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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's non-conference marks the 16th meeting between McDaniel (2-0) and Catholic (2-0) in a series that dates back to 1912. The Green Terror leads the all-time series 11-4, including a 21-17 victory last season in Westminster. The Cardinals had made it back-to-back wins in the series for the first time prior to last season.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Joe Lapkowicz turned a bad snap on the game-tying field goal attempt into a four-yard touchdown run with 2:20 to play, lifting McDaniel to a 21-17 victory over Catholic last season. Travis Wenrich recorded a career-best 12 tackles to key the Green Terror defense. He also added two pass breakups and an interception, of which the interception and one breakup came after Lapkowicz's go-ahead score. Nick Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Twp.) amassed a career-best 140 yards on 12 catches.
LAST TIME OUT: Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) converted his first two collegiate field goal attempts to lead McDaniel to a 13-10 Centennial Conference (CC) victory last Saturday. The Greyhounds outgained the Green Terror by a 226-158 margin and had a chance to tie the game with 1:22 to play but Ian Heck's 45-yard field goal from the right hash came up just short. Kevin White (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Haverford Twp.) led a second consecutive solid defensive effort from McDaniel with a career-best nine tackles and three pass breakups.
HEADS OF THE CLASS: Junior Jake Nichols and sophomore Kevin White both earned CC Player of the Week honors after helping the Green Terror to a 13-10 victory last week. Nichols earned the special teams honor after taking over all of the kicking duties for the first time in his career. In the punting game, he uncorked six punts for a career-best 42.5-yard average, including a career-long 63-yarder. As the kicker, he not only averaged 62.8 yards on four kickoffs but also converted his first two collegiate field goals and an extra point. He hit a 34-yarder in the second quarter before adding the game-winner from 25 yards with 11:51 to play in the contest. White was tabbed the top defensive player after leading another solid defensive effort for McDaniel, making a career-best nine tackles and adding three pass breakups.
LEADING THE WAY: Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.), 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.
THREE'S COMPANY, TWO: For the first time in the 116 seasons of Green Terror football, the squad won back-to-back games by three or fewer points. A week after winning its first game by a 3-0 score in 68 years, McDaniel defeated Moravian 13-10 to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2005. While both games have been decided by just a field goal, it was different kickers providing the game-winning points both weeks. In Week One, freshman Bill Castor (Morrisville, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) split the uprights for the lone points of the afternoon. In Week Two, junior Jake Nichols hit his first two field-goal attempts to help provide the margin.
WINS ARE WINS ARE WINS: The first two games of the season have not been spectacular showings of football but both have gone into the win column. The offense has sputtered over the first two weeks but done just enough to notch wins, scoring just 16 points this year. The victories have been two of the six lowest-scoring victories in Tim Keating's 18 seasons. However, the most important part has been the pair of conference victories. It marks the first time the Green Terror has opened the conference slate 2-0 since 2004 – the last of McDaniel's seven CC titles.
KICKIN' IT UP A NOTCH: For the first time in his collegiate career, Jake Nichols took over all aspects of the kicking game on Saturday. In addition to his normal punting duties and kickoff duties, he added field goal kicking, converting his first two attempts and an extra point. After converting the PAT following McDaniel's touchdown on its first possession, Nichols hit a 34-yarder in the second quarter and the game-winning 25-yarder in the fourth quarter. His kickoff and punting game also benefited. He averaged career highs of 42.5 yards on his six punts and 62.8 on four kickoffs. He uncorked a 63-yard punt for the Green Terror's longest since Jay Leonard had a 64-yarder at Johns Hopkins on Nov. 15, 2008.
WHITE-OUT: Sophomore DB Kevin White led the defensive unit with a team-high nine tackles. He also broke up three passes in his second game at defensive back.
SOPHOMORE SLUMP…SORTA: He may be a junior but Tom Massucci (Seneca, N.J./Tabernacle) is in his second full season as the starting quarterback. On Saturday, he threw four interceptions – the most by any Green Terror signal caller since Wyatt Lowe threw five picks against Bridgewater on Sept. 7, 1996. The difference between the two games was Massucci's came in a win while Lowe's came in a 10-6 loss. After passing for 2,000 yards last year, Massucci threw for just 108 yards – his fewest since the final game of his freshman season when he threw for just 70 at Johns Hopkins. For the year, Massucci has completed 30 of 64 passes for 266 yards, five interceptions and no touchdowns.
RUNNING OUT OF ROOM: The Green Terror rush defense has been nothing short of stellar in the early going of 2010. The squad has held its first two opponents a scant 80 yards in two week, including limiting Moravian to 13 yards on 35 carries last week. The 40.0 yards per game allowed is not only best in the CC but also ranks 10th in Division III. McDaniel had 14 tackles for loss last week. Paul Smith (Woodlawn, Md./Western Tech) and Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson) led the way with 2.5 for loss and Tommy Prazenica (Frederick, Md./Frederick) added 2.0 tackles for loss.
