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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 12th meeting between McDaniel (2-6, 2-5 CC) and Susquehanna (5-3, 4-3 CC) in a series that dates back to 1961. The Green Terror won last season's inaugural CC showdown 35-0 after back-to-back victories in 2001 and 2002 to take a 6-5 lead in the all-time series. The Crusaders last victory came by a 21-14 margin in 1995.
WHEN LAST WE MET: 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 last season. Matt Cahill had three of his four receptions go for touchdowns while Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) 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 67 yards from then-freshman Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville).
LAST TIME OUT: In a second half filled with snow in the air and on the field, the two teams combined for 35 points but seven first-half points proved to be more than the difference in McDaniel's 23-19 victory over Juniata last week. Behind 170 yards from Joe Rollins, the Green Terror racked up 265 of its 300 yards of total offense in the second half to snap a five-game slide. Ward Udinksi led the Eagles with 168 yards passing and 77 yards rushing.
WITH HONORS: Joe Rollins and Erik Klugh (Millersville, Pa./Penn Manor) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Rollins was named to the offensive list after rushing for 170 yards on 32 attempts, accounting for more than half of the Green Terror's 300 yards of total offense. Klugh earned the defensive nod after recording six tackles, including 1.5 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss, in his first start.
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.) 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.
SNOWCOMING: Homecoming on the Hill 2011 continued a recent trend on memorable days at McDaniel when the alums return. Over the last seven seasons, four games have come down to the wire and three of them have gone to overtime. Last Saturday's was also a thriller but not necessary just because the Green Terror needed a defensive stand with two minutes remaining to preserve the victory. For the second time in three years, Homecoming was marked by strange weather. In 2009 against Ursinus, torrential rains hit during the game. Lightning also caused a 41-minute delay one play into the fourth quarter. In 2011, a freak October snowstorm made Homecoming memorable. Snow covered the field in the morning before subsiding during most of the first half but returned in the second half of the 23-19 victory over Juniata.
ROLLINS ALONG: Joe Rollins continued his ascent up the Green Terror rushing charts. With 170 on Saturday – his sixth 100-yard rushing game in eight tries this season – the sophomore tailback now has 1,209 yards. His total is fifth on the single-season chart, needing 51 this week to eclipse Eric Frees' sophomore season total of 1,260 from 1989. He also now has 1,832 career yards, ranking ninth on the all-time list already. He needs just 168 yards to eclipse 2,000 and become just the sixth Green Terror player to reach that plateau in a career.
O-ME, OH MY: Joe Rollins isn't the only player climbing up the charts in the record book this season. Sophomore WR Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) is making a charge at the single-season receiving mark. O'Melia enters today's game with 603 receiving yards on just 28 receptions. He currently ranks 14th on the single-season list but needs just 231 yards to break Butch Schaffer's 1994 record of 833 receiving yards. With 101 yards over the final two games, O'Melia would break into the top 10. His seven touchdown receptions is already tied for seventh.
CENTURY MARKS: The number 100 has become almost a standard with the McDaniel offense this season. As a team, Green Terror players have recorded 100 yards in some category on 13 occasions. Joe Rollins has turned in six 100-yard rushing days – the most by any individual player since Broderick Maybank had seven during the 2004 season. He has at least 100 all-purpose yards in all eight games this year. Nick O'Melia has three 100-yard receiving days while Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) and Mike Oliveto (Robesonia, Pa./Conrad Weiser) each have one. Donny Sherman (Darlington, Md./Havre de Grace) also has one additional 100-yard all-purpose game. In three of the seven games, McDaniel has had both a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver.
GROUND AND POUND: With the adverse weather conditions on Saturday, the Green Terror stuck with its bread and butter – Joe Rollins and the running game. The sophomore tailback ripped off 170 yards on 32 carries, totaling more than half of the Green Terror's 300 yards of total offense. The running game combined for 265 yards, including a career-high 71 yards on the ground from freshman signal caller Nick Valori. Valori, who was just 4-for-9 for 35 yards through the air, scrambled for a career-long 58-yard run to score a touchdown with 11:21 to play in the fourth quarter. The offense ran just 54 plays on Saturday.
MORE POINTS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN MORE YARDS: For this first time in a McDaniel football game this season, the team with more yards at the end of the game did not finish with more points on the scoreboard. Juniata outgained the Green Terror 324-300 but fell four points shy on the scoreboard. It marked the seventh time this season that McDaniel had been outgained. The only game in which the Green Terror finished with more yards on offense than its opponent was the 35-14 win over Moravian on Sept. 10. McDaniel ended the day with a 436-370 advantage in total yards – 311 of which came from Joe Rollins' program record-tying rushing performance. The Green Terror has been outgained by an average of 71.63 yards per game, including its 66-yard advantage against the Greyhounds.
