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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 42nd meeting between McDaniel (1-1, 1-0 CC) and Muhlenberg (1-1, 1-0 CC) in a series that dates back to 1927. The Mules took a 29-0 victory last season in Westminster to make it three wins in four years to pull within 22-16-3 in the all-time series. The Green Terror took the last meeting in Allentown 16-9 for its only win in the stretch.
WHEN LAST WE MET: 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 season. Michael Katz converted three field goals of 40-plus yards for the Mules. The Green Terror was able to only muster a season-low 143 yards of total offense, including 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.
LAST TIME OUT: Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) matched a 41-year-old program record with 311 rushing yards to lead McDaniel to a 35-14 win over Moravian in the CC opener for both teams last week. The sophomore tailback was a large part of an offense that put up 436 total yards. Rollins added 20 yards on a kickoff return to give him a career-best 331 all-purpose yards. In addition to Rollins' big day, which included three touchdown runs, Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) added two receptions for 102 yards to account for the majority of freshman Nick Valori's (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) 135 yards passing. The rookie completed 7 of 9 attempts in his first collegiate start.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Joe Rollins was named CC Offensive Player of the Week after matching the program rushing record with 311 yards. He carried the ball 26 times and scored three touchdowns. The sophomore ripped off runs of 41, 63 and 72 yards as part of the biggest running day by a Green Terror player since 1970.
WITH HONORS: Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson) and Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Cox was named the defensive ledger after recording nine solo tackles that included a program-record 5.0 sacks. He also tied the tackles-for-loss record with 6.0. Among his stops were a pair of strip sacks that resulted in two of the defense's four takeaways. Nichols earned the special teams nod after averaging 63.0 yards on six kickoffs with just one touchback. He also averaged 33.9 yards on seven punts with a long of 40, dropping one inside the 20. He was 5-for-5 on extra points and made two tackles.
LEADING THE WAY: Sam Cox, Tom Massucci, Diego Weiner (Miami, Fla./Riverside Military Academy [Ga.]) and Kevin White (Bryn Mawr, Pa./Haverford Twp.) will 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.
ROLLINS ON THE RUN: Sophomore Joe Rollins did something last Saturday that hadn't been done by a Green Terror player since 1970. The tailback, making his second collegiate start, carried the ball 26 times to rack up a program record-tying 311 yards. Rollins had a chance to surpass Joe Brockmeyer, who did it on 30 carries against Johns Hopkins on Nov. 21, 1970, on his 26th and final carry of the game but was stopped for no gain to keep him tied with Brockmeyer. Rollins became just the second back in program history – and eighth in CC history – to eclipse 300 yards rushing in a single game. For the season, he leads the conference at 235.0 yards per game rushing and 311.5 all-purpose yards per game.
BLOCK IT UP: After Moravian marched 46 yards in its first five plays of the game to move to the McDaniel 7, Diego Weiner shifted momentum to the Green Terror. After the defense didn't allow another yard to force a 23-yard field-goal attempt, Weiner blocked the attempt to keep the Greyhounds off the board. McDaniel blocked six kicks last season. However, none of those came on field-goal attempts.
O-ME, OH MY: In addition to huge day from its tailback, McDaniel also got a huge performance out of one of its receivers. Sophomore Nick O'Melia made just two catches but did the majority of the work to rack up 102 yards receiving. Midway through the first quarter, O'Melia made a grab for a first down on third-and-6, make a would-be Greyhound tackler miss at the 45 and sprinted down the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown reception. It was not only the longest reception of his career but also the longest catch by any player on the current Green Terror roster and longest pass play since 2006.
MICK PICK: Junior defensive back Tim McLister (Leesburg, Va./Loudoun) intercepted two passes in Saturday's game. He had just one career interception in 21 games entering Saturday before tripling his total in fewer than eight minutes of game action. It was the third multiple-pick day by a Green Terror defensive back in the last two seasons. Chris Kolb had three against Catholic last year and Aaron Slaughter snagged two against Franklin & Marshall.
GOING LONG: McDaniel did something on Saturday it hadn't been doing much recently – pick up big gains. The Green Terror had four offensive plays go for 40 or more yards against Moravian, accounting for 244 of the 436 yards of total offense. McDaniel ran 56 offensive plays, meaning nearly 56 percent of its offense came on just seven percent of its plays. Joe Rollins had runs of 41, 63 and 72 yards while Nick Valori hooked up with Nick O'Melia for a 68-yard pass play. The Green Terror had five plays of 40-plus yards all of last year.
