Muhlenberg at McDaniel
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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 41st meeting between McDaniel (4-1, 3-1 CC) and Muhlenberg (4-1, 4-0 CC) in a series that dates back to 1927. After the Mules had put together back-to-back wins to snap an 11-game losing streak in the series, the Green Terror recorded a 16-9 victory in Allentown last year to take a 22-15-3 advantage in the all-time series.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Clinging to a one-point lead late, Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson) recorded a sack, fumble recovery and touchdown to seal the win, lifting McDaniel to a 16-9 CC victory at Muhlenberg last season. The Green Terror, who won 13-6 over the Mules in Allentown on Nov. 5, 2005, notched its first road conference win since that day to snap a 13-game streak. On a day in which the two teams combined for 435 yards, it was a defensive play that sealed the win for McDaniel. Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.) accounted for the Green Terror's only offensive touchdown, catching a 32-yard pass from Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) in the second quarter.
LAST TIME OUT: Matt Emerson (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown 1:52 into the game to set the tone for McDaniel in a 35-0 CC victory over Susquehanna on last week. Matt Cahill had three of his four receptions go for touchdowns while Tom Massucci matched his career high with four touchdown passes but threw just 16 passes, completing nine for 73 yards. As a team, McDaniel threw for just 94 yards while running for 160, including a career-high 67 from freshman Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville).
HEADS OF THE CLASS: Matt Cahill and Kevin White (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Haverford Twp.) earned CC Players of the Week honors last week. Cahill earned the offensive nod after catching a career-high three touchdown passes for the Green Terror. Cahill had four catches for 40 yards but his catches of 15, 6 and 10 resulted in scores. White was the defensive honoree after being a key member of the defensive unit that pitched its second shutout of the season. He had a team-best seven tackles but added a forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception, which he returned 26 yards to set up McDaniel's first offensive score of the day.
WITH HONORS: Matt Emerson earned a spot on the CC Weekly Honor Roll last week. Emerson was named to the special teams ledger after recovering a blocked punt in the end zone after Susquehanna's first possession to stake McDaniel to an early 7-0 lead.
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.
HOME, SWEET HOME: McDaniel concludes its three-game homestand this afternoon. The Green Terror opened the stretch of home games with a 41-16 loss to Dickinson three weeks ago before having a week off. In the first of two games in back-to-back weeks at Scott S. Bair Stadium, McDaniel blanked Susquehanna 35-0 and now welcomes Muhlenberg to town. After today, the Green Terror takes to the road for two weeks before returning home for the home finale and Homecoming on the Hill against Gettysburg on Nov. 6.
HE'S SO FAKE: With an abysmal 25.9 percent conversion rate on third down, head coach Tim Keating has had to do something this year to keep the offense moving. With an 0-for-11 showing on third down last Saturday, Keating turned to one of his favorite moves this season twice – the fake punt. Chris Kolb made it 4-for-4 converting a first down this season with two successful attempts on Saturday. On the Green Terror's first offensive possession, the offense sputtered with a three-and-out but with the ball at his own 45, Keating called a timeout and opted to put the fake on. Kolb took off for a 30-yard gain. Late in the third quarter, Kolb rolled out under pressure and found Joseph Timpanaro (Stewart Manor, N.Y./Sewanhaka) after ball was tipped for a 16-yard gain and first down. The offense went on to score after the conversion – the first time this season the team scored after a fake punt conversion.
ISN'T IT SPECIAL: In addition to the two fake punts on Saturday, McDaniel also blocked a pair of Susquehanna punts. Nick Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Twp.) blocked the fourth kick of his career in the first quarter. Two punt attempts later, Sean Copko (Hackettstown, N.J./Hackettstown) gave the Green Terror its first two blocked-kick day since 2005 when the team blocked a pair of extra points in overtime and went on to win 37-36 in double OT.
BLOCK IT LIKE BENDER: Senior WR Nick Bender, who is listed at 5-foot, 7-inches, is the second shortest player on the Green Terror roster – and shortest amongst those who receive significant playing time. However, he is been one of the top defensive special teamers during his time on the Hill. For the fourth time in his career, he blocked a kick. Now tied for the career record, he has blocked four punts in his tenure and his second this season. In addition to the blocked kick that resulted in a Matt Emerson recovery in the end zone for McDaniel's first score, he blocked a punt at Juniata in the season opener. Previously, he blocked punts at Gettysburg as a freshman and against Dickinson as a sophomore.
