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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 63rd meeting between McDaniel (4-4, 3-4 CC) and Gettysburg (5-3, 4-3 CC) in a series that dates back to 1891. The Bullets lead the all-time series 45-17-1. The Green Terror won last season in Gettysburg to return the favor from two years ago when the Bullets won in Westminster to snap 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: Nick DeLuca converted three field goals, including the game-winning 20-yarder as time expired to lift McDaniel to a 22-20 victory over Gettysburg last season. The Green Terror built a 13-0 lead over the game's first 22:02 before the Bullets registered 20 of the game's next 26 points to take a one-point lead with four minutes to play. DeLuca, however, capped a 14-play march that covered 54 yards with a 20-yard field goal from the left hash to send McDaniel to its second straight road victory and first win in Gettysburg since 2001.
LAST TIME OUT: Chris DeStefano hit a pair of field goals in the final 3:57 to help Franklin & Marshall overcome a nine-point deficit and defeat McDaniel 31-28 last Saturday. John Harrison completed 42 of 60 attempts for the Diplomats for a program-record 447 yards to go with two touchdowns and four interceptions. Matt Cahill (Broomall, Pa./Haverford Twp.) caught six passes for the Green Terror, including a touchdown, for 39 yards to match Teron Powell's program record with 145 career receptions. Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) ran for a career-high 124 yards on 13 carries to notch McDaniel's second 100-yard rushing day of the season.
WITH HONORS: Joe Rollins and Paul Smith (Woodlawn, Md./Western Tech) earned spots on their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Rollins earned the offensive nod after leading the Green Terror with a career-high 124 yards rushing and a touchdown on just 13 carries, averaging 9.5 yards per rush. Smith was tabbed to the defensive ledger after making a career-high 12 tackles and breaking up two passes.
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.
THANK YOU, SENIORS: Today marks the final home game for 16 McDaniel seniors. Among the group is 10 of the team's starters on offense and defense. Eight of those 10 have been multiple-year starters for the Green Terror, which has amassed 12 wins over the last four years.
CATCHING ON: With a season-high six catches last Saturday, Matt Cahill matched Teron Powell's (1998-2001) program record for career receptions with 145. The senior enters today having caught at least one pass in 22 straight games and has snagged a pass in 39 of his 42 games on the Hill. He is one of eight CC receivers to have an active streak of no fewer than 20 straight games with a reception. Cahill enters today's game with 1,879 career yards receiving, which ranks fourth all-time. He needs 39 yards to match Donte Abron for third all-time and just 121 yards over the final two weeks to become just the third Green Terror receiver to amass 2,000 yards receiving.
KEEP ROLLINS, ROLLINS, ROLLINS: Freshman RB Joe Rollins turned in the Green Terror's second 100-yard rushing day of the season on Saturday, running for 124 yards on just 13 carries for a 9.5-yard-per-carry average. It was the first 100-yard day by a McDaniel back since Ray O'Hara (Yardley, Pa./Conwell-Egan Catholic) ran for a career-best 120 at Juniata in the opener. Among his carries was a 48-yard dash to the end zone on the first play of the second half for his first collegiate rushing touchdown. For the year, Rollins ranks second on the team with 266 yards on the ground. He is averaging 6.5 yards on his 41 carries – the fewest carries among any of the three primary Green Terror backs.
YOU ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST: A pair of Green Terror players ran into the end zone for the first time in their careers on Saturday – on back-to-back offensive plays for McDaniel. With 14 seconds remaining in the first half, Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) capped a 3-play, 4-yard drive with a one-yard dive to give his team a 14-13 halftime advantage. On the first offensive play of the second half, Joe Rollins broke off a 48-yard run to stretch the lead to 21-13 just 17 seconds into the third quarter.
THE BUTLER DID IT: Early in the second quarter on Saturday, Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) caught a 12-yard pass for the Green Terror's first touchdown. After missing the first four games of the season with injury, Butler has caught five passes in the four games since the bye week. Of those five receptions, three have gone for touchdowns. He is averaging 12.2 yards on his five receptions. As a freshman, his lone reception of the year went for a score before catching three touchdowns a year ago, including two of his three catches in the opener.
GOING LONG: The Green Terror entered last Saturday with 35 plays of 20 yards of longer, averaging five such plays a week. At Franklin & Marshall, McDaniel only had four such plays. However, three of those were the Green Terror's three longest plays of the season. Joe Rollins' 48-yard touchdown scamper was the team's longest rush of the year. CJ Billera caught a 56-yard pass from Tom Massucci to set up nine-yard pass play to Matt Cahill later in the third quarter for McDaniel's longest pass play of the season. It was also the longest toss of Massucci's career and the team's longest reception since Cahill caught a 75-yard touchdown from Brad Baer in the third quarter of a 24-14 win over Randolph-Macon on Oct. 21, 2006. Aaron Slaughter, however, turned in the Green Terror's longest play of the season when he returned an interception 62 yards late in the second quarter to set up the offense's second touchdown. It was the longest interception return by a McDaniel player since Colin Nelson capped a 50-10 win over Urisnus on Oct. 2, 2004 with a 63-yard return for a score.