ONE-TRICK PONY: The conference's top-10 list of total offense leaders, which takes into accounting rushing and passing yards, has nine quarterbacks. There is one player on the list who has not attempted a pass attempt – McDaniel sophomore RB Joe Rollins. Rollins enters this weekend ranked eighth in total offense, averaging 151.1 yards per game. His 1,209 rushing yards is enough to earn him a spot on the list despite the zero passing yards. Green Terror QB Nick Valori is sixth in total offense with 53 rushing yards and 1,311 passing yards to average 170.5 yards of total offense per game.
AIR TRAVEL GROUNDED: The McDaniel offense attempted just nine pass attempts in Saturday's 23-19 victory over Juniata. It marked the fewest pass attempts by a Green Terror signal caller since Brad Baer completed just 3 of 9 passes in a 20-0 win over Dickinson on Oct. 16, 2004. Baer threw for 112 yards in that game but two of those three completions went to current McDaniel wide receivers coach Jamie Unger, including a program record-long 98-yard completion that staked the hosts to a 7-0 lead 3:32 into the second quarter. On Saturday, Nick Valori's 4-for-9 performance went for just 35 yards – the fewest in a game since Oct. 20, 2007 when three quarterbacks combined to go 4-for-19 for just 10 yards in a 42-10 loss to Ursinus.
BREAKING IT DOWN: Linebackers Mike Cousar (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) and Diego Weiner have been stout against the run this season. The duo is tied with Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) for the team lead with 35 tackles on running plays. For Coursar, 62.5 percent of his stops have come on running plays while Weiner has made 83.3 percent of his tackles against the rush… Tim McLister has split his 57 tackles nearly exactly on run and pass plays. In fact, he has 28 tackles on running plays and a team-best 28 tackles on passing plays. His 57th stop came on a punt… On special teams, Jesse Jarvis (Clear Spring, Md./Clear Spring) has made the most tackles on kickoff coverage (8). Kicker Jake Nichols is one of four players tied for second on the kickoff coverage team with four stops.
CATCHING BIG AIR: Sophomore WR Nick O'Melia has caught five passes of 50 or more yards, accounting for nearly 20 percent of his total receptions. O'Melia has caught 28 passes for a total of 603 yards and seven touchdowns. He is averaging a CC-best 21.5 yards per reception. He is also the Green Terror's top "money receiver" with 23 of his 28 catches resulting in first downs.
TERROR TIDBITS: Joe Rollins leads the conference with 191.4 all-purpose yards per game… The Green Terror 236th of 239 ranked teams in Division III with 4.25 sacks allowed per game… Half (16 of 32) of the Green Terror's scoring drives have taken 1:51 or less… McDaniel has allowed 30 ore more points in five of its six losses this season… Five of the Green Terror's six losses this season have been by a combined 26 points.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 19th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 110 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters today's game with record of 110-81-3, 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… Steve Briggs is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Crusaders. He enters today's game with a 117-104 record a year after guiding Susquehanna to a Liberty League championship in the team's final season with the conference in 2009. In his 21 seasons in charge, he has compiled 13 non-losing seasons.
THE WORD ON SUSQUEHANNA: The Crusaders enter today's game off a 40-14 victory at Franklin & Marshall on Saturday… Reigning CC Player of the Week Greg Tellish ran for 132 yards with three touchdowns on 29 carries and also caught three passes for 87 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown. A TellisH 15-yard run and the long reception staked the visitors to a 13-0 halftime lead en route to a 26-0 advantage with 5:11 to play in the third quarter… Tellish ranks fourth in the CC in rushing yards per game, averaging 91.6 yards. He has 733 yards on 180 carries and 10 touchdowns… Rich Palazzi ranks second in the conference at 224.1 passing yards per game. He has thrown for 1,793 yards, completing 136 of 229 passes… Palazzi has four receivers with no fewer than 300 yards this season. Matt Knouse has caught 35 balls for 380 yards and two scores. Mike Ritter has 29 receptions for 379 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Spencer Ercole has snagged 21 passes for 327 yards and two TDs while Alex Patchin rounds out the quartet with 22 catches for 309 yards. Patchin has a team-high four touchdown receptions. Ritter has done his damage in just four games this year… Trevor Terpening leads the defense with 74 tackles, including 45 solo stops. He also has 3.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss… Bill Mancini is tied for sixth on the defense with 34 tackles but has team bests of 5.0 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss… Will Dyson has three interceptions and six pass breakups. Dyson is fifth in the league with 1.13 passes defender per game… More than 70 percent of the Crusader offense has come through the air this season. Susquehanna is averaging 245.1 passing yards per game and just 104.5 rushing yards per contest… Saturday marked the third times this season that the Crusaders had reached 30 points. Susquehanna has scored 20 points in all five wins and failed to reach the 20-point mark in all three of its losses.