went to Phil Cresta, who accumulated 86 yards and a touchdown. Joe Montemurro rushed for 75 yards on 12 carries... For the season, three Mule quarterbacks have combined for 791 passing yards. Justin Kreamer has thrown for 439 while Myers has thrown for 305 and five of the team's six touchdowns... Cresta leads the team with 437 yards receiving... In five games this season, the Mules have scored just 73 points. Their 14.6 points per game ranks seventh in the CC. The defense has allowed just 81 (16.2 ppg), which leads the conference... The Mule defense is allowing a CC-low 95.8 yards per game rushing.