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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 23rd meeting between McDaniel (0-0, 0-0 CC) and Juniata (0-0, 0-0 CC) in a series that dates back to 1923. The Eagles lead the all-time series 11-9-1 but the Green Terror won last year's meeting in Westminster, 30-3snapped a three-game losing streak in the series with a 12-10 win in Huntingdon and now lead the all-time series, 11-9-1.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Last season, then-freshman C.J. Billera (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus) caught seven passes for a career-high 92 yards as part of McDaniel's 453 yards of total offense in a 30-3 CC victory over Juniata. Behind its first conference victory of the season. the Green Terror entered 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 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 107 of the team's 196 yards. He added a touchdown on his 17 carries.
LAST TIME OUT: McDaniel wrapped up the 2009 season with a 38-14 loss to Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays racked up 425 yards of total offense and held the ball for more than 35 minutes to notch their ninth straight victory over the Green Terror and wrap up their fifth CC championship. Tom Massucci finished with 162 yards, completing just eight of his 26 pass attempts to finish a 5-5 sophomore campaign with 2,000 yards passing, becoming the third different signal caller in program history to throw for 2,000 yards in a season, joining all-time greats Brian Van Deusen and Ron Sermarini.
WITH HONORS: McDaniel returns a trio of 2009 All-CC players to the 2010 roster. Matt Cahill, a wide receiver, and Mike Ford (Drexel Hill, Pa./Haverford Twp.), a defensive lineman, earned second-team honors. Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson), a defensive lineman, was tabbed as an honorable mention.
OPENING STATEMENTS: The Green Terror begins its 116th season of football this afternoon, entering play with a 61-48-6 record on opening day. Juniata is McDaniel fifth different opening-day opponent in head coach Tim Keating's 18-year tenure. After a home-and-home series with St. Vincent following a 12-year series with Bridgewater, the Green Terror opens the campaign with the conference for before a rotation of the schedule in 2011. Keating is 8-9 in his previous 16 openers.
OPENING STATEMENTS, PART II: For the second time in four years, the CC expands its slate this year, adding Susquehanna to give the conference 10 football-playing members. To accommodate the team's one non-conference game at Catholic and in order to not open with a bye, McDaniel moved its game with Juniata to week one. For the first time since 1985, the Green Terror will open a season with a conference game and Sept. 4 marks the earliest the squad has ever squared off with a league foe. Last year, McDaniel dropped its fourth consecutive conference lidlifter, dropping a 21-16 decision at Moravian to fall to 12-15 in conference openers since the inception of the CFC. The Green Terror dropped its first eight openers after the creation of the CFC in 1983 – all to Gettysburg. Juniata marks the fourth different team to be the Green and Gold's first opponent on the conference slate. For the first 20 years, McDaniel and Gettysburg squared off with the Bullets holding a slight 11-9 advantage. Ursinus was the first opponent on the Green Terror's CC schedule for the next four years. McDaniel won the first three of those meetings. Since the last conference expansion in 2007, the Green Terror and Greyhounds squared off with Moravian winning all three meetings.
LEADING THE WAY: Matt Cahill, Chris Kolb (Keymar, Md./Francis Scott Key) and Aaron Slaughter (Baltimore, Md./Loyola) will captain the squad in 2010. The three captains are the fewest named by the Green Terror since 2007 when it was just Brad Baer and Ryan Mellinger guiding the team. Cahill and Slaughter become the first three-time captains in the history of the program. Kolb will join his senior teammates as a first-time captain.
ISN'T IT TWICE AS GRAND: With 162 yards in the finale last year, then-sophomore quarterback Tom Massucci reached 2,000 yards passing in his first full season as the starting signal caller. He became just the third player in program history to reach the milestone, ranking fifth on the all-time single season list. Brian Van Deusen tops the list with the totals from his three seasons as the starting quarterback (2,388 in 1995, 2,315 in 1993 and 2,312 in 1994) while Ron Sermarini's senior season of 2,069 (1999) is the only other total ahead of Massucci's 2009 numbers. Massucci enters today's game with 2,405 yards in his first 14 games under center, completing 221 of 442 passes with 15 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
A ROOKIE NO MORE: As the campaign opens, Tom Massucci will have a host of targets to which he can throw. While Matt Cahill is still the most experienced in the corps, CJ Billera emerged in his freshman season as one of Massucci's favorite options. His 33 receptions and 336 yards as a rookie was the most of any Green Terror first-year player.
LINE UP THE NEW GUYS: When Tom Massucci breaks the huddle and steps to the line for the first snap this afternoon, he will behind five different linemen than he was during his breakout campaign. The projected starting five has a combined 21 games of experience as starters and right tackle Patrick Floyd (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) has 19 of those starts but missed all of last season with injury. Tyler Lloyd (Broad Run, Va./Fauquier), who is projected to start at left tackle, started once last year but saw significant game action. Brian Garbutt (Galloway, N.J./Absegami) has the most experience of any of the interior lineman, starting once in his first three years.