SAM, I AM: Senior defensive lineman Sam Cox reached elite territory on Saturday afternoon, setting a new program-best mark for sacks in a game with 5.0. Two of those takedowns on the Moravian quarterbacks resulted in fumbles that McDaniel recovered. It was the most sacks by any CC player since Muhlenberg's Daniel McCall recorded 5.5 at Ursinus on Oct. 18, 2003 and was just the fifth five-sack day in the conference since 2001. Cox also added 6.0 tackles for loss, which tied the Green Terror record and matched McCall's 2003 day in that category.
SACK LUNCH: Sam Cox's day in the Greyhound backfield was part of a bigger day by the McDaniel defense. As a unit, the Green Terror recorded eight sacks – the most since recording eight on this field two years ago, which is one shy of the program record of nine at Ursinus in 2004. Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) had a nine-yard sack. Mike Cousar (Easton, Pa./Easton Area) notched his first career sack – a five-yard setback. Donny Sherman (Darlington, Md./Havre de Grace) also got to the quarterback for a two-yard loss on a scramble play to his right. The defensive unit had 10 total tackles for loss.
SUCH A FAKE: The Green Terror successfully executed four fake punts last year under the direction of quarterback-turned-defensive back Chris Kolb, who was the up-man in punt formation last year. On Saturday, the man who replaced Kolb in that spot, Kevin White, pulled off the first one for McDaniel this season. On a fourth-and-1 from its own 44 in the third quarter, White – also a starting defensive back who entered the program as a quarterback – called his own number, took the direct snap and sprinted eight yards up the middle for a first down.
GOING QUICK: Over at least the last three seasons, the McDaniel offensive has become known for its quick-strike ability. On Saturday, the Green Terror took that trend to the next level. McDaniel scored on five of its 16 offensive possession and each scoring drive took fewer than two minutes to complete. In fact, the shortest drive – a 36-yarder in the second quarter – was the only one that took more than three plays. And, it took just four. Nick O'Melia capped a 3-play, 72-yard march that took 1:31 with a 68-yard catch-and-run. Joe Rollins ended that 36-yarder after 1:17 with a 14-yard scamper. He then took control of a 52-yard drive, needing 44 seconds to cover 41 then 11 yards. After Rollins ripped off a 63-yard run as part of 70-yard march, Nick Valori finished it off with a four-yard run on the third play of a 1-minute, 24-second drive. Late in the third quarter, Rollins capped a drive that lasted 1:43 with a 72-yard run on the third play of the 75-yard drive.
GETTING OFFENSIVE: For the first time since the start of the 1998 season, the Green Terror opened a campaign with 30-plus points in the first two games of a season. It marked the first time since 2004 that McDaniel scored more than 30 in any two consecutive games when it put up 34 at Catholic on Sept. 18, 50 at Ursinus on Oct. 2 and 31 at Gettysburg on Oct. 9. It marks the first time since 2001 that the team put up 30 or more in two straight home games. The last time the Green Terror scored 30 or more at Scott S. Bair Stadium in consecutive weeks was during the 1996 season – Nov. 2 against Lebanon Valley (46-25) and Nov. 9 against Swarthmore (31-6).
TERROR TIDBITS: McDaniel and Muhlenberg square off in a battle of the CC's top two rush defenses. The Mules are allowing 69.0 yards per game while the Green Terror have given up an average of 77.0… McDaniel had four takeways against Moravian and are +4 on the season in the turnover battle.
THE WORD ON MUHLENBERG: The Mules enter today's game off a 34-13 win at Franklin & Marshall last Saturday. Muhlenberg trailed 3-0 after the Diplomats hit a 20-yard field goal on their first possession but then tallied the next 27 points to take control with 6:45 to play in the third quarter… J.T. Merklinger scored on short runs to make it a 14-3 game late in the second quarter before Terrence Dandridge added a four-yard run just before the first half expired and tacked on his second score midway through the third quarter… Isaiah Vaughn caught a 95-yard touchdown pass from Dan Deighan with 6:47 to play in the contest for the longest pass play in program history… Vaughn, who has five CC track medals, finished the day with 135 yards on four receptions… Muhlenberg has just 481 yards of total offense in its first two games combined and has allowed 678, including 540 through the air… Dandridge has a team-high 137 yards rushing… Deighan is completing just 37.2 percent (16-for-43) for 247 yards… Patrick McDonough leads the Mule defense with 23 tackles, including 3.0 sacks… Muhlenberg has forced six turnovers while the offense has coughed it up just once to pace the league with a +5 in the turnover margin… Dandridge and Merklinger call themselves the 1-2 punch. Dandridge wears No. 1 and Merklinger wears No. 2.