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OPENING KICKOFF: Tonight's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 45th meeting between McDaniel (1-5, 1-4 CC) and Dickinson (2-4, 2-3 CC) in a series that dates back to 1904. The Green Terror leads the all-time series 36-29-1 but the Red Devils have won five of the last six meetings, including by a 41-16 margin last season in Westminster.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Ricky Martz completed 23 of 29 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns to lead Dickinson to a 41-16 CC victory over McDaniel last season. The Red Devils gashed the nation's then-fifth-ranked run defense for 210 yards, including 52 from their quarterback and a team-high 95 yards from Tim Smith. Smith added nine catches for 61 yards while Craig Helfer caught eight passes for 155 yards, including two scores. Tom Massucci (Tabernacle, N.J./Seneca) completed 18 of 35 passes and a touchdown for the Green Terror. He threw for 218 yards – his second consecutive 200-yard passing game and seventh career 200-yard outing.
LAST TIME OUT: Franklin & Marshall's defense held McDaniel to minus-1 yard of total offense in the first half while its offense built a 24-0 lead en route to a 31-14 football victory last week. Mike Oliveto (Robesonia, Pa./Conrad Weiser) snagged five catches for the Green Terror, racking up a career-best 124 yards – 110 of which came in a second half in which the offense compiled 250 yards of total offense. John Kaschak led the Diplomats on the ground with 88 rushing yards. He also caught four passes for 50 yards and a touchdown. Franklin & Marshall recorded 165 of its 254 offensive yards in the decisive first half.
WITH HONORS: Mike Oliveto and Bill Gerdes (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls last week. Oliveto was named to the offensive list after catching five passes for a career-high 124 yards, including his first collegiate touchdowns. Gerdes earned the defensive nod after recording a career-high 10 tackles. He added 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
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.) 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.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: For the first time in Tim Keating's 19 years as Green Terror mentor, he will lead the team onto the field for a night game. The last time the squad played a game under the lights was 1992 – the season before Keating's arrival in Westminster – when then-Western Maryland opened the campaign at Albright in a 7:30 game. The Green Terror was victorious, 28-0. The only known Friday night game in program history was a Halloween night trip to FDU-Madison in 1986, resulting in a 14-0 loss. McDaniel is 2-2 in night games but this is the first time the team will play a conference game under the lights.
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 11 occasions. Joe Rollins (Temple Hills, Md./Surrattsville) 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 (Taneytown, Md./Francis Scott Key) has three 100-yard receiving days while Woody Butler (Smithsburg, Md./Middletown) and Mike Oliveto each have one. Donny Sherman (Darlington, Md./Havre de Grace) 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.
SEEING RED: The Green Terror has the best red-zone offense in the CC entering play this weekend. McDaniel has registered points on 17 of its 21 trips inside the opponent 20. Of the 81-percent conversion rate, 14 of the scores have been touchdowns. McDaniel is 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts when it reaches the red zone.
ROOKIE BIG TIME: Freshman Mike Oliveto got his first significant action at wide receiver on Saturday. Oliveto, who entered the day with one reception for 19 yards, caught five passes against Franklin & Marshall. He averaged 24.8 yards per catch to amass a career-best 124 receiving yards. Oliveto became Nick Valori's favorite target deep, recording the three longest receptions of the day, including a 35-yard touchdown to get McDaniel on the board late in the third quarter. It was his first collegiate touchdown.
WILD BILL: Without classmate Sam Cox in the lineup on Saturday, senior DL Bill Gerdes did his best to make up for not having the conference's sack leader on the field. Gerdes racked up a career-best 10 tackles on Saturday, including 3.5 tackles for loss. He also had more than one sack for the first time in his career, registering 1.5 sacks. Gerdes is currently fourth on the team with 32 stops. Of his 32 tackles, 22 have been solo stops – a total which also ranks fourth. His 4.0 sacks and 8.0 tackles for loss are second only to Cox.
JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME: Freshman QB Nick Valori finished Saturday's game, completing just 11 of his 30 pass attempts but registered his fourth straight 200-yard game. His 201 yards passing gave him 1,129 yards for the season. The four straight 200-yard games puts Valori in elite company among Green Terror signal callers. Only Brian Van Deusen '96 – the program's all-time passing leader with 7,239 yards – accomplished the feat. Van Deusen threw for no fewer than 200 yards in each of his first 14 career starts during 1993 and the first five games of 1994. Van Deusen also had six straight 200-yard games in 1995, finishing his career with 23 such games.
BOTTLED UP: Joe Rollins entered the bye week with 824 yards rushing through the first half of the season. He came into Saturday's game leading Division III at 164.8 yards per game before the Diplomats contained him to a season-low 65 yards. The sophomore tailback had just 17 carries – his fewest in a full game this year. He still leads the CC at 148.2 yards per game but dropped to seventh in Division III. He enters this week with 889 yards and needs 111 to become the Green Terror's first 1,000-yard rusher since Broderick Maybank in 2004.
