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OPENING KICKOFF: Today's Centennial Conference (CC) game marks the 19th 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 four meetings on the field to take an 11-7 lead in the all-time series although they later vacated the 2015 victory. The Green Terror last won 43-42 in Selinsgrove in 2013.
WHEN LAST WE MET: Susquehanna scored the final 20 straight points to defeat McDaniel 33-10 last Saturday. Matt Schleifer (Brick, N.J./Brick Twp.) led the Green Terror with six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. He also added 87 return yards to finish with 164 all-purpose yards on the day. Cameron Ott led the River Hawks with 19 carries for 138 yards and three scores. He also caught three passes out of the backfield for 48 yards.
LAST TIME OUT: Ursinus scored the game's first 23 points en route to a 30-14 victory over McDaniel last Saturday. Isaac Murray (Columbia, Md./Atholton) ran the ball 24 times for 137 yards. Samuel Ragland put up 244 all-purpose yards, rushing for 113 and a touchdown. He also grabbed four passes for 104 yards and two scores.
LEADING THE WAY: Paul Flagg (Williamstown, N.J./Williamstown), Markos Katrakazis (Broomall, Pa./Marple Newtown), Angelo Payne (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) and Jared Staub (Union Bridge, Md./Francis Scott Key) will captain the squad in 2018. All four seniors are first-time captains.
THANK YOU, SENIORS!: Today marks the final home game for as many as 27 McDaniel seniors. Of those 27 players, no fewer than 18 have been a starter during their tenure with the Green Terror. Each has seen significant time over their careers. The group has been instrumental in helping guide the team to nine wins over the last three seasons.
BLOCK PARTY: For the second time this season, the Green Terror blocked multiple kicks in the same game. In its last home game against Dickinson, McDaniel was able to block three punts. On Saturday against Urisnus, Angelo Payne (Baltimore, Md./Western Tech) blocked the first Bear PAT before Anthony Crawley (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College) blocked a field goal in the second quarter. It was the Green Terror's first blocked field goal since 2013.
HOME COOKING: Matt Cathey (Brick, N.J./Brick Memorial) rushed for his 14th career touchdown on Saturday. The senior has found the end zone four times this season, which is tied for tops on the team. However, Cathey has scored 10 of those 14 touchdowns at Gill Stadium. All three of his multiple-touchdown games have come at home, including against Dickinson earlier this season.
HITTING THE CENTURY MARK: A week ago, Isaac Murray rushed for his first career 100-yard game at Muhlenberg. Just seven days later, he made it back-to-back 100-yard outings. A week after netting 138 yards on the ground, he rushed for 137 yards against Ursinus for the first back-to-back 100-yard weeks since Matt Cathey opened 2017 with back-to-back 100-yard performances.
SHORT FIELD WOES: Overall, opponents are averaging a starting field position of the 34.3-yard line against McDaniel this season. However, the defense has been forced to start in plus-territory on 16 occasions, including 10 times in the last four games. Of those 16 dives in which opponents have had fewer than 50 yards to reach the end zone, six have resulted in touchdowns and one additional drive has resulted in a field goal, including five touchdowns and a field goal in the last three contests. In total, the defense has allowed 21 touchdowns in 114 opponent possessions, or just 18.4 percent overall compared to 37.5 percent of time when opponents start in plus territory.
BOOTING IT: Joey Cornwell (Rockville, Md./Rockville) enters this week averaging a conference-best 39.2 yards per punt. He has a CC-high 56 punts and unfurled his second punt of 60 yards or longer on Saturday. He has dropped 15 punts inside the 20 and forced 13 fair catches. Opponents have only attempted to return 18 punts against the punt coverage team, resulting in a net punting average of 33.4 yards. His 44.3-yard-per-punt average last week was a season best by nearly three full yards per punt.
TERROR TIDBITS: Last week was the first time this season that McDaniel lost a game in which it kicked off and won the time of possession battle… The Green Terror has allowed more than 400 yards in each of the last two games after not allowing more than 333 in any of the first six contests.
COACHES' CORNER: Mike Dailey is in his third season at the helm of the Green Terror. He enters today's game with a 9-19 record, going 3-7 in his each of his first two campaigns 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 one season coordinating the pass game and working specifically with the wide receivers… Tom Pertkovich is in his fourth season at the helm of the River Hawks, entering today with a record of 24-15. He became Susquehanna's 30th coach in 2015 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
THE WORD ON SUSQUEHANNA: The River Hawks enter today's game off a 27-9 win over Gettysburg last Saturday. Susquehanna outgained the Bullets 226-167 on the day. Trailing 3-0 early, the River Hawks capitalized on two short fields. A bad snap on a punt gave Susquehanna the ball at the Gettysburg 1. Two plays later, Aaron Speight scored on a one-yard run with 39 seconds left in the first quarter. A fumble gave the River Hawks the ball at the Bullet 42 and four plays later, Michael Ruisch scored on a 13-yard scamper for a 14-3 lead with 11:50 to play in the third quarter… Cole Dixon was named CC Co-Defensive Player of the Week after racking up 19 tackles, including eight solo stops, a sack and forced fumble on Saturday… As a unit, Susquehanna forced four Gettysburg fumbles last Saturday. The River Hawks entered Week 8 with three fumble recoveries in the first seven games… Speight leads the team with 496 yards rushing and eight touchdowns… Ruisch, in addition to running for 185 yards and four scores this year, is 135-for-260 through the air. He has thrown for 1,647 yards and 13 touchdowns. His 205.9 yards passing per game is fourth in the CC while his 13 TDs ranks third… Mitch Carsley has been the favored target this season with 37 grabs for 673 yards. He has six touchdowns… Dixon currently leads the conference at 11.5 tackles per game. He has 93 stops, including 10.5 for loss and 4.5 sacks. He also has seven pass breakups and three forced fumbles… Susquehanna has played four overtime games this season, posting a 2-2 record in those games.