Sophomore running back Joe Rollins tied the McDaniel College school record with 311 yards on 26 carries including three touchdowns, and freshman quarterback Nick Valori threw a touchdown pass in his first career start to lead McDaniel to a 35-14 win over Moravian College in the 2011 Centennial Conference opener Saturday at Scott Bair Stadium.
McDaniel improves to 1-1 overall and 1-0 in Centennial Conference while the Greyhounds fall to 0-2 on the year and 0-1 in conference action. Moravian will play its first home game of the season next Saturday, September 17th when the Greyhounds host Johns Hopkins University at Rocco Calvo Field at 2:00 p.m.
Moravian received the opening kickoff and junior wide receiver Rocco Del Priore had a 46-yard kickoff to set the Greyhound offense up at its own 47-yard line. Junior quarterback Matt Johnson hit sophomore wide receiver Vince Reed with a 28-yard pass on the opening play, and Moravian would move down to the McDaniel seven-yard line. Senior Ian Heck came on to attempt a 23-yard field goal attempt that was blocked by Green Terror junior linebacker Diego Weiner with 11:59 left in the first quarter.
McDaniel was unable to move the ball on its first possession of game and punted. The Greyhounds would also punt after three plays on their second drive.
Facing a third-and-six on the next drive, Green Terror Valori found sophomore wide receiver Nick O'Melia with a short pass, and O'Melia broke a tackle and went 68 yards for a touchdown. Senior Jake Nichols added the extra-point to give McDaniel a 7-0 lead with 6:39 remaining in the first quarter.
Del Priore returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards to set the Greyhounds' up at the Green Terror 45-yard line but Moravian would punt after three plays.
McDaniel ran three plays before a punt; however, the Green Terror would get the ball back three plays later when junior defensive back Tim McLister intercepted a Johnson pass at the Moravian 35-yard line.
Rollins would extend the McDaniel's lead with a 14-yard touchdown run. Nichols' PAT gave the Green Terror a 14-0 lead with 10:06 before the intermission.
Moravian answered with its first touchdown of the season on the next drive. Junior running back Joe Tegan would get the Greyhounds into the red zone with a 48-yard run. Four plays later on a fourth-and-goal at the one, junior running back C.J. Billera, who transferred to Moravian from McDaniel this season, scored off the left side for the Greyhounds. Heck added the extra-point to cut McDaniel's lead to 14-7 with 6:55 left in the second quarter.
McDaniel needed just 49 seconds to get back on the score board on a two-play, 52-yard drive with 41 and 11-yard runs by Rollins, the second one getting into the end zone. Nichols' extra-point extended the Green Terror lead to 21-7 with 6:06 to go before halftime.
Johnson hit senior tight end Mike Zanoni with a 20-yard pass to move the ball into McDaniel territory on Moravian's next possession but McLister intercepted Johnson two plays later. The Greyhound defense would hold including a tackle for loss by senior defensive lineman Allen Petros to tie the Moravian school career record with 44.5 tackles for loss to force the Green Terror to punt.
Moravian took over at its own 30-yard line with 1:39 left in the second quarter. Johnson had a 17-yard run on the first play of the drive, and he hit Del Priore with a 19-yard pass to move down to the McDaniel 30-yard line; however, Moravian would punt to end the first half.
McDaniel needed just three plays after the opening kickoff of the second half to extend its lead. Rollins started the drive with a 63-yard run, and Valori scored on a four-yard push through the line. Nichols made the Green Terror lead, 28-7, at the 13:36 mark of the third quarter.
The Greyhounds picked up a first down on a 25-yard on a pass from Johnson to Billera but Moravian eventually punted with junior punter Tyler Thompson pinning McDaniel on its own one-yard line.
Valori connected with O'Melia with a 34-yard pass on the first play out of the end zone but Moravian forced McDaniel into fourth-and-one. The Green Terror lined up to punt near midfield but did a direct snap to junior defensive back Kevin White, who picked up eight yards and a first down. However, after a sack and another tackle for loss by Petros would force McDaniel to punt.
Moravian would move get into Green Terror territory on a pair of rushing first downs from Johnson before back-to-back sacks forced the Greyhounds into a punt.
Rollins scored again on a 72-yard touchdown run on the third play of McDaniel's drive. Nichols made the extra-point to put the Green Terror ahead, 35-7, with 1:53 to go in the third quarter.
After a touchback on the McDaniel kickoff, the Greyhounds went 80 yards in five plays to score. Johnson started the drive with a 13-yard run before hitting senior wide receiver Ray Olivo with a 48-yard pass to get in the red zone. On a third down play, Johnson pulled down the ball and scampered 16 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter. Heck added the extra-point to set the score at 35-14 McDaniel to start the fourth quarter.
The Greyhounds would force McDaniel into a punt after three plays but Johnson was stripped by senior defensive lineman Sam Cox to give the Green Terror the ball back near midfield.
Moravian would get the ball back when junior defensive back Rees Judge intercepted Valori at the Moravian 20-yard line and returned the ball 20 yards. However, four plays later, Cox would strip Johnson again to give McDaniel the ball back at midfield.
On the second play, Moravian junior linebacker Luke Trexler forced Rollins to fumble, and junior defensive back Travis King scooped up the ball and returned it to the Green Terror 25-yard line. The Greyhounds were unable to move the ball and turned it over on downs.
McDaniel moved into Moravian territory before punting off to the Greyhounds with just over three minutes left in the game. King had a 24-yard punt return to put Moravian on its own 46-yard line. The Greyhounds eventually turned the ball over on downs before the Green Terror knelt down to run out the clock.
Valori was seven-for-nine for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception to lead the McDaniel offense while O'Melia had two catches for 102 yards. McDaniel ran 56 plays for 436 yards in the game.
The Greyhound offense had 73 plays for 370 yards with Johnson completing 16-of-31 passes for 220 yards with two interceptions, and he ran for 58 yards on 23 carries. Tegan contributed 52 yards on two carries while Billera had 21 yards and a touchdown on ten attempts. Olivo caught six passes for 73 yards while Zanoni had three receptions for 35 yards.
Sophomore defensive back Matt Smith and Trexler each had seven tackles to lead the Moravian defense while junior linebacker Jake Hildebrand had six stops with one and a half sacks in the game. Petros finished with five tackles including three for loss to push his school record to 46.5 tackles for loss in his career, and he added one and a half sacks. Senior linebacker Stephen Kircher also had five tackles for the Greyhounds.
Sophomore linebacker Michael Cousar led the McDaniel defense with a game high ten tackles including a sack while Cox contributed nine tackles with five sacks, six tackles for loss and a pair of forced fumbles. McLister also added nine tackles with two interceptions while junior linebacker Zach Martin had five tackles for the Green Terror.