Washington & Jefferson at Westminster (Pa.) Game Notes
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - The game notes for the Westminster College football team's Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) home game vs. Washington & Jefferson on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. are now online. The notes are best viewed in .pdf format by clicking here.
WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE PRESIDENTS
WESTMINSTER COLLEGE TITANS
Saturday, Oct. 1 - 1 p.m.
Harold Burry Stadium - New Wilmington, Pa.
Radio: WWNW-FM 88.9 (www.titanradio.net)
TV: WCN, Replay on Monday at 7 p.m. (www.wcnlive.com)
Live Stats: click here
Westminster (2-1, 1-0 PAC) comes off a bye week looking to improve to 3-1 for the first time since 2007. The Titans are ranked third in the PAC and 55th nationally in total defense by allowing 291.3 yards per game. Westminster's offense is last in the PAC at 195.3 yards per game (44 yards fewer than any other PAC team and 254 fewer than PAC-leader W&J). The Titans have 13 returning starters including senior QB Shawn Lehocky who did not play two weeks ago because of an injury. Junior WR Geno Pasquinelli is the PAC's leading receiver with seven catches per game. Junior S Kyle Allen is a third-year starter who has two interceptions this year and he ranks third on the team with 20 tackles.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON
Washington & Jefferson (2-2, 1-1 PAC) is coming off a 35-32 loss to No. 8-ranked and three-time PAC champion Thomas More last week. Since its last losing season in 1983, W&J has only lost consecutive games within the same season twice (both in 1997). First-year starting sophomore QB Matt Bliss pilots W&J's offense that leads the PAC with 449.5 yards per game. Bliss averages 279.5 passing yards (1,118 yards, 9 TDs, 4 Ints.) and his favorite targets are sophomore Alex Baroffio (26 for 440, 4 TDs) and senior Adam Dominick (24 for 336, 2 TDs) who rank second and third in the PAC with 6.5 and 6.0 receptions per game. Senior LB Neil Sorice and junior DB Nathan Melhorn rank first and third in the PAC with 10.8 and 9.8 tackles per game.
TITANS' LAST GAME
Westminster never trailed in its PAC opener as the Titans won 25-20 at Grove City Sept. 17. The Titans led 25-13 entering the fourth quarter. Junior WR Geno Pasquinelli caught seven passes for 85 yards with a career high-tying two touchdown receptions from 12 and 40 yards. Pasquinelli snared touchdown passes from two different quarterbacks for Westminster's first two touchdowns of the game. Starting sophomore QB Zach Hoffman and sophomore reserve Tommy Turnbull replaced injured starter Shawn Lehocky. Hoffman was 8-of-12 passing for 124 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also rushed for 21 yards including a 2-yard sneak for a touchdown that gave Westminster a 25-13 lead. That touchdown was set up by junior DB Kyle Allen whose seventh career interception was returned 37 yards to the Grove City 2-yard line. Turnbull was 9-of-10 passing for 94 yards and a touchdown. Senior DE Ryan Brucker posted a career-high 10 tackles including a forced fumble and sack on the last play of the game.
Westminster seventh-year head coach Jeff Hand is 24-39 (.381) as the Titans' coach and 61-63 (.492) for his 13-year career, which includes two other head-coaching jobs (Benedictine (Ill.), Waynesburg). A 1992 Clarion graduate, Hand's best season was in 2003 when he guided Waynesburg to the PAC championship and an NCAA playoff appearance with a 9-2 record. W&J ninth-year coach Mike Sirianni, a 1994 Mount Union grad, is 81-16 for a .835 winning percentage that ranks third amongst all active NCAA football coaches (FBS, FCS, DII, DIII) with at least five years of experience.
Of Westminster's 13 all-time opponents that it has played at least 15 times, W&J and Pitt are the only teams with winning records vs. the Titans. W&J leads the all-time series 30-2 which dates back to 1894. W&J has won 10 straight since Westminster last beat the Presidents, 19-17, in 2000 when the Titans were in their first year as an NCAA Division III provisional member. W&J has outscored the Titans by an average of 48.4-11.4 (339-80) in the last seven meetings dating back to 2004.
Westminster has 13 returning starters, not including senior WR John Baummer who started two years ago. Of those 14 players, one is a fourth-year starter in senior P Andrew Clark and two are third-year starters in junior S Kyle Allen and senior CB Jordon Rooney. The other 11 are second-year starters but there are also five additional players who have started at least one game entering the 2011 season. Rooney, Allen, senior QB Shawn Lehocky and senior RT Adam Fueller are the only returners who started all 10 games last year and Rooney holds the team's longest start streak at 23 games followed by Allen (15) and Fueller (14).
