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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 64th meeting between McDaniel (1-3, 1-2 CC) and Gettysburg (2-2, 2-1 CC) in a series that dates back to 1891. The Bullets lead the all-time series 45-18-1. The Green Terror has won the two meetings, including 36-30 triple-overtime thriller last season. Gettysburg's last win came by a 38-6 margin in Westminster in 2008, snapping a six-year stretch where the teams alternated wins and losses with the home team winning each time since McDaniel won six straight in the series.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) made his only catch of the game count most, catching a 10-yard touchdown from Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) to cap a Homecoming thriller and lift McDaniel to a 36-30 three-overtime victory over Gettysburg last season. It was then-freshman Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) who did the lion's share of the work for the Green Terror, capping his 34-carry, 294-yard rushing day with a 15-yard carry in the third overtime to set up the Massucci-to-Butler score two plays later.
LAST TIME OUT: Ursinus found the end zone for fifth time with just 19.4 seconds left to break a 28-all deadlock and defeat McDaniel 35-28 last Saturday. Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) made made three catches for 107 yards and a touchdown to lead the Green Terror, who got another 200-yard passing day from freshman quarterback Nick Valori (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.), who finished 11-for-19 for 245 yards and two touchdown passes. Bryan Ellis led the Bears in the running game, rushing for 180 yards on 26 carries – part of 252 yards on the ground. Chris Curran added 45 rushing yards on seven carries with two touchdowns in addition to his 166 yards passing.
WITH HONORS: Nick O'Melia, Mike Cousar (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) and Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. O'Melia was named to the offensive list after making three catches for 107 yards with a touchdown. He also caught the two-point conversion that tied the game at 28-all. Cousar earned the defensive nod after recording nine tackles, including eight solo stops. Nichols was tabbed the special teams ledger after averaging 37.0 yards on seven punts and 65.4 yards on five kickoffs last week.
LEADING THE WAY: Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson), 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.
THREE QUARTERS OF THE WAY: All three of the Green Terror losses have come in the fourth quarter this season. In the first two of those setbacks, McDaniel held double-digit leads entering the fourth quarter and couldn't hold on for the win. On Saturday, the Green Terror rallied to tie the game at 28-all with 3:34 to play before Ursinus took its final possession 68 yards in 10 plays, consuming 3:07 for the game-winning score with 19.4 seconds on the clock. In four games this season, the Green Terror has been outscored, 56-15. In the other three quarters combined, McDaniel is outscoring its opposition 110-66, including by a 33-7 margin in the third quarter.
ALPHA AND OMEGA: Ursinus became the first team this season to score the first points of a game in which McDaniel was playing. The Green Terror won the coin toss for the third time in four games this season, including in both of its road games where the McDaniel captains made the call, but deferred to the second half. The Bears took the game's first possession 66 yards down the field in six plays for the first seven points of the game. From there, the contest turned into a seesaw affair with the teams alternating touchdowns. Ursinus had the final say, though, finding the end zone with 19.4 seconds on the clock to bookend a combined nine-touchdown afternoon.
O-ME, OH MY: Nick O'Melia recorded his second 100-yard receiving day of the season, catching three passes for a career-best 107 yards. Of his 264 yards receiving this season, 209 have come in two of the games – a 102-yard day against Moravian and Saturday's 107-yard day. The sophomore wideout is averaging a CC-best 24.0 yards per catch this season. He has caught two of the three 60-plus yard throws by Nick Valori this season, including the Green Terror's two longest pass plays of the season.
KEEPING PACE: Through four games this season, Joe Rollins has 679 yards rushing. The sophomore tailback is on pace to break Eric Frees' single-season program record of 1,594 rushing yards, turned in during his junior season (1990), by more than 100 yards. Rollins enters today's game needing just 321 yards to become the Green Terror's first 1,000-yard single-season rusher since Broderick Maybank ran for 1,200 in 2004.
200-LEVEL COURSE: Nick Valori threw for 200 yards for the second consecutive game. The rookie signal caller completed just 11 of his 19 attempts but connected for a season-best 245 yards and two touchdowns. Five of his 11 completions went for 30 or more yards, including a 65-yard play to Nick O'Melia. Those five passes accounted for 194 (79.2 percent) of his yardage on the day. In Valori's three starts, he has thrown for 583 yards.
A STRANGE NEW WORLD: Through the first three games of the season, McDaniel has been stout against the run but less than stellar against the pass. On Saturday, those roles were reversed. The Green Terror entered play at Ursinus allowing just 90.0 yards per game on the ground and 323.7 per game through the air, including 200-yard passers in each of the first three games. The Bears, however, torched the nation's 44th-ranked run defense for 252 yards – the most allowed by McDaniel in two years. Conversely, the secondary allowed just 166 yards passing – the fewest in nine games dating back to last season.
