Muskingum travels to Baldwin-Wallace in key OAC game

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NEW CONCORD, OHIO, October 26, 2011 - The Muskingum University football team travels to Baldwin-Wallace College this Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff in George Finney Stadium.

The game will be broadcast live on WMCO 90.7 FM and simulcast on the Muskingum Web Broadcasting Network located on the Muskingum athletic web site beginning with the pregame show at 1:15 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets and the Fighting Muskies have previously met 54 times on the gridiron with Baldwin-Wallace holding a 39-13-2 series lead, including a 27-16 victory a year ago at McConagha Stadium in New Concord.

The Muskies (4-3, 3-3), who lost 17-13 against Otterbein University last week, will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak that has been aided by 10 turnovers in their past three outings.

Baldwin-Wallace (6-1, 5-1) enters the outing after its 75-0 win at Wilmington College last Saturday which extended its season-best winning streak to four games. During that stretch, the Yellow Jackets have been averaging 34.8 points per game and allowing just 8.5 points.

Muskingum's defense continues to be a dominant force on the field. The Muskies rank second in NCAA Division III in sacks per game (4.6 spg), 12th in rushing defense (80.1 rypg), 21st in scoring defense (14.0 ppg) and 31st in total defense (275.9 ypg).

Overall, the Muskie defense has notched 55 tackles for loss, 32 sacks, eight interceptions and forced six fumbles en route to allowing just 14 points and 275.9 yards per game.
The hard-hitting unit is led by senior linebackers Alex Thomas and Ethan Wetzel.

Thomas leads the OAC in tackles averaging 11.6 stops per game. He also has logged eight tackles for loss, four sacks, recovered two fumbles, forced one fumble and notched one interception.

Wetzel ranks 10th in the conference averaging 8.4 hits per game, with four tackles for loss, one sack and has forced one fumble.

Both Thomas and Wetzel have been recognized for their outstanding play this season by being named OAC Defensive Players of the Week and being named to the D3Football.com National Team of the Week.

Also aiding the stout defense is senior safety Anthony Zarcone and junior defensive lineman Sean West. Zarcone ranks fourth in the league in passes defended with 10 and is fourth on the team in tackles with 36. West ranks second in the OAC in sacks with 5.5.

The Muskie offense, which is averaging 19 points and 308.1 yards per game, is led by sophomore quarterback Dalton Smith. Smith ranks fourth in the league in total offense averaging 208.7 yards per outing. He has thrown for 1,118 yards with five touchdowns and 12 interceptions and added 343 yards on 82 carries with five scores.

Senior running back Palmer Smith leads the rushing attack with 389 yards on 96 totes. He's averaging 4.1 yards per carry and ranks seventh in the league averaging 64.8 rushing yards per game. Also helping the ground game is sophomore running back Anthony Frye, who rushed for a career-best 120 yards with one touchdown on 16 carries last week against Otterbein.

The receivers are paced by sophomore James Washington and senior Brad Polaski. Washington leads the Muskies with 26 catches for 456 yards and two touchdowns. Washington ranks eighth in the league averaging 65.1 receiving yards per outing. Polaksi has grabbed 16 receptions for 136 yards. Senior wide out Antowan Logan has caught 14 passes for 200 yards and one score.

Muskingum special teams are paced by junior punter Danny Snively and junior kick returner Andrew Davis. Snively ranks third in the OAC averaging 39 yards per punt with 12 punts inside the 20. Davis is one of the top kick returners in the OAC averaging 27.3 yards per return.

Junior quarterback Ryan O'Rourke leads the Baldwin-Wallace offense which is averaging 394.7 yards and 29.7 points per game. O'Rourke ranks third in the OAC in passing yards with 1,349. He has thrown for 10 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Joining O'Rourke in the backfield is junior running back Tyler Lohr and freshman running back Willie Jackson. Lohr ranks third in the league averaging 94.6 rushing yards per game. On the season, Lohr has run for 662 yards and six touchdowns. Jackson has rushed for 423 yards and two scores. Jackson ranks eighth in the OAC averaging 60.4 rushing yards per game.

The receivers are led by sophomore Gabe Adams and senior tight end Aaron Hurd. Adams has 16 grabs for 265 yards and Hurd has 11 receptions for 179 yards and one score.

The Yellow Jacket defense, which ranks eighth in Division III in scoring defense (9.7 ppg), sixth in sacks (3.9 spg) and 34th in total defense (278 ypg), is led by senior defensive lineman Derron Hamilton and senior safety Ryan Dugan.

Hamilton leads the nation in sacks with 11 for 69 yards. Dugan ranks 14th in the OAC averaging 6.7 stops per outing.

Overall, Baldwin-Wallace's defense has recorded 53 tackles for loss, 27 sacks, recovered eight fumbles, forced eight fumbles and notched 15 interceptions.

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