Friday, October 29, 2010

The Friday Tailgate

Three weeks to go ... and three teams realistically remain in the chase for the Conference championship. Undefeated Ursinus goes on the road to Bethlehem looking for a measure of revenge against Moravian. One-loss Muhlenberg heads west to Carlisle to take on Dickinson, while two-loss Franklin & Marshall welcomes alumni and McDaniel to Lancaster.

Ursinus at Moravian
Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WSAN-AM 1470, Ursinus Sports Network.
This is the 13th time that the Bears (6-0 CC, 7-0) and the Greyhounds (4-3, 4-4) will meet on the gridiron since 1901. Moravian has won two straight to take a 7-4-1 overall lead. Ursinus has not won in Bethlehem since the 1982 season, losing in the only other game at Rocco Calvo Field in 2008. The 'Hounds knocked the Bears out of the Centennial playoff race last season, booting a late field goal for a 20-19 win in Collegeville. Ursinus is 7-0 for just the third time in school history, joining the 1902 and 1996 teams. The Bears are ranked 21st by the AFCA and 24th by QB Justin Decristofaro is fifth on the all-time UC passing chart with 4,193 yards. He was responsible for a school-record six TDs last week vs. McDaniel. WR Al Desiderio set a Conference single-game record with a 53.7 yard per catch average vs. the Terror (3-161). Moravian has won three of its last four starts after inserting starting safety Matt Johnson in at quarterback. Before Johnson took over at QB, the 'Hounds were averaging 64.0 yards rushing per game ... after ... 177.8. Moravian has 12 interceptions on the season and has taken four to the house. Can the 'Hounds pressure Decristofaro? Moravian is last in the Conference with six sacks on the season.

Muhlenberg at Dickinson
Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WDCV-FM 88.3, WMUH-FM 91.7.
The Mules (5-1, 5-2) and the Red Devils (2-4, 2-5) meet for the 66th time in a series that began in 1923. Muhlenberg has an 18-13-1 lead in games in Carlisle and a 38-25-2 lead overall. The teams have split the last four games, winning once at home and once on the road. 'Berg outgained Franklin & Marshall by over 140 yards last weekend, but suffered two blocked punts, including one that ended in a Diplomat touchdown in the defeat. RB Terrence Dandridge ran for 140 yards and a touchdown - his fifth 100-yard effort of the season - and has a CC-leading 697 yards on the year. QB Dan Deighan posted his third 200-yard passing day of the campaign with 220 vs. F&M. The Red Devils are 0-3 at home this season and will finish under .500 at Biddle Field for the first time since 2003. Dickinson has struggled in the third period this season and has been outscored, 83-27. RB Tim Smith is eighth in the CC in all-purpose yards (98.9 ypg). Muhlenberg is +7 in turnover margin, while Dickinson is -3.

McDaniel at Franklin & Marshall
Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WTTR-AM 1470. Video:
It's Homecoming at F&M as the Diplomats (4-2, 5-2) entertain alums and the Green Terror (3-3, 4-3). Franklin & Marshall has won six straight in the series to take a 25-16-2 all-time lead. McDaniel has a 9-13-2 record in Lancaster and has not won at Sponaugle-Williamson Field since 2003 (21-7). A Terror victory would equal McDaniel's win total from 2009 and guarantee a second consecutive non-losing season. DB Chris Kolb returned a blocked PAT for two points vs. Ursinus last week - something that has not been done by the Green and Gold since 2001. He also has a Centennial-leading seven interceptions. WR Matt Cahill needs six receptions to equal the program career record of 145 and has a 21-game streak with at least one catch. QB Tom Massucci had his streak of 159 pass attempts without a pick snapped vs. the Bears. Diplomat LB Sam Massaro blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the win at Muhlenberg. QB John Harrison became the school's first 6,000-yard passer and has 6,031 for his career. He has thrown for 62 career TDs and is six shy of the Conference all-time record of 68. An F&M win would ensure back-to-back winning season for the first time since 1995-96. The Diplomats lead the Conference in sacks (22).

Susquehanna at Gettysburg
Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WQSU-FM 89.7. Video:
It's a renewal of acquaintances after 88 years as the Crusaders (1-7, 1-7) and the Bullets (3-3, 4-3) meet at Shirk Field at Musselman Stadium. The last game between the school took place at the Battlefield in 1992 and Gettysburg's 46-6 victory gave the Orange and Blue a 4-3 series advantage. Despite 347 passing yards and two TDs from new starting QB Matt Lottes, Susquehanna dropped a 49-24 decision to Johns Hopkins last weekend. WR Mike Ritter, the CC's top receiver with 52 receptions, snared nine balls for 133 yards, while TE Matt Knause caught seven for 99 yards. This is the final CC game of the season for the Crusaders, who close the year next week at WPI. P Bobby Eppleman is the son of Gettysburg alum Dick Eppleman '79 - who holds the school record for longest field goal (48). Gettysburg ran for over 300 yards for the second straight week, amassing 304 vs. Dickinson for its third straight win. WR Brian Betley needs 65 receiving yards to become the fourth Bullet to gain over 1,500 yards in a career. Charles Curcio is 14 yards away from fifth place on the Centennial career kick return list (1,583).

Juniata at Johns Hopkins
Live Stats: Yes. Video:
The Eagles (0-7, 0-7) and the Blue Jays (4-2, 4-3) meet for just the fifth time in the series. Hopkins has taken all three games since Juniata joined the CC, while the Eagles captured the series opener in 1929 in Baltimore (7-0). Juniata is in the throes of a nine-game losing streak and enters the afternoon averaging 5.7 points on offense, while surrendering 40.0 points on defense. Six of the Eagles' seven opponents have a record of .500 or better and have a combined mark of 30-21 (.588). Juniata has 21 freshmen on its two-deep, including five starters. RB Derek Kramer is sixth in the Conference in rushing with 449 yards. Hopkins WR Sam Wernick tied a school and Conference record with four TD catches vs. Susquehanna. He snared seven passes for 250 yards on the day. QB Hewitt Tomlin is the third JHU and 10th Centennial quarterback to throw for more than 40 career scoring passes (41). His 19 career 200-yard performances is second in Conference annals. Hopkins' 515 total yards last week was the third-highest total in coach Jim Margraff's tenure. JHU is third nationally in red-zone offense (96.3).

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