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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 11th meeting between McDaniel (3-1, 2-1 CC) and Susquehanna (1-4, 1-4 CC) in a series that dates back to 1961. The Green Terror won the last two meetings in 2001 and 2002 to draw the all-time series even at 5-all. The Crusaders last victory came by a 21-14 margin in 1995.
WHEN LAST WE MET: French Pope ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns to lead McDaniel to a 27-7 victory over Susquehanna on Sept. 14, 2002 in Selinsgrove. Pope had touchdown runs of nine and 95 yards in the first quarter – part of a 20-0 first half for the Green Terror. In addition to his 17 rushes, Pope also caught three passes for 22 yards and had 93 return yards.
LAST TIME OUT: McDaniel was idle last week. Two weeks ago, Ricky Martz completed 23 of 29 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns to lead Dickinson to a 41-16 CC victory over McDaniel. The Red Devils gashed the nation's fifth-ranked run defense for a season-high 210 yards, including 52 from their quarterback and a team-high 95 yards from Tim Smith. Smith added nine catches for 61 yards while Craig Helfer caught eight passes for 155 yards, including two scores. Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) completed 18 of 35 passes and a touchdown for the Green Terror. He threw for 218 yards – his second consecutive 200-yard passing game and seventh career 200-yard outing.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Sophomore Zach Martin (Clarksville, Md./River Hill) earned the CC Defensive Player of the Week honors two weeks ago after leading the Green Terror defense. Martin had a huge day in his first start at McDaniel, recording a career-high 19 tackles, including nine solo stops and a tackle for loss. It was the most tackles by a Green Terror player since Drew Abbamonte's 19-stop day against Gettysburg in 2006. He also caught a pass off a fake punt for a 30-yard gain. Martin is the fifth McDaniel player this season to be recognized.
WITH HONORS: Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.) and Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) earned spots on their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls two weeks ago. Cahill earned the offensive nod after catching four passes for 76 yards. Nichols averaged 41.3 yards on six punts, dropping one inside the 20-yard line with a touchback. He also averaged 67.8 yards on four kickoffs with three touchbacks in addition to converting a field goal and extra point.
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 is in the middle game of a three-game homestand this afternoon. The Green Terror opened the stretch of home games with a 41-16 loss to Dickinson two weeks ago before having last week off. McDaniel now plays back-to-back weeks at Scott S. Bair Stadium, taking on Susquehanna on this afternoon before welcoming Muhlenberg for a 2 p.m. contest next Saturday.
FAMILY TRADITION: Zach Martin joined the Green Terror this season after transferring from William and Mary and has many connections to the program even before stepping onto the football field on the Hill. He played in two games last season for the Tribe – the alma mater of linebackers coach Josh Rutter. Martin played his high school ball at River Hill and was coached by Green Terror standout and 2006 Sports Hall of Fame inductee Brian Van Deusen '96, who is still the most prolific passer in program history. The closest connection for Martin, however, comes from his older brothers, Chris and Tyler, who both played for McDaniel. Chris was a standout receiver and return man between 2003 and 2006. He finished his career with 43 receptions for 371 yards but had 68 punt returns for 664 yards and 45 kickoff returns for 915 yards. In his first significant action of the season at Catholic on Sept. 18, Zach racked up 10 tackles and a fumble recovery at outside linebacker. A week later, he racked up 19 tackles in his first start for the Green Terror – the most since Drew Abbamonte '07 had 19 against Gettysburg on Oct. 7, 2006.
TRIPLE THREAT: In addition to Zach Martin's 19-tackle performance, Diego Weiner (Miami, Fla./Riverside Military Academy [Ga.]) and Aaron Slaughter also reached double figures. Weiner had a career-high 11 stops while Slaughter had 10. The trio ranks 1-2-3 on the team in tackles for the season. Martin has 34 tackles while Weiner has 33 and Slaughter has 23.
CATCHING ON: With his four-catch, 78-yard outing two weeks ago against Dickinson, Matt Cahill is moving up the career charts for Green Terror receivers. His four catches broke a tie with Donte Abron (1994-97) for third place all-time. Cahill now has 130 receptions in a McDaniel uniform and needs just five catches to match Alan Pietkiewicz (1991-94) for second place. If Cahill is able to snag 16 more balls over the final five games of the season, he will pass Teron Powell (1998-2001) for the career receptions record. Cahill also has 1,740 yards, which is fifth all-time, and needs 40 to match Pietkiewicz for fourth.