PAUL GOES PICKING: Paul Smith made it back-to-back weeks with an interception. The outside linebacker made his third career interception in the opener at Juniata – his first pick since making two against Muhlenberg on Oct. 18, 2008. Last Saturday, he made it four with an interception and 32-yard return in the final minute of the second quarter. Smith made one of three McDaniel interceptions against Moravian. It was the squad's first three-pick day since nabbing three against Johns Hopkins on Nov. 10, 2007.
PERFECT 10: The Green Terror defense has allowed just 10 points through the first two games of the season. The 5.0 points per game allowed ranks first in the conference and 12th in Division III. After posting a shutout in the opener, McDaniel allowed just 10 points to Moravian. The Greyhounds scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass and converted a 19-yard field goal on a drive in which they took over at the Green Terror 25. The 10 points through two games is the fewest since 1999 when that squad held its opponents to just 57 points during the regular season.
WHO NEEDS THIRD DOWN?: The Green Terror ranks fifth in the conference in first downs with 30. However, McDaniel has not done well on third down reaching the line of gain. The offense ranks last in the conference in third-down conversions at 16.1 percent. The Green Terror has converted just five of its 31 third downs into first downs. Much of that comes as a result of being in third-and-long situations. In just two games, the offense has been faced with third-and-10 or more on 14 occasions – nearly half of its third-down attempts. On 10 of those situations, the squad has netted no gain or lost yardage. Conversely, McDaniel is 50 percent (2-for-4) on fourth down and nearly 20 percent on first and second downs combined (20-for-105).
GET YOUR ROLL ON: Freshman Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) saw his first action in the Green Terror backfield on Saturday. On the first series he was in the game, offensive coordinator Aaron Bartolain called his number twice. McDaniel went to the swing pass on back-to-back plays late in the first quarter and Tom Massucci hit the running back both times for gains of nine and seven yards. Rollins finished with one rush for minus-3 yards but caught the two passes for 16 yards, giving him 13 net all-purpose yards on the afternoon.
HE'S SO FAKE: Senior captain Chris Kolb may be a starting defensive back for the Green Terror but he played quarterback in his high school days at nearby Francis Scott Key. Kolb also serves as the up-man in punt formation for McDaniel. On Saturday, facing fourth-and-3 at the Moravian 48 on its opening drive, the Green Terror elected for the fake punt. Kolb rolled left and opted to tuck the ball and run for the first down, converting McDaniel's lone fourth down rush of the season to date and keeping the drive alive – a drive that ultimately led to the offensive's only touchdown of the day (and season). The offense has elected to throw the ball on its three other fourth-down attempts.
HIGH NOON: Today's game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. kickoff. That marks the earliest scheduled regular-season kickoff for a Green Terror football game in Tim Keating's 18-year tenure. Until last season's 2 p.m. start at Muhlenberg, McDaniel had played 72 consecutive games with a 1 p.m. kickoff but have not kicked off before 1 p.m. under Keating until this afternoon.
TERROR TIDBITS: The Green Terror ranks 12th in Division III in tackles for loss (10.0 per game)… McDaniel is also in the top 25 in pass efficiency defense (23rd) and total defense (22nd)… The Green Terror snapped a three-game home skid and three-game losing streak to Moravian last Saturday… McDaniel has won its last 13 games when holding opponents to 10 or fewer points.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 18th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 105 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters this week with record of 105-70-3, 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… Dave Dunn is in his fifth season leading Catholic. In his debut campaign, he guided the Cardinals to a 3-7 record. In 2007, Dunn guided Catholic to its first .500 season since 2000 before putting up a 9-2 record in 2008. With a 20-23 record at Catholic, he has a 21-31 career record after serving as the first coach at Becker College in 2005, going 0-8 with the first-year program prior to his arrival last season. He has 20 years of coaching experience, including time as an assistant at his alma mater University of San Diego, Indiana State, Harvard and Florida Atlantic.
THE WORD ON CATHOLIC: The Cardinals enter today's game at 2-0 overall after a 42-32 defeat over the Apprentice School last week… In a game that featured 830 yards of total offense, Catholic withstood a fourth-quarter rally that saw the Builders score the final 22 points of the game to turn a 42-10 deficit into a two-possession game with 2:18 to play… Greg Cordivari connected on 21 of his 27 pass attempts for 300 yards for the Cardinals, including finding Alonzo Cooke nine times for 211 yards and three touchdowns… Cooke ranks ninth in Division III with his 150.0 receiving yards per game… Corivari threw five touchdown passes – two of which were at least 30 yards and both to Cooke. Cooke hauled in a 31-yard score in the first quarter and a 59-yard toss for the lone third-quarter tally… Newport News had its own long strikes with three touchdown passes of no fewer than 25 yards (25, 77, 26)… Michael Pitsenberger has 61 rushes for 232 yards to lead the Catholic ground attack that has put up fewer than half as many yards as the passing game.