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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 44th meeting between McDaniel (4-3, 3-3 CC) and Franklin & Marshall (5-2, 4-2 CC) in a series that dates back to 1904. The Diplomats lead the all-time series 25-16-2 and have won the last six meetings after the Green Terror took seven straight between 1997 and 2003.
WHEN LAST WE MET: John Harrison threw for a program-record 404 yards on 26 of 35 passing with five touchdowns to lead Franklin & Marshall to a 41-20 CC victory over McDaniel last season. The Diplomats were the fifth team last season to roll up more than 400 yards of total offense on the Green Terror, putting up 437 yards, including 406 through the air. CJ Billera (Allentown, Pa./Emmaus) caught seven passes for a career-high 110 yards, including a touchdown, in the loss for McDaniel. Tom Massucci (Seneca, N.J./Tabernacle) had his fourth career 200-yard passing day, completing 16 of 33 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown.
LAST TIME OUT: Al Desiderio caught three passes – all for touchdowns – accounting for 161 yards to lead No. 24 Ursinus in a 43-18 CC victory over McDaniel last week. Justin Decristofaro completed 23 of 38 passes for 367 yards with five touchdowns for the Bears. Tom Massucci 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.
WITH HONORS: Aaron Slaughter (Baltimore, Md./Loyola) and Chris Kolb (Keymar, Md./Francis Scott Key) earned spots on their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Slaughter earned the defensive nod after leading the way with 10 tackles. He also had a pass breakup and blocked an extra-point attempt. Kolb was named to the special teams ledger after returning the Slaughter blocked PAT for two points – the first Green Terror player to accomplish the feat since 2001.
LEADING THE WAY: Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.), Chris Kolb and Aaron Slaughter 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.
KEEP ROLLINS', ROLLINS', ROLLINS: With 43 rushing yards on Saturday, freshman Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) now ranks second on the squad with 142 yards on the ground. After not playing in the opener, Rollins is tops among all Green Terror running backs, averaging 5.1 yards on 28 carries. The 5-foot-6 back racked up a season-best 80 all-purpose yards in Saturday's loss. In addition to his 43 yards on the ground, he caught two passes for 12 yards and returned one kickoff 25 yards.
DEFENSIVE STRUGGLES: In its three losses this season, the Green Terror defense has been torched especially compared to the points allowed in its four wins. In the three losses this season, opponents are averaging 37.6 points per game while in McDaniel's four wins, teams have averaged just six points a game – and two have failed to score at all. The Green Terror has dropped its last eight 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 28 times it has happened since the beginning of the 2006 season was a 52-37 victory over St. Vincent in last year's opener.
TWO POINTS!: Chris Kolb accomplished something on Saturday that had not been done in the conference all season and a Green Terror player had not accomplished since 2001. Off a third-quarter blocked PAT – McDaniel's second of the day – Kolb scooped up the Aaron Slaughter blocked kick and returned it the distance for two points. The last time the Green Terror successfully did that was when Scott Stolzenburg returned a blocked Susquehanna extra-point for two points on Sept. 8, 2001.
PICKING IT UP: Chris Kolb has done a little of everything this season, including now returning a blocked extra point for two points and executing four fake punts. However, it's his day job at cornerback that has him making the biggest name for himself. He may only have 25 tackles – ninth on the team – but he has a conference-leading seven interceptions. His 1.00 picks per game ranks fourth in Division III. He also has eight pass breakups, ranking second in the CC with 15 passes defended.
RECORD WATCH: With three games to play, a handful of program records are within reach for the Green Terror this season. On offense, Matt Cahill needs just six receptions to match Teron Powell for the program record with 145 catches. On defense, Chris Kolb needs two interceptions to equal Carroll "Splinter" Yingling's 43-year mark of nine picks in a season. On special teams, Nick Bender (Harrisburg, Pa./Susquehanna Twp.) needs one more blocked kick to give him five for his career and break a seven-way tie atop the career list. As a team, McDaniel has five blocked kicks this season. The program record is nine during the 2001 season.
200-LEVEL COURSE: Tom Massucci notched his eighth career 200-yard passing game, matching Jamie "Boo" Harris for the third most in program history. Only Green Terror Sports Hall of Famers Brian Van Deusen '96 (23) and Ron Sermarini '00 (18) threw more in their careers. Massucci accomplished his eighth 200-yard day on just 17 completions – the second fewest of his career in such an outing. It was also the fourth time he threw for 200 yards in a loss. In the process, he passed Harris in career yards. Through just 21 career games, he has now thrown for 3,533 yards and needs 179 to pass Brad Baer for fourth place on the all-time list.