PASSING TO PASQUINELLI
Junior WR Geno Pasquinelli, a second team all-PAC pick last year, is the PAC's leading receiver with 7.0 receptions per game (21 for 196 yards, 2 TDs) and his 65.3 receiving yards per game rank fifth in the league. Pasquinelli's 7.0 reception average is also tied for 28th in the nation. Pasquinelli has caught at least five passes in each of his last 10 games, which is the longest such streak in team history. He tied a career high with eight receptions (for 65 yards) vs. Lycoming and he tied a career high with two touchdown receptions at Grove City before finishing with seven catches for 85 yards. Last year, he ranked second in the PAC with 5.3 receptions per game and fifth with 57.1 receiving yards per game despite not starting until the fifth game of the season because of an injury. His career high for receiving yards is 129 (on 6 catches) vs. Bethany last year. Pasquinelli tied a school record in 2010 with a five-game touchdown reception streak and his six total touchdowns led the team.
ALL IN WITH ALLEN
Junior S Kyle Allen is tied for the PAC lead with 0.67 interceptions per game (2 for 45 yards) and he ranks eighth in the league in kick return average (16.2) and 17th with 20 tackles. Allen, a second-team all-PAC pick as a return specialist last year, led the PAC and ranked 42nd in the nation with a 24.7 kickoff return average last year. He has seven career interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown last year. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown last year to become the first Titan since two-time All-American Aldridge Jones in 1991 to return an interception and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same season.
LEHOCKY THE LEADER
Senior QB Shawn Lehocky moved into eighth place on Westminster's career passing list as his 68 yards on 10-21 passing vs. Lycoming gave him 2,937 yards, moving him ahead of Steve Kraus who threw for 2,910 yards from 1975-78. Lehocky needs 63 yards to become the eighth 3,000-yard passer in team history and 344 yards to tie Rich Edder (1980-83) for seventh place with 3,281 yards. In two games this year (he missed one with an injury), Lehocky has thrown for 171 yards on 26-46 passing. Lehocky ranked fifth in the PAC last year with 172.6 passing yards per game (155-293 for 1,726, 14 TDs, 16 Ints.). He's also a rushing threat. As a platoon quarterback in 2009, he rushed for 446 yards and seven TDs including a career-high 112 yards and a career-high two rushing scores vs. Waynesburg to become the team's first-ever quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game. Lehocky's other career highs are 256 passing yards (Saint Vincent, 2010), 20 completions (Grove City, Thomas More, 2010), 40 pass attempts (Grove City), 3 passing touchdowns (Bethany, 2010; Waynesburg, 2009), 3 interceptions (Grove City, 2010) and 19 rushing attempts (Waynesburg, 2010).
Sophomore K Zac Henry leads the PAC and ranks 15th nationally with 1.33 field goals per game. He is a perfect 4-for-4 including field goals from 22, 24, 34 and 21 yards, the latter two at Grove City. A first-year starter, Henry is 5-for-9 for his career including a 44-yarder at Geneva last year.
TURNING THE TIDE
One big difference between the 2010 and 2011 Titans: turnover margin. The Titans' +3 turnover margin (+1.0 per game) ranks second in the PAC and 40th in the nation. Last year, the Titans absorbed a minus-16 turnover margin which ranked last in the PAC and 226th out of 236 Division III teams. This year, Westminster tied a school record with five fumble recoveries against Hiram. Only two other times in team history have the Titans recovered five fumbles: Nov. 18, 1989 in a 29-9 home playoff win over Georgetown (Ky.) and Nov. 15, 1986 in a 14-7 loss at Clarion.
GROVE CITY AWARD-WINNERS
Senior DL Ryan Brucker was named PAC Defensive Player of the Week for the Grove City game Sept. 17 to become the first Titan to receive the award since 2008. The Westminster coaching staff also released its Grove City game awards. Scout team players of the week were freshman WR/LS Ed Domitrovich (offense) and freshman DL Mark Eck (defense). "Mental Attitude" honors went to sophomore QBs Tommy Turnbull and Zach Hoffman. Junior S Kyle Allen got the "Big Hit" as well as defensive MVP honors, while junior WR Geno Pasquinelli was the offensive MVP and senior P Andrew Clark was the special teams MVP.
