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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's non-conference marks the 17th meeting between McDaniel (0-0) and Catholic (0-0) in a series that dates back to 1912. The Green Terror leads the all-time series 12-4, including a 24-14 victory last season in Washington, D.C. The Cardinals had made it back-to-back wins in the series for the first time prior to two straight McDaniel victories.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Chris Kolb helped the Green Terror to a 3-0 record with three interceptions, three pass breakups and three tackles in a 24-14 non-conference win at Catholic last season. McDaniel had its most complete offensive day of the season to that point to help the stalwart defense, rolling up a 312 yards of offense behind Tom Massucci's (Seneca, N.J./Tabernacle) sixth career 200-yard passing game. Massucci completed 21 of 32 passes for 235 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
LAST TIME OUT: McDaniel completed a 5-5 season in 2010 with a 34-10 loss at Johns Hopkins. Hewitt Tomlin completed 23 of 37 passes for 340 yards – his eighth career 300-yard passing game – to lead the Blue Jays to a share of the Centennial Conference (CC) crown. Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) led the Green Terror on offense with 63 yards rushing. Matt Cahill finished his career with a 5-catch, 54-yard afternoon to become the third player in program history with 2,000 yards receiving. Cahill completed his career with a program-record 156 receptions and 2,004 yards.
WITH HONORS: McDaniel returns two of its five All-CC players from a year ago. Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson), a defensive lineman, was named the first team while Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) was named as the second-team punter. Chris Kolb was a first-team honoree while Aaron Slaughter and Paul Smith were tabbed honorable mention.
OPENING STATEMENTS: The Green Terror begins its 117th season of football this afternoon, entering play with a 62-48-6 record on opening day. Catholic is McDaniel sixth different opening-day opponent in head coach Tim Keating's 19-year tenure. After a home-and-home series with St. Vincent following a 12-year series with Bridgewater, the Green Terror opened the campaign with conference-foe Juniata last season. The Cardinals mark the fourth different opening-day opponent in five years for McDaniel. Keating is 9-9 in his previous 18 openers.
LEADING THE WAY: Sam Cox, Tom Massucci, Diego Weiner (Miami, Fla./Riverside Military Academy [Ga.]) and Kevin White (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Haverford Twp.) will captain the squad in 2011. The quartet is all first-time captains for the Green Terror. Weiner and White earned the nod as juniors. It marks the first time since 2008 that McDaniel will be led by a completely new group of captains.
SAM, I AM: A third-team All-America selection by d3proday.com, Sam Cox returns for a fifth year to anchor the defensive line. Cox, a two-time all-conference selection including as a first-teamer last year, ranked second in the CC in 2010 with 16.5 tackles for loss. He was also fourth in league in sacks with seven, including six solos. He led the conference with four forced fumbles and was among the conference's top five linemen with 53 total tackles.
MR. 4,000: Now-senior QB Tom Massucci is coming off a down year by comparison to his sophomore campaign – Massucci's first as the starting signal caller. After a 2,000-yard year in 2009 where he completed more than 53 percent of his attempts, Massucci's numbers dipped 1,578 yards passing and a 47.9-percent completion rate in 2010. However with just 17 yards this afternoon, he join Brian Van Deusen (7,239) and Ron Sermarini (7,197) as the only Green Terror quarterbacks to eclipse 4,000 yard passing in a career. At the same time, he will become the 28th CC signal caller to reach the milestone in the 28-year history of the conference.
HE CAN THROW BUT CAN THEY CATCH?: The Green Terror enters the season confident with the man under center. However, a quarterback is only as good as his receivers and McDaniel's corps of wide outs is as experienced as they come. On the entire roster are just 79 career receptions – the Green Terror's top two departed receivers (Matt Cahill and CJ Billera) combined for 81 alone last year. Joe Rollins had 18 catches out of the backfield as a rookie for 145 yards. Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) caught eight passes in six games last year, four of which went for touchdowns though. Tom Orrok (Point Pleasant, N.J./Point Pleasant) – the projected starter on one side of the formation – snagged five balls for 57 yards. Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) – the projected starter on the other side – made three catches for 41 yards in his debut campaign.
MULTI-TALENTED: Jake Nichols led the conference in punting last year, averaging 37.7 yards per kick and was named to second-team All-CC. He was also a large part of the reason the Green Terror led the league in kickoff coverage with a net average of 42.4 yards. Nichols averaged 62.5 yards on his 38 kickoffs with just six touchbacks. In the spring, however, he got his first-team all-conference nod when he took gold in the decathlon at the 2011 CC Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Nichols scored a personal-best 5,383 in the 10-part event.
TIME TO KEEP ROLLIN': When the offense takes to the field for the first time this afternoon, sophomore Joe Rollins is expected to make his first career start at tailback. As a rookie, he finished as the team's leading rusher with 623 yards. Of those yards, 481 came in the final three games of his debut campaign, accounting for more than 77 percent of his production in 30 percent of the season. He reeled off his first career 100-yard rushing outing at Franklin & Marshall with 124 yards on Oct. 30. That game included a 48-yard dash to the endzone on the team's first play of the second half to give Rollins his first career touchdown. A week later, he broke out for 294 yards in a triple-overtime victory against Gettysburg in front of the Homecoming crowd for the second-best single-game performance in program history. He capped the season with 63 yards at Johns Hopkins.