NO MORE STREAKING: Tom Massucci had his string of 159 consecutive passes without an interception snapped in the fourth quarter on Saturday. With 7:18 remaining in the contest, the junior was picked off for the first time in five games, dating back to a four-interception day against Moravian on Sept. 11. During the time between picks, Massucci completed 81 passes with 10 touchdowns. During the stretch, he completed passes to 12 different receivers, including catching his own pass on Saturday. As a team, the Green Terror had gone 170 attempts without an interception with 15 different receivers accounting for the 92 receptions during the span.
THREE-AND-OUT: McDaniel has not exactly responded well coming out of the locker room this season. In the third quarter of games this season, the Green Terror has been outscored, 42-12. On Saturday, McDaniel held Ursinus to nine points in the frame but was able to muster just five points. The only other game in which the Green Terror put up points in the third period was on a seven-yard Tom Massucci-to-Matt Cahill touchdown at Catholic.
STARTING STRONG: Conversely, McDaniel has done a great job of starting games well. The Green Terror has scored 44 points in the first quarters of games this season – more than 40 percent of its entire output for points. With the exception of the season opener at Juniata, McDaniel has scored on one of its first two offensive possessions in each of the other five games where it has scored. Even in the Juniata game, the Green Terror drove into field goal but missed the 37-yard attempt.
CATCHING BIG AIR: While the McDaniel run defense has been suspect in two of previous three weeks, the pass defense had been much improved since the bye, allowing a combined 254 yards through the air in the two games entering last week. However at Ursinus on Saturday, the secondary was burned for 372 yards – the most in 10 games. The last time the Green Terror allowed a 300-yard passer was when the Blue Jays' Hewitt Tomlin threw for 301 in last year's finale. John Harrison – this week's opposing quarterback – notched a career- and program-best 404 last season.
ON THE BLOCK: McDaniel blocked two kicks in the same game for the second time this season and now have five blocks on the year. Prior to Saturday, the first three blocks were all punt blocks. At Ursinus, the Green Terror got to a pair of Bear extra-point attempts. It was the first blocked PAT since Sept. 22, 2007 at Dickinson and first time the squad blocked two point-after attempts since blocking two at Catholic on Sept. 17, 2005 – both in overtime.
TERROR TIDBITS: Today is the second of three straight Homecoming games in which the Green Terror will play. A week after dropping a 43-18 decision to Ursinus in the Bears' Homecoming game, McDaniel will play in front of the Franklin & Marshall's alums today before returning to Bair Stadium in next week for its own Homecoming on the Hill… Matt Cahill has caught a pass in 21 consecutive games – one of eight CC receivers to have an active streak of at least 20 games.
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 107-73-3, 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… John Troxell is in his fifth season at Franklin & Marshall. He is 25-23, guiding the Diplomats to a 9-2 record and ECAC South Atlantic title last season after back-to-back 4-6 records and a 3-7 inaugural season at the helm. Troxell took the reins following five seasons as an assistant coach at Lafayette, serving as video coordinator, running backs coach, recruiting coordinator and special teams coach for the 2004 and 2005 Patriot League champions.
THE WORD ON FRANKLIN & MARSHALL: The Diplomats enter today's game after knocking Muhlenberg from the ranks of the conference unbeatens with a 17-7 victory in Allentown last week… Franklin & Marshall scored 14 points in the third quarter to overcome a 7-3 halftime deficit. Sam Massaro ignited the comeback, blocking a punt and recovering it in the end zone just 1:22 into the third quarter to give the Diplomats the lead… His blocked kick and touchdown earned him CC Special Teams Player of the Week honors… John Harrison completed 16 of 25 yards for 121 yards. As a team, the Diplomats threw for 172 yards on 19 of 30… Jay Ridinger caught 11 of those passes for 113 yards…Massaro and C.T. Marsh led the defense with 10 tackles apiece. Massaro added a sack and two tackles for loss… John Kaschak leads the team in rushing with 452 yards. As a team, the Diplomats rank ninth in rushing offense with 545 yards… Harrison has thrown for 1,578 yards, completing 65.9 percent of his passes (145-for-220) with 16 touchdowns. Harrison ranks second in the conference in passing yards and has the best completion percentage of any CC signal caller… Ridinger has been Harrison's favorite target all season, catching 51 balls for 701 yards… Franklin & Marshall is second in the conference in scoring defense (15.3 ppg), pass defense (159.0 ypg) and leads the league in sacks (22).