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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 18th meeting between McDaniel (3-5, 2-5 CC) and Susquehanna (5-3, 4-3 CC) in a series that dates back to 1961. The River Hawks have won the last three meetings to take a 10-7 lead in the all-time series. The Green Terror last won 43-42 in Selinsgrove in 2013.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Susquehanna took a 24-0 lead into halftime en route to a 37-20 victory over McDaniel last season. Perry Stefanelli (Rockville, Md./Good Counsel) led the Green Terror with 143 yards rushing on 18 carries and a touchdown. Luke Robertson paced the River Hawks with 202 yards on the ground, running the ball 32 times and two touchdowns.
LAST TIME OUT: Ursinus scored 28 straight points before staving off a McDaniel rally to notch a 28-21 victory last Saturday. Garvin Brooms (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) led the Green Terror with seven tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries. Stacey Gardner led the Bears with 22 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
WITH HONORS: Bamasa Bailor (Carlisle, Pa./Carlisle Area) and Garvin Brooms were named to their respective CC Weekly Honor Rolls two weeks ago. Bailor was tabbed to the offensive list after making nine catches for 96 yards to lead the offense. Brooms was named to the defensive ledger after leading a Green Terror defense that pitched a second-half shutout at Ursinus on Saturday. He recorded seven tackles, including 3.0 for loss. He had 2.5 sacks and recovered a pair of fumbles.
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.
SECOND-HALF STRONG: The Green Terror defense pitched a shutout in the second half on Saturday at Ursinus. It marked the third time this season that McDaniel did not allow a second-half point. Catholic and Moravian were both held off the scoreboard in the second half by the Green Terror in the first two weeks of the season. On Saturday, the Bears were limited to just 149 yards of total offense after taking a 28-7 lead with 5:32 to play in the second quarter. Ursinus has rolled up 226 yards on offense to go with a 19-yard interception return for a touchdown through the first 24:28.
GET OUT THE BROOMS: Garvin Brooms had his biggest day of the season, filling up the defensive stat sheet. The junior defensive lineman had seven tackles on the day. He had 3.0 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks. He also recovered a pair of fumbles. His first recovery set up the Green Terror's second score to close to within 28-14 at halftime. His second recovery gave the offense one last opportunity with 2:24 to play, down seven and 64 yards from the end zone. For the year, Brooms is second in the conference with 8.0 sacks and eighth with 9.0 tackles for loss.
MAS MEANS MORE: For the second week in a row and third time this season, Bamasa Bailor caught nine passes in a game. He once again had 96 receiving yards. Bailor also caught a pair of touchdown passes for the second time in his career. The senior also had two touchdowns at Juniata last year on the same weekend. He now has five touchdown grabs this year and 12 for his career.
FOURTH AND GO: McDaniel went for it on fourth down a season-high seven times last Saturday, converting four of those attempts. A lot of that stemmed from a season-worse 1-for-15 performance on third downs, including missing on all 12 attempts after the first quarter. The Green Terror is now 13-for-21 on fourth downs this season. The 61.9-percent conversion rate is third best in the conference. McDaniel scored two of its three touchdowns on fourth-down plays. Will Koester (Purcellville, Va./Woodgrove) hit Matt Schleifer (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.) on a 17-yard slant for a touchdown late in the second quarter before finding Bamasa Bailor in the back of the end zone from 12 yards out midway through the fourth quarter.
CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR: After falling 28-21 at Ursinus on Saturday, the Green Terror is now 1-4 in games decided by one possession this season. The four losses by seven or fewer points is tied for the most one-possession losses in the conference this year. McDaniel's first three losses of the year were by a combined six points and four of the five setbacks have been by a combined 13.
ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR FIRST: Sophomore Matt Schleifer has been a big part of the offense and return game this season. However on Saturday, he scored his first collegiate touchdown. With 1:12 to play in the second quarter, Schleifer caught a slant pass from Will Koester on a fourth-and-10 from the Ursinus 17. Schleifer has 13 receptions this season for 194 yards but has racked up 657 return yards. He has a team-best 851 all-purpose yards this season.
TERROR TIDBITS: Will Koester needs just 229 yards to become the Green Terror's first 2,000-yard passer since 2009. He had his fourth 200-yard passing game of the season last week. He now has 12 such games in his career… For just the second time this season, Spencer Wiersberg (Salisbury, Md./J.M. Bennett) did not attempt a field goal. He is still third in Division III with his 1.50 field goals per game.
COACHES' CORNER: Mike Dailey is in his second season at the helm of the Green Terror. He enters today's game with a 6-12 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… Tom Pertkovich is in his third season at the helm of the River Hawks, entering today with a record of 16-12. He became Susquehanna's 30th coach last season after serving the previous 11 seasons on the coaching staff at Muhlenberg. He spent the last five seasons as the Mules' offensive coordinator and had previous stints as special team's coordinator and offensive line coach. He began his coaching career at Muhlenberg in 2003 when he was named running backs coach, a position he held through the 2004 season. He moved to Division I Holy Cross as tight ends coach before taking over as running backs coach at Colgate in 2006. He returned to the Mules' staff a year later.
THE WORD ON SUSQUEHANNA: The River Hawks enter today's game off a 29-21 loss at Gettysburg on Saturday. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Susquehanna. Gettysburg trailed 21-7 after the first quarter but scored the final 22 points of the game. After converting three field goals to close within 21-16 entering the fourth quarter, the Bullets connected on a 78-yard touchdown pass to take the lead with 11:39 to play then added an insurance touchdown with 1:56 to play… Nick Crusco completed 19 of 35 passes for 248 yards and two touchdowns but was picked off four times last week… Mikah Christian was his QB's favorite target, hauling in seven passes for more than half of the yards through the air (142)… Cameron Ott ran the ball 22 times for 96 yards… Cole Dixon and David Simpson recorded 11 tackles each to lead the defense… Susquehanna ranks third in the conference in scoring defense (19.1 ppg) but is eighth in scoring offense (23.4 ppg). The River Hawks have reached the 30-point mark just twice this season but have allowed 30 or more just once. The defense has allowed 11 or fewer points in three of the team's five wins… Crusco has thrown for 1850 yards this season and has five 200-yard passing games. He enters this week third in the conference in passing yards per game (231.3 ypg)… Christian and Diamente Holloway each have more than 450 receiving yards. Halloway leads the team with seven touchdowns among his team-best 40 catches. He has 482 receiving yards. Christian leads the way with 509 yards on 36 grabs. He has three TDs… Dixon and Connor Thompson have 65 and 62 tackles, respectively to lead the defense… The River Hawks are ninth in the CC on third downs, converting just 40 of 114 attempts (35 percent). They are, however, 15-for-24 on fourth downs. The 24 attempts are the most fourth-down attempts in the league and the 63-percent conversion is second in the CC.