THE BUTLER DID IT: Woody Butler had just two catches on Saturday. However, the passes went for 30 yards apiece for a 60-yard afternoon. The 6-8 senior tight end has caught eight passes over the last two weeks for a total of 190 yards, which is nearly seven times his yard-per-game average entering the stretch. Prior to his 160-yard outing at Muhlenberg, Butler had caught a total of 31 passes for 366 yards in his first 26 collegiate games – a 14.1 yard-per-game average. Woody is part of three generations of Butlers being honored this afternoon as the McDaniel's Coin Toss Honorees.
SACKING UP: Despite not recording a sack on Saturday, the Green Terror still ranks second in the conference with 15 sacks. Sam Cox leads the way with a CC-best 7.5 sacks. His sack total also ranks fifth in all of Division III. Cox has 11.0 tackles for loss, which is tied for second in Division III. Steve Wetherhold (Catasauqua, Pa./Catasauqua) is also in the top 10 in the league, averaging 1.17 in his three games played. Mike Cousar and Bill Gerdes (Freedhold, N.J./Colts Neck) have 1.5 sacks apiece while Donny Sherman (Darlington, Md./Havre de Grace) and Morris Koffa (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Carroll) each have 1.0.
DOUBLING UP: For the first time since the start of the CFC in 1983, Gettysburg and McDaniel are playing at the same site two years in a row. In 1982, the Bullets took a 34-3 win on the Battlefield in the last meeting between the two teams as Middle Atlantic Conference foes. With the advent of the Centennial Football Conference a year later, the teams returned to Gettysburg and the Bullets took a third straight (of what would become nine straight) meeting, 27-3. This is the first time in the 65 meetings between the two long time rivals, consecutive games will be played in Westminster.
DO I HEAR 100?: Today's matchup could very well feature a lot of points. The Green Terror and Bullets are two of the top three scoring offenses in the CC. Gettysburg paces the conference at 48.8 points per game, including putting up more than 50 in each of its last two games. McDaniel ranks third in the league at 31.2 points per game. Not only are the two teams among the most prolific on the offensive side but they are also both in the bottom half of the CC in scoring defense. The Bullets rank last at 43.5 points allowed per game while the Green Terror is sixth at 30.5 points per game.
TERROR TIDBITS: All three of the Green Terror losses have come in the fourth quarter this season. In two of the three losses, the go-ahead score came in the final 1:01… Joe Rollins failed to reach 100 yards for the first time this season, finishing with 97 yards. He still leads the conference with 679 rushing yards. Rollins is third in the nation in rushing (169.75) and fifth in all-purpose yards (213.50)… The Green Terror lost the time-of-possession battle for the first time this season, running just 55 offensive plays in the 25:40 it had the ball… Donny Sherman is second in the conference, averaging 8.1 yards per punt return. He had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown negated by penalty in the fourth quarter on Saturday.
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 109-78-3, 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… Barry Streeter, the dean of CC coaches, is in his 33rd season guiding the Bullets. His 163-160-5 record not only ranks best amongst those to guide Gettysburg but is also the best record among active coaches in the conference. He has three CC titles to his credit and one appearance in the NCAA semifinals (1985).
THE WORD ON GETTYSBURG: The Bullets enter today's game off a 56-55 overtime loss to Susquehanna last week… Ted Delia scored on a one-yard touchdown run on Gettysburg's possession in the first overtime before Rich Palazzi hit Spenser Ercole with a 25-yard strike in the Crusaders' half. Susquehanna elected to end the game right there, going for the two-point conversation. Palazzi connected with Greg Tellish for the winning points… Saturday's seesaw game featured nine lead changes and matched the CC record for combined points in a game (111), which the two teams established a year earlier in the Bullets' 61-50 win. Delia piled up 244 rushing yards – the most by a Gettysburg player not named Paul Smith '00… Delia ranks second in the conference with 469 rushing yards. He is also second behind Joe Rollins in all-purpose yards with 652. Delia's three touchdowns on Saturday vaulted him into the CC lead with nine this season… Kody Smith, who threw for 183 on Saturday, is third in the league with 201.0 passing yards per game. He is tied for the CC lead with nine touchdown tosses. Smith leads the conference in total offense (1,041)… Aden Twer is averaging 107.5 yards per game receiving to pace the conference – one of just two receivers averaging more than 100 yards per game… The Gettysburg offense leads the CC in scoring (48.8 points per game), rushing (274.0 yards per game), total offense (521.5) and punt return average (23.8 yards per return) while ranking fourth in passing offense (247.5 yards per game)… Conversely the Bullet defense is last in the conference in scoring (43.5 points per game), eighth against the pass (256.0 yards per game), sixth against the run (155.8) and sixth in total defense (411.8)… Larry DelViscio leads the defense with 34 tackles while Joe Delaney is one shy of his team lead with 33. DelViscio has 6.0 tackles for loss and an interception. Delaney has an interception and team-best four pass breakups.