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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 48th meeting between McDaniel (3-3, 2-3 CC) and Muhlenberg (4-2, 3-2 CC) in a series that dates back to 1927. The Mules took a 42-13 victory last season in Westminster to make it seven wins in a row and nine in 10 years to even the all-time series, 22-22-3. The Green Terror's lone win during the stretch came by a 16-9 margin in Allentown in 2010.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Muhlenberg scored 21 first-quarter points en route to a 42-13 victory over McDaniel last season. Andre Henry Jr. (Frederick, Md./Urbana) caught seven passes for 64 yards to lead the Green Terror. Nick Palladino led the Mules with 243 yards passing, completing 17 of 23 passes with five touchdowns. Nick Lamb caught three of those touchdowns among his eight grabs for 82 yards. Nick Savant added another 110 yards on the ground.
LAST TIME OUT: The Green Terror was idle last week. Dickinson held McDaniel to a season-low 10 points to win a defensive battle 13-10 two weeks ago. Drew Scott (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.) led the Green Terror with 10 tackles on defense. Tyler Heisey paced the Red Devils defensively with 11 stops. Bamasa Bailor (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle Area) led the McDaniel offense with four catches for 43 yards. Matt Cathey (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) added 60 yards rushing on 16 carries. He also caught a 14-yard pass.
WITH HONORS: Drew Scott and Matt Schleifer (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.) were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls two weeks ago. Scott was tabbed to the defensive list after leading the defense with 10 tackles on the day. Schleifer was named to the special teams ledger after racking up 229 all-purpose yards. Of those yards, 213 came in the return game, including 158 punt-return yards. The 158 punt-return yards were the second most in a single game by a Green Terror player. He had returns of 50 and 71 yards to set up both McDaniel scores.
LEADING THE WAY: Bamasa Bailor, Vince Gorgone (Clarksville, Md./Good Counsel) and Drew Scott (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.) will captain the squad in 2017. Gorgone is a two-time captain after also leading the squad as a junior while Bailor and Scott are first-time captains.
HELLO, ALUMS: Today is Homecoming on the Hill for McDaniel. The Green Terror is 55-27-1 on Homecoming, including winning 14 of the last 24. This is the seventh different Homecoming opponent for the Green Terror since 2009. The last four years have been alternated between Dickinson and Franklin & Marshall for the Homecoming foe but prior to that a different team came to Westminster each year between 2009 and 2014.
BIRTHDAY BASH: Not only is it Homecoming for the Green Terror but it is also the 150th Anniversary Celebration for McDaniel this weekend. Founded as Western Maryland College in 1867, the College was named as such at the suggestion of John Smith, President of the Western Maryland Railroad. It was originally built on eight acres of land purchased by Fayette Buell. The College was renamed McDaniel in 2002. At halftime today, President Roger Casey, ninth president of the College, will lead a halftime celebration to culminate the weekend Birthday Party Celebration.
MANY HAPPY RETURNS: Matt Schleifer has rolled up 483 all-purpose yards over the last two games. Against Juniata, he amassed a career-best 145 receiving yards on five catches to highlight a 254-yard day. At Dickinson two weeks ago, he once again eclipsed 200 all-purpose yards highlighted by 158 punt-return yards. The total ranks second in program history for a single game. The sophomore had punt returns of 50 and 71 yards to set up both Green Terror scores. He has three of McDaniel's five longest plays of the year. His 105.8 all-purpose yards per game is tops on the team and seventh in the conference.
GREAT SCOTT: Drew Scott recorded 11 tackles on Saturday. It was not only a season-high total for Scott but it was the highest single-game total for any Green Terror defender in 2017. The senior linebacker is now one ahead of Ray Doh (Silver Spring, Md./Blake) for the team lead with 40 stops.
RUN, DON'T PASS: Will Koester, who ranks fourth in the conference with 1,375 passing yards, did something on Saturday the senior is not well known for – he took off on a rush. On a second-down play in the second quarter, Koester pulled the play fake and dashed around the left side for a 25-yard gain. It was by far the longest run of his career. Koester entered the game with just 13 net rushing yards on 15 attempts through the first five games.