THE NEW NO. 1: Wide receiver Matt Cahill made the decision to return for his fifth season after missing the final six games of 2007 with injury gave him the opportunity for an extra year. That return also sees the Green Terror's top receiver make a change in jerseys from No. 85 to No. 1 – the first player since linebacker Ron Ringgold wore the jersey in 2004 and 2005. Cahill enters the season with 112 career receptions for 1,499 yards. He needs 33 catches to match Teron Powell's (1998-2001) career receptions record of 145 and 1,015 to reach Powell's mark for yards in a career.
A PERFECT 100: For the first time since 2003, McDaniel is opening a season with more than 100 players on its football roster. The Green Terror broke camp the season before its latest conference championship with 108 players on the roster. The squad enters Week One seven years later with 101 on the roster. Of those 101, 73 are either freshmen or sophomores, including 44 freshmen. The team boasts 16 seniors and 12 juniors. McDaniel has 11 different states represented on the roster but 87 players originate from Maryland (37), Pennsylvania (25), New Jersey (17) or Delaware (8).
SECONDARY TO NONE: The Green Terror will need to replace one of its top defenders from a year ago with the graduation of cornerback Travis Wenrich. However, McDaniel will enjoy the return of Aaron Slaughter to his safety position after missing all of last season with injury. An honorable mention defensive back in 2008, Slaughter recorded 79 tackles and four pass breakups, including an interception, to go with three fumble recoveries in his last season as a full-time starter. Slaughter will be flanked on one side by Chris Kolb, who emerged as a top corner in 2009 with 50 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. He also broke up seven passes as a junior.
MIDDLE OF THE ROAD: The Green Terror returns its two starting outside linebackers in seniors Paul Smith (Woodlawn, Md./Western Tech) and Tommy Prazenica (Frederick, Md./Frederick) from last season. However, the defense will need to replace all-conference middle linebacker Mike Weick and his team-high 87 tackles. Sophomore Diego Weiner (Miami, Fla./Riverside Military Academy [Ga.]) is slated to make the start at that position after a 19-tackle rookie season.
SACK LUNCH: Defensive linemen Mike Ford and Sam Cox had breakout campaigns as juniors, leading a defense that got to opposing quarterbacks 32 times a year ago. The duo ranked 1-2 in the CC last year in sacks. Ford led the way with 9.0 sacks for 75 yards worth of loss and a conference-best 15.0 tackles for loss. Cox added 7.5 sacks for 53 yards among his 11.5 tackles for loss. Cox also returned a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Muhlenberg, snapping the Green Terror's 13-game conference road losing streak.
TERROR TIDBITS: McDaniel opens with one of its two longest road trips of the season. According to the official conference travel matrix, Juniata is 116 miles while Ursinus is 148 miles. The Green Terror's other three trips (Catholic, Franklin & Marshall and Johns Hopkins) are a combined 151 from the Westminster campus… McDaniel was chosen to finish seventh in the 10-team CC in the annual preseason poll of coaches and sports information directors. Johns Hopkins is the preseason favorite to repeat as champion… Former Green Terror players TJ Develin and Joe Lapkowicz join the coaching staff in 2010. Develin will work with special teams while Lapkowicz takes charge of the running backs. Offensive coordinator Aaron Bartolain will shift duties to the quarterbacks. McDaniel also added former NFL standout Jimmy Williams as an assistant in the offseason. He will work with the defensive backs.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 18th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 103 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters this season with record of 103-70-3, 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… Carmen Felus is in his second season leading the Eagles. He went 1-9 in his opening campaign. Felus came to Juniata with 14 years of coaching experience, spending time at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Indiana (Pa.), Shepherd and St. Francis (Pa.). A 1995 graduate of Western Maryland, Felus has recorded 755 receiving yards in his career on the Hill.
THE WORD ON JUNIATA: The Eagles enter the season opener off a 1-9 showing in Carmen Felus's debut campaign… Juniata opened camp with 45 newcomers to go with 38 returning letterwinners… The Eagles will need to replace Alex Snyder at quarterback when the season opens this afternoon. Snyder completed 107 of 208 passes last year. A trio of freshmen came into camp battling for the starting job with either David Smyers or Gino Ramires likely emerging under center on the first series… Derek Cramer returns as the starting tailback, rushing for 463 yards on 128 carries last year. He added three touchdowns… Juniata will also have to replace its top receiver from 2009 in Matt Dunker (36 catche for 494 yards) but does have Abe Mellinger back to lead the corps after a 36-catch, 312-yard sophomore campaign… Jason Marquis returns to lead the defensive from his defensive tackle position. A year ago, he ranked second on the Eagle squad with 60 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and 2.0 sacks… Juniata has just two wins in its first three years as a member of the CC, defeating McDaniel (12-10) in 2008 and Moravian (10-3) in 2009... The Eagles are opening a season with a conference opponent for the first time since defeating FDU-Madison 28-26 to open the 2001 season.