KEEP ROLLINS, ROLLINS, ROLLINS: Freshman Joe Rollins has emerged as the Green Terror's solid No. 3 option at running back. A smaller, shiftier back than both Ray O'Hara (Yardley, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) and Vince Snarski (Baltimore, Md./Loyola Blakefield), Rollins ran for a career-best 67 yards on nine carries last Saturday. He also scored twice on the same drive but had both touchdown runs called back on holding penalties before Tom Massucci and Matt Cahill connected from 10 yards out for the duo's third scoring connection of the day.
CATCHING ON: Three times in his career prior to Saturday, Matt Cahill had accounted for two touchdowns in a game. However, on Saturday, the senior was on the receiving end of three scoring strikes from Tom Massucci. With his team already in front 14-0, Cahill had a 15-yard catch and run early in the second quarter and caught a six-yard score on the offense's second play after the second blocked punt to stake McDaniel to a 28-0 halftime lead. He added the 10-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the program's first three-touchdown day since Teron Powell caught four scores against the same Crusaders on Sept. 8, 2001. He only had four catches for 40 yards on the day and is now one reception from catching Alan Pietkiewicz for second on the all-time receptions list with 135 in his career. His 40 yards matched Pietkiewicz for fourth all-time on the receiving yards list.
SHOOTING BLANKS: For the second time this season, the Green Terror defense pitched a shutout. In the opener, McDaniel blanked Juniata 3-0 before holding Susquehanna off the scoreboard in a 35-0 win last Saturday. Before the game with the Eagles, the Green Terror had gone 54 games without a shutout, dating back to a 20-0 win over Dickinson on Oct. 16, 2004. The 2004 season was also the last time McDaniel held two opponents scoreless in the same season, defeating Catholic (34-0), Gettysburg (31-0) and Dickinson (20-0) without a point. The 35-0 game on Saturday was the most lopsided shutout win for the Green Terror since a 54-0 blanking of Franklin & Marshall on Oct. 20, 2001.
WHITE OUT: Sophomore DB Kevin White has made an immediate impact in his first season after moving to defensive back. On Saturday, he caused both Susquehanna turnovers. He not only picked off his second pass of the season but he also forced and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter. He also had seven tackles. White is one of three Green Terror defenders with two interceptions this season. Paul Smith (Woodlawn, Md./Western Tech) has also picked off a pair of passes while Chris Kolb is tied for the CC lead with five picks. As a defense, McDaniel leads the conference with 10 interceptions.
NO PASSING ZONE: After back-to-back 200-yard passing performances, Tom Massucci didn't need to have a big day in the aerial attack. The junior signal caller threw just 16 times, completing just nine of the attempts for 73 yards. Massucci did match his career high with four touchdown tosses, though. In total, the aerial attack accounted for just 94 yards on 11 of 20 passing. In the Green Terror's two shutout victories this season, the offense has recorded 252 passing yards (126.0 per game). The team has averaged 216.0 yards through the air in the other three games.
TERROR TIDBITS: Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) caught a touchdown pass in his first action of the season after missing the first four games of the year with injury… Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) leads the conference with a 39.6-yard-per-punt average.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 18th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 107 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters this week with record of 107-71-3, 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 14th season at Muhlenberg. He has compiled a record of 88-55 to date with the Mules to rank as the winningest coach in the 108-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 three seasons ago, backing that up with a CC title and NCAA bid in 2008. 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 38-3 victory over Juniata last Saturday… Terrence Dandridge ran for 104 yards on just nine carries, including a 40-yard scamper to gave the hosts a 21-3 lead at the end of the first quarter… Juniata scored the first three points of the game with a 27-yard field goal 9:34 into the game but CC Special Teams Player of the Week Chase Nadell responded with an 80-yard kickoff return to spark 38 unanswered points by Muhlenberg… The Mules threw the ball just 15 times (seven completions, 84 yards) in the win last week… Muhlenberg has won its last four games after dropping a season-opening 27-7 decision to Delaware Valley, which is currently ranked 12th in the latest d3football.com poll at 4-1 with its only loss coming to No. 3 Wesley. After scoring just seven in their first game of the year, the Mules came off their week-two bye and have scored no fewer than 21 points in each of the four wins, including 30-plus in the last three… Dandridge ranks second in the CC in rushing, averaging 83.4 yards per game. He has lost just three yards all season, rushing for a total of 417 yards on 69 carries… Patrick McDonough leads the conference with 52 tackles… The Muhlenberg defense has forced a CC-high seven fumbles and ranks second in the conference with nine interceptions. Only the McDaniel defense with 10 picks has more.