MOVING FORWARD: McDaniel has allowed the fewest sacks in the conference. Through the first six games, the offensive line has allowed just five total sacks, which have only had a total of 27 lost yards. The Green Terror has had just 26 total plays go for negative yardage this season. Ursinus is second in the CC in both categories, allowing eight sacks and 32 negative plays.
LINE 'EM UP: By comparison the lack of sacks allowed by the offense, the defense has gotten to opposing quarterbacks 18 times this season – a total which ranks third in the conference. The defensive line has accounted for 16 of those sacks. Garvin Brooms (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) and Ray Doh have combined for 10.5 of those sacks. Brooms is third in the conference with 5.5 sacks while Doh is fifth with 5.0. The two defensive ends have also recorded 18 tackles for loss. Doh is currently second in the CC with 12.0 tackles for loss while Brooms is 12th with 6.0. All told, 16 different defenders have recorded a TFL this season.
TERROR TIDBITS: The Green Terror has lost six straight games coming off the bye week. The last victory was a 35-0 home win over Susquehanna in 2010… McDaniel netted season lows in points (10) and yards (234) at Dickinson last time out. The previous lows were 27 points and 342 yards – both in an overtime win over Gettysburg.… The Green Terror missed two field goals in a game for the first time since Oct. 29 at Juniata last season.
COACHES' CORNER: Mike Dailey is in his second season at the helm of the Green Terror. He enters today's game with a 6-10 record, going 3-7 in his debut campaign as the head man after seven seasons as an assistant on the staff. Dailey joined the Green Terror staff in 2009 with a pedigree of success at all levels of football that included compiling a record of 115-83 and two championships in 12 years as a head coach in the Arena Football League (AFL), leading the Albany Firebirds and Colorado Crush that included winning league titles in 1999 and 2005. For his first six seasons on the McDaniel sidelines, he served as defensive coordinator. His scheme put pressure on opposing quarterbacks game-in and game-out, recording 101 sacks and 55 interceptions. He helped produce 12 All-Centennial Conference selections, including four first-team nods. In 2015, Dailey shifted responsibilities to the offensive side of the ball – something he is renowned for from his days in the AFL. He spent last season coordinating the pass game and working specifically with the wide receivers… Corey Goff is the acting head coach for the Mules, assuming the title of special assistant over the summer. Goff, Muhlenberg's director of athletics since 2012, was on staff from 2000-05, serving as offensive coordinator for the final five of those seasons. Mike Donnelly was in his 21st season as head coach at Muhlenberg, compiling a record of 144-75 prior to losing his battle with leukemia on Oct. 4.
THE WORD ON MUHLENBERG: The Mules enter today's game after a week off. Prior to the bye, Muhlenberg knocked off Ursinus 21-14 at home to hand the Bears their first loss of the season. The Mules scored the first 14 points of the game that included a Nate Corvil fumble recovery in the end zone 1:03 into the second quarter. Muhlenberg ran for 214 yards on the day. Matt Stickney led the way with 118 yards on 23 carries. Michael Hnatkowsky completed 11 of 24 passes for 112 yards but also ran the ball 14 times for another 63 yards and two scores. Mickey Kober led the defense with 11 tackles… Muhlenberg currently ranks second in the conference in scoring defense, allowing just 18.3 points per game. The Mules have allowed fewer than 20 points in five of their first six games… Muhlenberg has alternated wins and losses through the conference schedule… Muhlenberg is second in the conference in rushing at 210.2 yards per game and has five different rushers with 74 or more yards this season. Nick Savant leads the team with 562 yards on 77 carries and six touchdowns. The six scores is tied for the conference lead… Stickney has 218 yards rushing while Mark Riggio has run for 158. Starting QB Hnatkowsky has 99 net rushing yards… The Mules have the best rush defense in the conference, allowing just 94.7 yards per game on the ground. Muhlenberg, however is sixth against the pass (198.2 ypg)… Kwasi Ampomah has 5.5 sacks on the year… Jake Morra leads the defense with 44 stops.