- Westminster is 11-7 in its last 18 home games and 4-14 in its last 18 road games.
- Westminster is 2-1 for the first time since 2008 as it looks to join the 2007, 2000, 1997, 1996 teams and every team from 1986-94 to win at least three of their first four games in the last 25 years.
- W&J has won 64 of its last 70 PAC games with its last four PAC losses coming against Thomas More, one vs. Thiel in 2005, and a 2003 loss to a Waynesburg team that was coached by current Westminster head coach Jeff Hand.
- Westminster's four captains as voted by the players for the 2011 season are senior DL Ryan Budziszewski, senior OL Adam Fueller, senior QB Shawn Lehocky, a second year captain, and senior CB Jordon Rooney.
- Senior DL Ryan Brucker leads the team with 3.5 tackles for loss and he is tied for the team lead with 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble.
- Junior RB John Proano is the Titans' leading rusher with 47 carries for 98 yards including 19 for 43 and a career-high two touchdowns in the win over Hiram.
- Junior RB John Proano rushed for 100+ yards twice last year including a career-high 123 yards on 23 carries at Hiram as he became the eighth Titan since 1992 with at least two 100-yard games.
- Since Westminster beat Geneva, 12-7, in 2001 with 53 total yards, two of the Titans' three lowest offensive games have occurred this season (176 vs. Hiram 9/3/11; 153 vs. Thiel 10/22/05; 89 vs. Lycoming 9/10/11).
- The Titans held Hiram to just 188 total yards, the fewest against any team since they held Hiram to 107 yards in a 38-7 win in 2005.
- Junior LB Derrick Orloski had two sacks for seven yards vs. Hiram marking the seventh time since 2005 that a Titan player had two or more sacks in a game.
- Westminster is 11-4 since 2007 when it has a player rush for 100 yards or more in a game.
- Since 2004, the Titans are 10-1 when they rush for 200 yards (only loss was last year's season finale at Geneva).
- Westminster was picked eighth in the 2011 PAC preseason poll and three-time defending champion Thomas More is once again the favorite.
- Westminster's returning all-PAC players from 2010 are junior WR Geno Pasquinelli, junior S Kyle Allen (as a returner specialist) and junior OLB Aaron Nauer, all of which earned second-team honors.
Westminster has a 71% winning percentage since 1952 (400-158-10), including 47 winning seasons, 11 undefeated regular seasons, and six national championships (NAIA Division II 1970, '76, '77, '88, '89, and '94). Westminster has an all-time record of 574-402-54 (.583) and its 574 wins are tied for ninth with St. John's (Minn.) amongst current NCAA Division III programs. Westminster also has four representatives enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind. They include QB Harold Davis (1953-56) in the Class of 2004, coach Joe Fusco (1972-90) in the Class of 2001, OG/LB Larry Pugh (1961-64) in the Class of 1998, and coach Harold Burry (1952-71) in the inaugural non-NCAA Division I Class of 1996.
TITANS ON THE RADIO
All Westminster football games, home and away, are carried live on WWNW 88.9 FM throughout Lawrence County at 4,000 watts and live and archived on the Internet at titanradio.net and westminster.edu/athletics. Calling the action will be Dr. Dave Barner on play-by-play, along with Westminster senior Marshall Cupelli as color analyst. New for the 2011 season, fans can listen to broadcasts on their smart phones or mobile devices by downloading a free application online at tunein.com/mobile. Once linked, listeners can access Titan Radio by typing "WWNW" or "Titan Radio" in the application search box and those who live locally can already see the station under the local radio tab.
TITANS ON TV
The Westminster Cable Network (WCN) will telecast all home games live on television and on an online video stream at wcnlive.com with archived games available online. All games, home and away, will be televised on a tape-delay basis on Mondays at 7 p.m. Games can be seen on Armstrong Cable (Channel 72 (basic) in New Wilmington; Channel 204 in Grove City, Mercer and Slippery Rock -- basic-only users in that area tune to 92-12), and on Comcast Cable (Channel 183 in Lawrence County). Westminster senior Bradford Arick will call the play-by-play with former Titan football coach Scott Renninger for home games. Head coach Jeff Hand also appears on the WCN show "Coaches Corner" that airs Thursday and Friday evenings at 7 p.m.
TITANS ON THE BLOG
Senior QB Shawn Lehocky writes a weekly diary that can be found on the Titan Sports Blog at westminster.edu/athletics/blog.cfm.