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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 35th meeting between McDaniel (1-2, 1-1 CC) and Ursinus (1-2, 1-1 CC) in a series that dates back to 1976. The Bears have won the last five meetings but the Green Terror leads the all-time series, 24-10-1.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Al Desiderio caught three passes – all for touchdowns – accounting for 161 yards to lead then-No. 24 Ursinus in a 43-18 CC victory over McDaniel last season. Justin Decristofaro completed 23 of 38 passes for 367 yards with five touchdowns for the Bears. Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) threw for 215 yards for the Green Terror, completing 17 of 45 attempts with a pair of touchdown passes. Massucci went 4-for-9 for 75 yards in the first quarter, staking his team to a 13-7 lead through the game's first 10:44.
LAST TIME OUT: Muhlenberg scored 27 fourth-quarter points to overcome an early 26-7 deficit and defeat McDaniel 34-26 last week. Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) and Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) combined for 242 of the 319 yards for the Green Terror, who scored 26 points in the game's first 19 minutes, 40 seconds. Dan Deighan threw for 282 yards for the Mules, 226 of which came in the fourth quarter.
WITH HONORS: Woody Butler and Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Butler was named to the offensive ledger after recording career highs of six receptions and 130 yards, including a 61-yard first-quarter reception. Cox earned the defensive nod after recording eight tackles, including 3.5 for loss. He also had 2.5 sacks.
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.
THE BUTLER DID IT: Senior TE Woody Butler set the tone for his career day early in the contest on Saturday. On the Green Terror's second play from scrimmage, he caught a 20-yard pass to set up first-and-goal at the six-yard line. On the next offensive possession, Butler caught a 61-yard pass on third-and-7 from the McDaniel36 to set up another first-and-goal – this time from the three-yard line. For the day, he finished with a career-high six receptions for a career-best 130 yards for the Green Terror's second 100-yard receiving day in as many weeks. For Butler, it was his first 100-yard day.
ROLLINS TO 100: For the third straight game, sophomore RB Joe Rollins reached the century mark rushing. He needed just 12 carries and 19 minutes to rack up 112 yards on the ground before leaving the game with an injury. It was the first time a McDaniel player rushed for 100 yards or more in three straight games since Broderick Maybank hit the century mark in six straight games between Sept. 11 and Oct. 30, 2004. For the season, Rollins leads the CC with 582 yards rushing – nearly 300 yards more than the next closest back.
BLOCK IT UP: For the second straight game and eighth time since the start of the 2010 season, the Green Terror blocked a kick. After taking the opening possession down the field for a touchdown, the McDaniel defense forced Muhlenberg into a three-and-out and punt attempt on fourth-and-17 from its own 15. Micah Brown (Baltimore, Md./New Era Academy) came around the right side of the line with a clean shot at the punter and blocked the kick before chasing down the bouncing ball in the end zone for a touchdown and 13-0 lead with just 4:41 elapsed.
IN THE NICK OF TIME: Nick Valori (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) was asked to do much more from his first start to his second. A week after going just 7-for-9 for 135 yards and a touchdown, the freshman quarterback threw for 203 yards on 15-for-28 passing. He had an up-and-down day, however. He became the 14th different Green Terror signal caller to have a 200-yard passing game but became just the second quarterback to not toss a touchdown pass the first time he did it. Only Scott Bassett '86 failed to throw a touchdown in his first – and in Bassett's case, his only – 200-yard game (Sept. 28, 1985 against Ursinus). Three of the program's most prolific passers all had one 200-yard game in their careers without a touchdown pass. Brian Van Deusen '96 did it in a 27-for-47 day against Dickinson on Oct. 14, 1995. Ron Sermarini '00 did it in a 27-for-44 afternoon against Johns Hopkins on Nov. 16, 1996. Boo Harris '02 did it in a 23-for-44 outing against Hardin Simmins on Nov. 25, 2000 – an NCAA tournament game. Valori threw for 203 yards and completed 53.5 percent of his passes but also had three interceptions and was sacked six times.
SACK LUNCH: As a team, the Green Terror has 15 sacks on the season – 14 of which have come over the last two weeks. That total is tied for the conference lead with Muhlenberg. McDaniel racked up eight sacks in the win over Moravian before getting to the Mules' quarterback six more times on Saturday. In addition to Sam Cox's CC-leading 7.5 sacks this season, Steve Wetherhold (Catasauqua, Pa./Catasauqua) ranks third with 2.5 total sacks in his two games played.
SACK LUNCH, PART II: Sam Cox added 2.5 more sacks to his total on Saturday, giving him a conference-leading 7.5 for the season – a total which matches his previous single-season career high. After a five-sack performance against Moravian last week, the 2.5-sack performance gives him multiple sacks in consecutive games for the second time in his career. The last time came in 2009, when he had 7.5 for the season, in a two-game stretch against Juniata (2.5 sacks) and at Muhlenberg (2.0). Included in that Muhlenberg game was a strip sack and 36-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
THREE QUARTERS OF THE WAY: For the second time this season, the Green Terror built a double-digit lead entering the fourth quarter on Saturday and couldn't hold on for the win. In all three games this season, McDaniel has held leads after three quarters of play but has been outscored 42-7 in the final 15 minutes of games, including 27-0 at Muhlenberg. In the other three quarters combined, the Green Terror is outscoring its opposition 90-45, including by a 26-7 margin in the third quarter. In addition to the 19-point lead on Saturday, McDaniel led Catholic by 15 early in the final period.