SEVEN DWARFS THEY ARE NOT: The Green Terror returns five of its starters from the defensive front seven. In addition to Sam Cox anchoring the line, Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) and Steve Wetherhold (Catasauqua, Pa./Catasauqua) return to the defensive line. Gerdes had 43 tackles, including 9.0 for loss while Wetherhold had 39 stops, including 6.0 in the backfield. Of Wetherhold's 6.0 tackles for loss were 5.5 sacks for a total lost yardage of 37 yards. Diego Weiner will anchor the middle of the linebacking corps once again off a team-best 74 tackles last year. Zach Martin (Clarksville, Md./River Hill), who was second on the team with 65 stops, will flank him to one side while Michael Cousar (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) is the projected strong-side starter. Tommy Prazenica (Frederick, Md./Frederick), who returns after injury cut his senior year short, has a wealth of experience and can swing as a backup at any of the three positions.
WHITE OUT: As much as the front seven returns intact, the secondary is the complete opposite. Only Kevin White started in 2010. There is some experience among the rest of the secondary but taking on starting jobs will be new to three-quarters of the group. Jerome Hill (Baltimore, Md./Northwestern) saw significant time as White's backup in the early part of the his freshman season and is slated to make a move into the starting spot vacated by now-defensive backs' coach Chris Kolb. Tim McLister (Leesburg, Va./Loudoun) moves into the starting free safety role after significant run as a backup at both safety and corner positions his first two years on the squad. Nick Chuong (Alexandria, Va./Annadale) is slated to round out the starting group at the strong safety position, winning the spot during camp.
HIGH NOON: Today's game is scheduled for a 12 p.m. kickoff, marking the second straight season that McDaniel and Catholic have started at noon. It is the earliest kickoff for a game at Scott S. Bair Stadium in Tim Keating's 19-year tenure. Three of the Green Terror's six home games are slated for a 12 p.m. kickoff, one other will begin at 2 p.m. and the other two will start at 1 p.m.
NEW FACES: McDaniel has added three new coaches to the staff in 2011 and two others have changed positions. Former Towson standout and Baltimore Raven Tony Vinson will roam the sidelines in 2011, charged with mentoring the running backs. That addition has moved Joe Lapkowicz to tight ends but he will also assist offensive coordinator Aaron Bartolain with the quarterbacks. On defense, Matt Hutchings, who spent the last three seasons at Guilford, takes over as outside linebackers coach, shifting Josh Rutter to the inside 'backers. Chris Kolb, who made eight interceptions last year for the Green Terror and earned first-team All-CC accolades, now coaches the position he played well on the Hill – defensive backs.
TERROR TIDBITS: The Green Terror returns six members of its 2010 starting defense but only one of those is in the secondary... This is the earliest McDaniel has opened the season since 2007… The Green Terror is 33-13-3 when opening the season at home, including 4-4 under Tim Keating… McDaniel had eight individuals ranked in the top 100 in the final Division III rankings last year, including Chris Kolb (T-7, interceptions) and Sam Cox (T-25, tackles for loss) in the top 25… Three of the five projected opening-day starters on the offensive line have started double-digit games. Tyler Lloyd (Broad Run, Va./Fauquier) has 11 starts at left tackles, Sean Searfass (Bethlehem, Pa./Freedom) started all 10 games last year at center and Tanner Cannavo (Houston, Del./Sussex) returns after a year off to start at left guard, where he has 10 starts.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 19th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 108 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters the season with record of 108-75-3, 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 sixth 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 22-29 record at Catholic, he has a 22-37 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 in the nation's capital. He has more than 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 the 2011 season off a 4-6 campaign in 2010. Starting with the 24-14 loss to McDaniel on Sept. 18 for its first loss of the season, Catholic dropped four straight games before alternating wins and losses over the final four weeks of the year… Michael Pitsenberger rushed for a team-best 901 yards as a freshman. The rookie accounted for more than three-quarters of the team's 1,166 yards on the ground. He was the team's leading rusher in each game and notched three 100-yard games in his first year… Alonzo Cooke led the receiving corps a year ago with 47 catches for 856 yards as a sophomore… Classmate Greg Cordivari completed 57 percent (195-for-342) of his passes last season for 2,205 yards. He threw for 20 touchdowns – 10 of which went to Cooke – against just 10 interceptions. Three of Cordivari's picks came against McDaniel – all to Chris Kolb… Catholic scored no fewer than 14 points in all 10 games last year. With the exception of a one-touchdown, three-field goal win at Shenandoah to open the season, the Cardinal offense tallied at least two touchdowns in each of the other nine games… Catholic graduated its leading tackler in Christian Pavik, who recorded 71 stops in 2010 but return the rest of its top stoppers on defense… Then-sophomore LB Conor Stueckler notched 48 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. Cole McDonough registered 46 in the secondary while DB Ryan Klein and DL Anthony Albanese had 40 apiece. McDonough and Klein had an interception each.