200-LEVEL COURSE: Junior Tom Massucci turned in his seventh career 200-yard passing game two weeks ago, making it back-to-back 200-yard outings this season. With the 18-for-35, 218-yard performance through the air, he is moving up the career lists. Only Brian Van Deusen (23), Ron Sermarini (18) and Boo Harris (8) turned in more 200-plus yard aerial games. However, all three had at least one 300-yard passing game. To date, Massucci career-high for a single game is 257 yards last year against Juniata. Massucci is now in the top five all-time in career completions (fourth, 290) and career attempts (fifth, 573). He is also seventh with 3,124 passing yards, becoming just the eighth different Green Terror signal caller to throw for 3,000 yards with his performance two weeks ago.
LUCKY NO. 13: Two weeks ago, three different players threw a pass for the Green Terror. Those three individuals found 13 different receivers for 290 yards through the air. Starting quarterback Tom Massucci had the lion's share of that load, throwing 35 balls and completing 18 passes for 218 yards. John Applegate (Brick, N.J./Brick Town) completed 6 of 11 passes for 42 in the fourth quarter. Senior CB Chris Kolb also threw a pass, finding Zach Martin for a 30-yard gain on a fake punt in the second quarter. A high school quarterback at nearby Francis Scott Key, Kolb took the direct snap on the punt attempt and hit Martin on a quick slant to convert the first down. In addition to Martin, freshmen Dan Lopez (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) and Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) caught their first passes in a McDaniel uniform. Matt Cahill caught four passes – the most of any of the 13 players. For the season, 14 different Green Terror players now have at least one reception.
BOOTIN' IT: Jake Nichols leads the conference in punting, averaging 39.5 yards on his 25 punts this season. However, two weeks ago it wasn't his punting that was the best part of his kicking game – despite a 41.3-yard average. Nichols had four kickoffs and averaged 67.8 yards per boot with three touchbacks. With just 70 yards between the kicking tee and end zone, Nichols went at least that deep three times. The one kickoff that did not reach the end zone was right after he missed a PAT. That boot went to the Dickinson 9 (61 yards).
IN A CORNER: Chris Kolb leads the CC with five interceptions in his first four games of the year. His 1.25 picks per game is tied for third in all of Division III. As a defense, the Green Terror is tied with Johns Hopkins for the conference lead with nine interceptions.
NEW MEETS OLD: Susquehanna continues its debut season in the CC this afternoon, entering its sixth game in the new conference with a 1-4 record after going 6-1 in its final year in the Liberty League. One member of the coaching staff is no stranger to the CC, however. Defensive coordinator Brad Fordyce is now in his fourth year with the Crusaders after spending nine years on Tim Keating's staff, including the final four as defensive coordinator. Today is the first time Fordyce will be on the opposite sideline since departing Westminster before the 2007 season.
TERROR TIDBITS: McDaniel is coming off the bye with a winning record for the second straight year after three straight years with a losing record at the break… The Green Terror is 13-3 under Tim Keating with an extra week to prepare… McDaniel lost on Families Weekend for the first time since at least 1993.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 18th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 106 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters this week with record of 106-71-3, 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… Steve Briggs is in his 21st season at the helm of the Crusaders. He enters today's game with a 111-97 record a year after guiding Susquehanna to a Liberty League championship in the team's final season with the conference. In his 20 seasons in charge, he has compiled 13 non-losing seasons.
THE WORD ON SUSQUEHANNA: The Crusaders enter today's game at 1-4 off its third straight loss – a 41-20 setback to Franklin & Marshall last week… Susquehanna built a 10-0 lead in the first 3:14 of the game and still held a 17-5 lead early in the second quarter before the Diplomats scored 36 of the game's final 39 points. Rich Palazzi completed 14 of 26 passes for 138 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions without his top receiver… Mike Ritter caught 27 passes for 383 yards and five touchdowns in the first four games of the season before missing last week with injury. Ritter also returned eight punts (72 yards) and seven kickoffs (128 yards) in the first four games. He is second in the CC in receptions per game and third in the conference in receiving yards per game. His 7.5 points per game is tied for second… Greg Tellish is second in the conference in rushing yards per game, averaging 78.6 yards per game. He has racked up 393 yards and a touchdown on 75 carries… Palazzi needs 117 yards to reach 1,000 for the season, completing 80 of 138 attempts with nine touchdowns through the first five games… Linebackers Aaron Inch and Mitch Phillips lead the team with 47 and 46 tackles, respectively… Kicker Bobby Eppleman is perfect on the season, hitting all 11 PATs and all five field-goal attempts.