CATCHING BIG AIR: After allowing just 1,046 yards passing through the first six games of the season (169.3 yards per game average), the Green Terror has allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in back-to-back games for the first time under head coach Tim Keating. Two weeks ago, Ursinus' Justin Decristifaro passed for 372 yards before Franklin & Marshall's John Harrison torced the McDaniel defense for 447 yards – a Diplomat program record and a Green Terror record for passing yards allowed. It marked the second straight year Harrison threw for 400 or more yards against McDaniel. Over the last two weeks, the defense has allowed 819 yards through the air.
BIG TIMING: The McDaniel defense, despite allowing 447 yards passing on Saturday, did pick off four John Harrison passes on Saturday. Aaron Slaughter had two of those interceptions, tripling his career total in one game. The senior safety returned his first pick of the day – and second of his career – 62 yards for the longest interception return of any active Green Terror player. He thwarted a second Franklin & Marshall drive with a leaping grab at the one-yard line. Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) made his first career interception. With the Diplomats driving deep into McDaniel territory early in the third quarter, Bradley Akers (Wilmington, Del./John Dickinson) hit Harrison as he released the ball. Gerdes made a diving scoop of the ball at the line of scrimmage to halt the march. Kevin White (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Haverford Twp.) added the fourth pick. For the season, McDaniel now has 16 interceptions – the most since also nabbing 16 in 2005.
THE IRON STOPPER: Paul Smith notched a career-high 12 tackles on Saturday. It was only the second time in his career that the senior outside linebacker reached double-figure tackles. Smith has been the mark of consistency on the Green Terror defense over his career. Not only has he played in all 38 games since his arrival on the Hill, but he has also made 32 starts in his tenure.
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: For the first time all season, McDaniel dropped a game in which it held a lead at halftime and at the end of the third quarter. Entering Saturday, the Green Terror had been 4-0 when leading at halftime and 3-0 when leading after three quarters. Blowing the nine-point fourth-quarter lead marked the first time in 21 games that McDaniel failed to hold on to a fourth-quarter advantage. On Oct. 25, 2008, Ursinus scored 23 fourth-quarter points to overcome a 7-3 deficit.
HELLO, ALUMS: Today is Homecoming on the Hill for McDaniel. In addition to the team's normal festivities, it will honor the 2000 CC championship team – the fourth of six straight Green Terror titles. This happens on the same weekend that Ron Sermarini '00 is inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame. Sermarini guided then-Western Maryland to the 1997, 1998 and 1999 crowns. The Green Terror is 52-23-1 on Homecoming, including 10-5-1 under Tim Keating. Today is the third straight week McDaniel is playing in a Homecoming game. Two weeks ago, the Green Terror dropped a 43-18 decision in front of the Ursinus alums before the heartbreaking 31-28 loss in front of the Franklin & Marshall Homecoming crowd last week. This is also the fourth straight time McDaniel has hosted Gettysburg for Homecoming on the Hill.
TERROR TIDBITS: Matt Cahill has caught a pass in 22 consecutive games – one of eight CC receivers to have an active streak of at least 20 games… The Green Terror had seven three-and-out drives on Saturday and went 5-for-16 on third downs… McDaniel ranks ninth in the CC on third downs (23.8 percent).
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 107-74-3, 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 32nd season guiding the Bullets. His 160-157-5 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 the highest scoring game in CC history. Trailing 50-27, Gettysburg scored 34 points over the final 17:27 of the game for a 61-50 victory over Susquehanna… Kyle Whitmoyer completed 20 of 28 passes for 374 yards and five touchdowns but also ran for another 70 yards and a score. Brian Betley caught five passes for 140 yards – three of which went for TDs – while Charles Curcio snagged 10 balls for 121 yards and a score… The two teams combined for 1,162 yards of total offense. The Bullets had 644 of those yards… Last week was the second straight week that Gettysburg rallied from a deficit of no fewer than 17 points. Against Dickinson, the Bullets trailed 17-0 and 24-7 before rallying for a 28-24 victory… For the season, Gettysburg leads the conference in scoring offense at 38.4 points per game. The Bullets, however, rank ninth in scoring defense at 31.9 points per game… The Bullets rushing attack is tops in the CC, averaging 251.9 yards per game… The Orange and Blue has four runners with no fewer than 300 yards this season. Jamel Mutunga leads the way with 589 yards on the ground. Anthony DeSalva has 491 yards while Whitmoyer has 488 yards. Curcio rounds out the quartet with 322 yards… Whitmoyer ranks second on the CC in passing efficiency at 141.86. The junior signal caller has completed 119 of 199 pass attempts for 1,631 yards. He has 11 touchdowns and five interceptions… Curcio has been Whitmoyer's favorite target in the passing game, hauling in 37 receptions for 418 yards. Betley has 23 catches for 420 yards… Gettysburg enters today's game winners of four in a row – the first time the Bullets have had a winning streak that long since 1994.