THEY'RE NUMBER 1: All three of the Green Terror's offensive touchdowns on Saturday came on one-yard runs. In fact, the fourth touchdown – scored off a blocked punt – was even closer. Micah Brown recovered his own block in the end zone for the score. Nick Valori found the end zone from a yard out on a quarterback sneak with 12:39 to play in the first quarter before Joe Rollins crossed the line with 7:27 to play in the period from one yard out. With 10:20 to play in the second quarter, Brad Kline (Oaklyn, N.J./Collingswood) recorded his first collegiate score from the one-yard line to put the Green Terror on top, 26-7.
DEFENSE OPTIONAL: Saturday's matchup between Muhlenberg and McDaniel was supposed to be a matchup of the top two run defenses and two of the top four scoring defense in the CC. However, the first 20 minutes featured more points than the last two meetings. The Green Terror and Mules combined for 33 points through 20 minutes of action on Saturday compared to 29 in 2010 (Muhlenberg, 29-0) and 25 in 2009 (McDaniel, 16-9). The 60 combined points in the game were the most ever in the series – a series that has seen both teams reach even 20 points just once since 1994, a 28-25 overtime victory by McDaniel in 2001. In fact, the only other time both teams reach 20 was a 29-27 Muhlenberg win in 1993.
BALL CONTROL: Despite its propensity to score quickly, the Green Terror leads the CC in average time of possession at 33:18 per game. McDaniel has held the ball for more than 30 minutes in each of its first three contests this season. All 13 of the Green Terror's scoring drives have taken fewer than five minutes to complete and six have been quick strikes of 1:43 or shorter.
COACH TO CURE MD: The entire Green Terror coaching staff is wearing shoulder patches today in honor of the American Football Coaches' Association national initiative, Coach to Cure MD. Now in its fourth year, it seeks to raise awareness and money to fund research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, the most prolific lethal genetic disorder of childhood. Fans can donate to the cause by visiting www.coachtocuremd.org or can text the word CURE to 90999 to make a $5 donation.
TERROR TIDBITS: On Saturday, McDaniel had 214 yards of total offense through the game's first 19:40 and just 105 the rest of the way – 43 of which came on the final drive… Joe Rollins, ranks first in the conference in all-purpose yards, averaging 245.0 per game, and scoring, averaging 12.0 points per game… Sam Cox paces the CC in tackles for loss, averaging 3.67 per game, and forced fumbles, averaging 0.67 per game… McDaniel ranks third in the conference in scoring offense at 32.3 points per game. The Green Terror has not reached 30 points against Ursinus since a 50-10 win in 2004.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 19th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 109 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters today's game with record of 109-77-3, 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… Peter Gallagher is in his 11th season at Ursinus. He has posted a 49-56 mark at the helm of the Bears, including a 6-4 record in his first season (2001), marking the first time an Ursinus coach registered a winning season in his first year. In 2006, Gallagher added offensive coordinator to his duties and recorded the most successful campaign in his tenure at 8-3. Prior to his arrival in Collegeville, he served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Rochester in addition to successful stints at Dartmouth, Wagner and Georgetown.
THE WORD ON URSINUS: The Bears enter today's game off a 21-9 win over Franklin & Marshall on Saturday. Ursinus held the Diplomats without a touchdown in the second half to break open a 7-all deadlock at intermission… Sophomore Bryan Ellis rushed for 94 yards, putting him over 1,000 for his career… Chris Curran threw for 209 yards on 17 of 27 passing, including hitting Al Desiderio on a 79-yard touchdown strike… Ellis has 287 on 67 carries in the first three games this season… Curren is completing 52.6 percent (51-for-97) of his passes and has three touchdowns… Desiderio has been the favorite target of the sophomore signal caller, catching 11 balls for 249 yards. He has two of the three scores through the air… Led by Desiderio and Mike Rissmiller, the Bears lead the CC in kick-return yardage, averaging 25.2 yards per return. Desiderio has five returns for 132 yards (26.4 per return) while Rissmiller has four runbacks for 103 yards (25.8). The squad is also tops is punt return average (22.0)… Ursinus also leads the league in net punting, averaging 33.9 net yards per boot… Nick Giarratano, who enters today with five catches for 36 yards, needs just one touchdown for 20 in his career, which would be a new program record… Greg Martell leads the Bear defense with 25 tackles, including a sack and fumble recovery… As a team, Ursinus has four interceptions. Rissmiller has made two of them to go with a pair of pass breakups… Joe Henry and Sean Whelan have 5.5 tackles for loss each. Henry has 17 total tackles with 1.0 sacks while Whelan has 16 total tackles and 2.0 sacks.