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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 44th meeting between McDaniel (1-4, 1-3 CC) and Franklin & Marshall (1-4, 1-3 CC) in a series that dates back to 1904. The Diplomats lead the all-time series 26-16-2 and have won the last seven meetings after the Green Terror took seven straight between 1997 and 2003.
WHEN LAST WE MET: 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 season. 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 caught six passes for the Green Terror, including a touchdown, for 39 yards. Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) ran for a then-career-high 124 yards on 13 carries to notch McDaniel's second 100-yard rushing day of the season.
LAST TIME OUT: McDaniel had last week off. Gettysburg rolled up 676 yards of total offense as part of a game that featured 1,140 yards and 81 points, defeating McDaniel 44-37 two weeks ago. Nick O'Melia (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) caught eight passes for the Green Terror, accounting for 203 of Nick Valori's (Sewell, N.J./Washington Twp.) 29 passing yards. For O'Melia, he was the first receiver to reach 200 yards receiving since 1993 while Valori had the first 300-yard passing game since 2002. O'Melia also caught all three of Valori's touchdown tosses. Aden Twer had a 200-yard receiving day of his own for the Bullets, catching seven passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. Ted Delia and Kyle Whitmoyer both had 100 yards on the ground. Delia went for 109 while Whitmoyer had 100.
WITH HONORS: Nick Valori, Tim McLister (Leesburg, Va./Loudoun) and Donny Sherman (Darlington, Md./Havre de Grace) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls two weeks ago. Valori was named to the offensive list after throwing for 329 yards on 17 of 25 passing with three touchdowns. McLister earned the defensive nod after recording 10 tackles and an interception. Sherman was tabbed the special teams ledger after returning four kickoffs for a total of 139 yards and adding a pair of punt returns for 21 yards to amass 160 all-purpose yards.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) was named a Beyond Sports College Network Football Athlete of the Week after punting seven times for 298 yards, averaging a season-best 42.6 yards per kick. He dropped four of his seven kicks inside the 20-yard line, including reeling off a season-long 61-yarder. He added two touchbacks.
LEADING THE WAY: Sam Cox (Towson, Md./Towson), 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.
30 IS THE NEW 20: Entering the 2011 season, the Green Terror was 53-1 under head coach Tim Keating when reaching the 30-point mark, including 53 straight victories. The last time the squad failed to win a game when scoring 30 points was in Keating's third game on the sidelines – a 42-33 loss to Ursinus on Sept. 25, 1993. However, McDaniel has scored 30 points in three of its five games this season, dropping two of those three contests. Two weeks ago, the Green Terror dropped a 44-37 decision to Gettysburg. The 37 points were the most ever scored in a loss.
ON A J-ROLL: Through five games this season, Joe Rollins has 824 yards rushing. The sophomore tailback is on pace to break Eric Frees' single-season program record of 1,594 rushing yards, turned in during his junior season (1990), by nearly 100 yards. Rollins enters today's game needing just 176 yards to become the Green Terror's first 1,000-yard single-season rusher since Broderick Maybank ran for 1,200 in 2004. Rollins needs to average 154 yards per game over the final half of the season to break Frees' record.
O-ME, OH MY: Nick O'Melia recorded his third 100-yard receiving day of the season in McDaniel's last outing. O'Melia caught eight passes for 209 yards to turn in the Green Terror's first 200-yard receiving day since Paul McCord caught 227 yards worth of receptions against Gettysburg on Sept. 18, 1993. It was just the fourth 200-yard receiving day on record. Prior to the game two weeks ago, O'Melia had 264 yards receiving, of which 209 came in two games – a 102-yard day against Moravian and 107 against Ursinus. The sophomore wideout is averaging a CC-best 24.6 yards per catch this season. He has caught two of the three 60-plus yard throws by Nick Valori this season, including the Green Terror's two longest pass plays of the season.
MC-PICKIN': Tim McLister nabbed his team-leading third interception of the season against Gettysburg. His three picks in the first half of the season is tied for third in the CC. McLister also has a pass breakup to give him four passes defended on the year.
CENTURY MARKS: The number 100 has become almost a standard with the McDaniel offense this season. As a team, Green Terror players have recorded 100 yards in some category on 10 occasions. Joe Rollins has turned in four 100-yard rushing days – the most by any individual player since Broderick Maybank had seven during the 2004 season. He has at least 100 all-purpose yards in all five games this year. Nick O'Melia has three 100-yard receiving days while Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) has one. Donny Sherman also has one additional 100-yard all-purpose game. In three of the five games, McDaniel has had both a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver.
WANNA BE LIKE MIKE: The Green Terror has recovered five fumbles this season. However, Michael Cousar (Easton, Pa./Easton) was the first one to pick one up and return it. With Gettysburg set up with first-and-goal from the one-yard line, Cousar snagged a bad snap out of the air and returned it 54 yards where an illegal block in the back put the ball back to the McDaniel 44. On the very next play, Nick Valori hit a streaking Nick O'Melia in stride for a 56-yard score that gave the hosts a 30-24 lead – the duo's second touchdown connection of more than 50 yards in the game.
