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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 35th meeting between McDaniel (4-2, 3-2 CC) and No. 24 Ursinus (6-0, 5-0 CC) in a series that dates back to 1976. The Bears have won the last four meetings but the Green Terror leads the all-time series, 24-8-1.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Teddy Conrad and Travis Evans each ran for 133 yards as part of a 276-yard rushing attack in Ursinus' 48-13 CC win over McDaniel last season. The Bears finished with 482 yards of total offense and limited the Green Terror to 25 yards rushing and 263 yards of total offense in front of a rain-soaked Homecoming crowd. Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.) led the McDaniel offense, catching a career-high nine balls for a career-best 140 yards and both Green Terror scores.
LAST TIME OUT: Terrence Dandridge notched his fourth straight 100-yard rushing day with 140 yards to lead Muhlenberg to a 29-0 CC victory over McDaniel last week. Michael Katz converted three field goals of 40-plus yards for the Mules, who won their fifth straight game to remain perfect in the conference. The Green Terror was able to only muster a season-low 143 yards of total offense, including abysmal 22 yards on 20 rushes, in its first shutout loss in two seasons. Tom Massucci (Seneca, N.J./Tabernacle) completed 19 of 39 passes for 121 yards.
WITH HONORS: Zach Martin (Clarksville, Md./River Hill) and Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) earned spots on their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Martin earned the defensive nod after leading the way with nine tackles, including his first career sack. He also had a pass breakup. Nichols was named to the special teams ledger after punting for a career-high 10 times for an average of 38.9 yards per kick.
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.
DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES: In its two losses this season, the Green Terror defense has been torched for nearly triple the number of points it has allowed in the four wins combined. Three weeks after dripping a 41-16 decision to Dickinson, McDaniel dropped a 29-0 decision to Muhlenberg and has now dropped its last seven games when allowing 21 or more points. In fact over the last five seasons, the Green Terror has won just once when an opponent has reached the 21-point mark. The only occasion in the 27 times it has happened since the beginning of the 2006 season was a 52-37 victory over St. Vincent in last year's opener.
RUNNING OUT OF ROOM: Last Saturday, the Green Terror was limited to a season-low 22 yards rushing. It marked the fewest yards on the ground for McDaniel since Johns Hopkins held the team to minus-35 in the 2006 finale. Scott S. Bair Stadium has not been a friendly place for the Green Terror ground game this season. The squad is averaging just 66.0 yards per game on the ground and that includes a season-best 160-yard performance two weeks ago against Susquehanna. In the other three home games this year, the team has a total of 104 yards. The road has been a little kinder to the running game with 85 and 82 yards at Juniata and at Catholic, respectively. The team is averaging a mere 2.1 yards per rush attempt overall and is last in the conference in rushing (71.8 yards per game).
THIRD AND NONE: Since the bye week, McDaniel has had great difficulties converting on third down. A week after going 0-for-11, the Green Terror did not covert a first down until its second possession of the third quarter, stretching its ineffectiveness on third down to 19 straight third downs without a first-down conversion. McDaniel finished the game on Saturday 2-for-17 on third down. In the last two games, the offense is converting at a 7.1 percent clip to lower its season rate to 23.5 percent (23-for-98).
A BUSY MAN: For the first time in his career, Jake Nichols punted the ball 10 times last Saturday. He averaged 38.9 yards on the 10 kicks. It marked the first time in two seasons that a Green Terror punter had as many kicks. Travis Wenrich also punted 10 times but averaged just 34.3 on his attempts the last time McDaniel hosted Muhlenberg, which was ranked fifth in the Division III at the time (Oct. 18, 2008).
PICK SIX: Senior CB Chris Kolb made his conference-leading sixth interception on Saturday to match the total from his first two seasons on the Hill. In addition to leading the conference at 1.00 interceptions per game, he ranks tied for fourth in Division III.
MASSIVE IMPROVEMENT: Since starting the season with five interceptions – including four in Week Two against Moravian – and no touchdown passes in the first two games, Tom Massucci has thrown eight scoring tosses and no picks over the last four games. The junior signal caller has now gone 122 attempts without throwing an interception for the longest such stretch of his career by a lot. His previous longest stretch without a throwing a pick was 53 attempts last year. The stretch is the third longest in program history behind Brad Baer (162) and Brian Van Deusen (138). Massucci is 67-for-122 over his last four games. As a team, the Green Terror has gone 143 passes without an interception, completing 78 of those attempts.