MORE YARDS EQUALS MORE POINTS: In all six McDaniel games this season, the team that has accumulated more yards on offense has won the game. The only game in which the Green Terror finished with more yards on offense than its opponent was the 35-14 win over Moravian on Sept. 10. McDaniel ended the day with a 436-370 advantage in total yards – 311 of which came from Joe Rollins' program record-tying rushing performance. The Green Terror had been outgained by an average of 132.25 yards per game entering Saturday before Franklin & Marshall racked up 165 yards in the first half while holding McDaniel to minus-1. The Green Terror closed the margin at game's end to five after outgaining the Diplomats 250-89 in the second half.
ON THE RIGHT SIDE: McDaniel did have one bounce go its way on Saturday. After a 17-yard touchdown reception from Woody Butler in the back corner of the end zone that pulled the Green Terror within 24-14 with 2:00 to play, the hosts had no choice but to attempt the on-side kick. Jake Nichols (Frederick, Md./Gov. Thomas Johnson) bounced the ball off the turf and McDaniel came away with the recovery to give the offense the ball right back. However, the fortunate bounce didn't pay off. Franklin & Marshall recorded its eighth sack of the game on the next play, jarring the ball loose on the hit. The defense scooped up the loose ball and found the end zone for the 31-14 final. It was the first time the Green Terror had attempted an on-side kick since 2006. In a Week Two game against Seton Hill, the Green Terror pulled within 17-7 with 4:34 to play but the on-side kick attempt failed.
RUNNING BEHIND SCHEDULE: The Green Terror ran 29 first-down plays in Saturday's loss to Franklin & Marshall and then 20 second-down plays. For the first time this season, McDaniel was in a second-and-long situation on all 20 of those plays that counted. The two times in which first-down plays would have set up a second-and-short and second-and-medium had penalties that pushed the ball back – once a holding call that negated a six-yard gain and once a deadball personal foul. The Green Terror needed no fewer than seven yards for a first down on all 20 second-down plays. Consequently, McDaniel faced third-and-long on 12 of its 14 third-down situations. The Green Terror went 3-for-14 on third down conversions.
TERROR TIDBITS: The Green Terror's first four losses this season were by a combined 25 points before falling to Franklin & Marshall by 17 on Saturday… McDaniel's offense was held to minus-1 yard of total offense in the first half on Saturday before finishing the day with 249… The Green Terror is last in the conference in sacks against, allowing 28 this season… Diego Weiner also had 10 tackles on Saturday, giving McDaniel two 10-tackle performances in the same game for the first time this season. The Green Terror entered Saturday with just two double-digit tackle performances in the first half of the season… McDaniel has had four scoring drives this season that have been either one or two plays. More than half (13 of 22) of the Green Terror's scoring drives have taken 1:48 or less… McDaniel has allowed 30 or more points in all five of its losses this season.
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 109-80-3, 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… Darwin Breaux is in his 19th season guiding the Red Devils. He has compiled a 115-74-1 record and guided Dickinson to the five post-season appearances, including a 2006 NCAA appearance after winning the CC championship and an ECAC appearance in 2008. The 115 wins are the most by any Red Devil mentor.
THE WORD ON DICKINSON: The Red Devils enter tonight's game off a 47-6 loss at Johns Hopkins last Friday night… The Blue Jays rolled up 632 yards of total offense while limiting Dickinson to just 223. Mike Shimkin ran the ball 12 times for 80 yards to lead the offense. He also caught two passes for 17 yards… Cole Ahnell threw just 18 passes, completing 10 of them for 72 yards… David London hit a pair of field goals for the Red Devils' only points of the night. He converted a 20-yard second-quarter attempt and 47-yarder in the third period… Shimkin is ninth in the conference in rushing yards, netting 283 yards in the first six games of the season… Cam Di Fede leads the receiving corps, making 34 catches for 391 yards. His 5.67 receptions per game ranks fifth in the league while his 65.2 yards per game is seventh… Di Fede's 391 yards accounts for 44.7 percent of the team's total receiving yards. Three Red Devil signal callers have combined to complete 83 of 140 passes for 874 yards. Todd Smolinski is 38-for-65 for 444 yards while Ahnell is 27-for-43 for 306 yards. Ricky Martz has thrown 29 passes, completing 18 for 124 yards… Matt Wood is the only other Dickinson receiver with 100 yards with 10 catches for 114 yards… Scott Sullivan is tied for the CC lead with four interceptions. He leads the team and ranks second in the CC with 60 tackles… Michael Miller has 55 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss… London has seven field goals this season, which is tied for the conference lead. He is 7-for-9 on the year… Dickinson enters tonight's play with the fewest sacks in the league, getting to opposing quarterbacks just four times in the first six games. Half of those sacks came in the 35-6 win over Juniata. Ray Durkin has two of those sacks… The Red Devils are the least penalized team in the CC, having been flagged just 29 times for 258 yards.