Friday, November 05, 2010

The Friday Tailgate

Welcome to November football! It's time to crown a Centennial gridiron champion and Saturday's games will go a long way to identifying the Conference's best team and automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament. The top four teams in the CC match up against each other as Ursinus travels to Muhlenberg and Johns Hopkins visits Franklin & Marshall. Not to go unnoticed is the fact that the hottest team in the Centennial - Gettysburg - puts its four-game win streak on the line at McDaniel, while Dickinson visits Juniata. Finally, Susquehanna carries its new Conference banner into battle against a member of its old league - WPI of the Liberty League.

Ursinus at Muhlenberg
Video: Yes. Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WMUH-FM 91.7, Ursinus Sports Network.
The Bears (6-1 CC, 7-1) and the Mules (6-1, 6-2) meet for the 74th time in a series that dates to 1900. Muhlenberg holds 42-24-7 all-time lead, including a 24-11-5 advantage in Allentown. Ursinus broke a nine-game losing streak to 'Berg last year with a 24-10 win, but has not won at Scotty Wood Stadium since 1999 (35-23). The winner clinches at least a share of the Centennial championship. A Bear victory would give Ursinus the Conference's AQ to the NCAA tournament, while a Mule triumph, combined with a Hopkins win at F&M, would send Muhlenberg to the dance. Two of the top young RBs in the CC are on display in the Mules' Terrence Dandridge and the Bears' Bryan Ellis. Dandridge has rushed for over 100 yards in five straight games and is averaging a Centennial-best 111 yards per game. Ellis is third in the CC at 78.8 yards per outing and needs 120 yards in his final two games to break the school's all-time record for a freshman. Do you like defense? Ursinus and Muhlenberg rank in the top two in the Conference in six different defensive categories. The two squads also control the ball on offense, ranking in the top 25 nationally in time of possession.

Johns Hopkins at Franklin & Marshall
Video: Yes. Live Stats: Yes.
The Blue Jays (5-2, 5-3) and the Diplomats (5-2, 6-2) meet for the 62nd time in a series that began in 1912. F&M holds a 34-25-2 series lead and a 16-13 advantage in Lancaster. Hopkins has won 12 of the last 13 meetings and has not lost in Amish Country since 1996 (20-14). The winner of this game keeps their Conference title hopes alive, while it appears that only F&M can remain in the hunt for the NCAA tournament bid. It is the 1,000th game for the Blue Jays, who sport a 468-473-58 record since playing game No. 1 in 1882. Four other Centennial teams have played 1,000 games - F&M (1,086), Gettysburg (1,064), Dickinson (1,025) and McDaniel (1,009) - while Muhlenberg will play game No. 1,000 next Saturday. The Jays posted over 5000 yards of total offense again last week, marking the first time in 999 games that Hopkins has gone over 500 yards in back-to-back contests. WR Sam Wernick has set a Hopkins single-season record with 13 TD receptions. QB Hewitt Tomlin is the school's all-time leading passer with 6,702 yards. F&M ensured its first back-to-back winning seasons since 1995-96 with its dramatic win vs. McDaniel. The Diplomats have won the coin toss in seven of eight games in 2010. WR Jarrell Diggs is five catches away from 100 for his career. QB John Harrison is 18 pass attempts away from the College's career record.

Gettysburg at McDaniel
Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WTTR-AM 1470.
The Bullets (4-3, 5-3) and the Green Terror (3-4, 4-4) meet in the annual Route 97 battle. The teams' series began in 1891 and Gettysburg holds a 45-17-1 all-time edge, including a 14-8 advantage in Westminster. McDaniel has won five of the last six at Bair Stadium. The Orange and Blue has won four straight games - its longest since reeling off seven straight in 1994. QB Kyle Whitmoyer accounted for six TDs in the wild win vs. Susquehanna, throwing for five scores and running for another. The Bullets had only eight of 32 TDs through the air on the year prior to last week. Gettysburg leads the Conference in rushing, total and scoring offense. It's Homecoming in Westminster and the Terror is 52-23-1 in front of its alums. WR Matt Cahill needs one reception to set the school's career catch record and 121 yards to reach 2,000. Freshman RB Joe Rollins rushed for 124 yards on just 13 carries vs. F&M. The loss in Lancaster last weekend was the first time in 21 games that McDaniel failed to hold a fourth-quarter lead.

Dickinson at Juniata
Live Stats: Yes.
The Red Devils (2-5, 2-6) and the Eagles (0-8, 0-8) meet for the 22nd time in a series that began in 1921. Dickinson has a seven-game win streak and holds a 13-8 all-time advantage. Juniata's last win was a 26-9 triumph in Carlisle in 2002 - the first game in the series since 1956 - the Eagles' last victory in Huntingdon (44-13). Turnovers have hurt both teams this season, as Dickinson (-3) and Juniata (-14) are eight and 10th, respectively, in the CC in turnover margin. Devil PK Gordon Craig is third on the all-time Centennial list with 34 field goals. RB Tim Smith needs 315 rushing yards in his final two games to reach 2,000 for his career. Juniata has dropped 10 straight games and has been kept out of the end zone in six of its last eight contests. WR Julian Valdiserri leads the team with 22 catches for 244 yards. RB Derek Kramer has 449 rushing yards and a 4.3 yard per carry average.

Susquehanna at WPI
Live Stats: Yes. Audio: WQSU-FM 88.9.
The Crusaders (1-8, 1-8) close out their 2010 season with a trip to Massachusetts to take on the Engineers (3-5) in a matchups between old Liberty League foes. Susquehanna scored the most points it has in six years but came up on the short end of a 61-50 loss at Gettysburg. The 111 combined points fell short of the school record, set in a 1998 victory against Juniata (62-61). WR Mike Ritter is second in the CC in catches (59) and yards (862) and needs 138 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. He would become just the second SU player to amass a grand in a year, joining Mark Bartosic who did it all four years from 2000-03. PK Bobby Eppleman is a perfect 8-of-8 on field goal tries. The last time Susquehanna won just one game in a season was 1978.

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