SPINNING THREE BILLS: After back-to-back 200-yard passing performances, Nick Valori stepped it up to the next level and flung the Green Terror's first 300-yard passing game in nine seasons. The freshman signal caller completed 17 of 25 passes for 329 yards and three scores. The last McDaniel quarterback to throw for 300 yards was John Luster, who completed 21 of 35 attempts for 357 yards in a 23-20 loss to Bridgewater on Sept. 7, 2002. Valori is only the third Green Terror quarterback not named Brian Van Deusen, Ron Sermarini or Jamie Harris to have a 300-yard passing game. Mike Hamm '91 threw for 359 on 17 of 29 passing against Gettysburg on Sept. 15, 1990.
SACKING UP: Despite just one sack in its last two games, the Green Terror still ranks second in the conference with 16 sacks. Sam Cox leads the way with a CC-best 7.5 sacks. His sack total also ranks tied for third in all of Division III. Cox has 11.0 tackles for loss, which is third in Division III. Steve Wetherhold (Catasauqua, Pa./Catasauqua) is also in the top 10 in the league, averaging 0.62 in his four games played. Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) has 2.5 sacks while Michael Cousar has 1.5. Donny Sherman and Morris Koffa (Bowie, Md./Archbishop Carroll) each have 1.0.
ON THE TOP: Joe Rollins enters today's game averaging 164.8 yards per game rushing. After the week off, his average now ranks atop all of Division III. In fact, that total ranks fifth across all divisions. There are two Division II players averaging more yards per game – Mars Hill's Jonas Randolph (180.0) and Minnesota-Crookston's Richard Haley (176.6). The only Division I runner who is having a more prolific season is Oregon's LaMichael James, who is averaging 170.4 yards over his first five games.
CLOSE ONLY COUNTS IN HORSESHOES AND HAND GERNADES: All four of the Green Terror losses this season have come by eight or fewer points. Between 2006 and 2010, McDaniel accumulated 33 losses but a total of just six of those setbacks came by one score, including at Franklin & Marshall last season. Over the last five seasons, the average margin of defeat was 23.3. This season, all four losses have been by a combined 25 points. The last time McDaniel had a season with more than two losses by eight or fewer points came in 2005, when three of the five setbacks were by one score.
TERROR TIDBITS: All four of the Green Terror losses have come in the fourth quarter this season. In three of the four losses, the go-ahead score came in the final 1:50… McDaniel has had four scoring drives this season that have been either one or two plays. More than half (12 of 20) of the Green Terror's scoring drives have taken 1:43 or less… McDaniel ranks 52nd in Division III in scoring offense, averaging 32.4 points per game. There are 239 teams in Division III… Joe Rollins is fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards (204.4) and eighth in kickoff returns (30.67)… The Green and Gold has allowed 514 yards rushing the last two games after allowing just 270 over the first three games of the year… The Green Terror is 14-3 under Tim Keating with an extra week to prepare.
COACHES' CORNER: Tim Keating is in his 19th season at the helm of the Green Terror. His 109 victories are the most by any McDaniel coach. Keating enters today's game with record of 109-79-3, 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 sixth season at Franklin & Marshall. He is 27-30, guiding the Diplomats to a 9-2 record and ECAC South Atlantic title in 2009 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 off a bye last week. Two weeks ago, Dickinson scored the final 10 points of the game to defeat Franklin & Marshall 31-24 and reclaim the Conestoga Wagon Trophy… John Harrison completed 26 of 32 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns. Tim Muller caught seven of those passes for 84 yards. Jordan Zachary snagged eight balls for 40 yards. John Kaschak ran the ball 21 times for 98 yards but also caught seven passes out of the backfield for 38 yards… The Diplomats rank third in the conference in passing offense, averaging 255.0 yards per game. Harrison is completing 66.7 percent of his passes (98-for-147) for 783 yards and five scores while E.J. Schneider has thrown for 452 yards on 31 of 57 passing… Conversely, Franklin & Marshall ranks ninth in rushing offense, averaging just 79.6 yards per game. Kaschak leads the squad with 158 total yards rushing. Lamont Jackson is the only other Diplomat runner with more than 100 yards, totaling 121 yards on 31 carries… The Franklin & Marshall defense is second against the pass, allowing 158.8 yards per game and third against the run, allowing 174.0 yards per contest. Only undefeated Johns Hopkins has allowed fewer yards per game than the Diplomats' 276.8… No Franklin & Marshall defender has more than 26 tackles through the first half of the season. However, nine Diplomats have made no fewer than 15 stops. Brendan Wengerter leads the corps with 26 stops, including 19 solo… Of Franklin & Marshall's 281 tackles this season, 197 have been solo stops… Mike Shin leads the conference with two forced fumbles in his four games played… Ty Savastio has two of the Diplomats' five interceptions this year.