SHOOTING BLANKS: For the first time in 18 games, the Green Terror failed to score. Prior to Saturday's 29-0 home loss, the last time McDaniel was shut out by an opponent was Nov. 1, 2008 at Franklin & Marshall. The 29-0 loss was the most lopsided shutout loss since falling 43-0 at Muhlenberg in 2007 and first time the Green Terror was blanked at home since the 2006 opener when it fell to Bridgewater, 41-0.
CATCHING ON: With a one-yard reception in the second quarter on Saturday, senior WR Matt Cahill has now caught a pass in 20 straight games, dating back to a Sept. 13, 2008 against Moravian – one of just three games in which he has played without a reception. Cahill has played in 40 games during his time at McDaniel and is currently tied for second on the career reception list with 135. He needs 10 catches over the final four games of the season to join Teron Powell (1998-2001) atop the list.
CAN'T DRIVE 180: The Green Terror offense had the ball for 14 drives last Saturday against Muhlenberg. On none of those occasions was McDaniel able to hold on to the ball for even 180 seconds. All 14 of the offensive possessions ended in 2 minutes, 57 seconds or fewer from the time the Green Terror took over. The team had nine three-and-out possessions – only two of which took more than a minute and a half off the clock.
ISN'T IT SPECIAL: One of the aspects of McDaniel's game this season that has been a positive constant has been its punt coverage unit. The Green Terror leads the CC in net punting at 33.6 yards per kick. It all starts with junior P Jake Nichols, who leads the league with a 39.4-yard-per-punt average. The coverage unit has allowed only three returns of more than 10 yards. Nichols has forced an opposing return man to fair catch 12 of his 43 boots. In addition, five more punts have been downed, eight have gone into the end zone for touchbacks and two have rolled out of bounds, leaving only 16 returnable punts.
SCORING 100: For the first time in nine games, the Green Terror defense allowed an opposing running back to rush for at least 100 yards. Muhlenberg's Terrence Dandridge rolled up his fourth straight 100-yard rushing performance with a career-best 140 yards. The last opponent to have a player rush for at least 100 yards was Ursinus, which had both Travis Evans and Teddy Conrad run for 133 yards, last year. The 140 yards was the most by any single rusher against the McDaniel defense since Catholic's Rich Barry ran for 142 on Sept. 19, 2009.
TERROR TIDBITS: Today is the first of three straight Homecoming games in which the Green Terror will play. After being a part of Ursinus' Homecoming today, McDaniel will play in front of the Franklin & Marshall's alums next week before returning to Bair Stadium in two weeks for its own Homecoming on the Hill… Today is the Green Terror's first road game in 35 days. The last time McDaniel was away from its home field was Sept. 18 at Catholic… The 143 yards of total offense last week was the Green Terror's fewest since posting just 113 on Sept. 13, 2008 against Moravian.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 18th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 107 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters this week with record of 107-72-3, 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 10th season at Ursinus. He has posted a 46-52 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 26-17 win over reigning CC champion Johns Hopkins last Saturday… Freshman Bryan Ellis rushed for a career-high 138 yards in Saturday's win. Ellis now leads the CC in rushing at 92.7 yards per game… Ursinus received the No. 24 ranking in both the d3football.com and American Football Coaches Association poll this week to garner its first top-25 ranking in program history… The Bears lead the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 13.8 points per game despite winning a 49-39 shootout with Gettysburg on Oct. 2. Ursinus has not allowed more than 17 points in any of its other five games and have allowed seven or fewer three times. The defense has allowed just two touchdowns in its three home games this season. Nine of the Blue Jays' 17 points came on a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown and safety… The Bears are allowing just 231.5 yards per game, including a mere 60.5 yards per game on the ground, to pace the conference in both categories… Ursinus leads the CC in turnover margin at plus-8 as well as opponent third- and fourth-down conversions at 18.7 percent (14-for-75) and 23.1 percent (3-for-13), respectively. The defense is also tops in opponents first downs (68)… Justin Decristofaro has thrown for 1,150 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, completing 93 of 163 attempts… Nick Giarratano has been Decristofaro's favorite target this year, hauling in 25 passes for 344 yards. He has caught eight touchdown passes and is three shy of tying the program record with 19 career scoring receptions. He also needs just three yards to reach 1,000 for his career. Giarratano's eight touchdowns are tops in the conference. He paces the CC in scoring at 8.0 points per game… Chris Roundtree ranks second in the CC with five interceptions and is tied with the Green Terror's Chris Kolb for the conference lead in passes defended with 14… Greg Martell paces the defense with 35 tackles, including 5.5 for loss… The Bears are 6-0 for just the fourth time in program history.