September 19, 2012

W&J-Thiel Game Notes

More news about: Washington and Jefferson

Washington & Jefferson College Presidents (2-1, 1-0 PAC) at Thiel College Tomcats (1-2, 1-0 PAC)

Sat., Sept. 22, 2012 – Greenville, Pa.

Time:  1:30 pm

Site: Alumni Stadium (1,000)

Series:  W&J leads 41-22-2

Series Streak: +6 W&J

Audio: WJPA (1450-AM); http://www.wjpa.com/sports.htm

Live Stats: http://www.sidearmstats.com/thiel/football/scoreboard.aspx

Last Meeting: W&J 21, THI 7 -- 11/5/2011

First Meeting: W&J 54, THI 0 -- 10/17/1896

Last W&J Win: W&J 21, THI 7 -- 11/5/2011

Last THI Win: THI 38, W&J 35 (OT) -- 10/1/2005

Last W&J Win at THI: W&J 47, THI 14 -- 11/6/2010

Last THI Win at THI: THI 17, W&J 0 -- 10/25/1980

THE SERIES:  Washington & Jefferson travels to Thiel for the 66th meeting all-time with the Tomcats.  W&J has won the last six in the series by an average margin of 19.5 points. The Presidents have won 13-straight games in Greenville dating back to 1980 and have outscored Thiel 479-128 in those victories. 

THE HEAD COACHES: Mike Sirianni (Mount Union '94) owns an 87-19 (.821) record at W&J in his 10th season as the  head coach.  The three-time PAC Coach of the Year and 2004 South Region Coach of the Year is fifth among all active NCAA head coaches in winning percentage (minimum five years of experience).  Kurt Reiser (Allegheny '93) is in the middle of his fourth season as the Tomcats' head coach. Reiser, who owns a 4-29 record (.121), spent the previous eight seasons as an assistant on the Thiel coaching staff and in 2005 helped the Tomcats to their first conference title since 1972.

W&J vs. THE PAC:  W&J has amassed a 256-84-4 (.753) all-time record against current members of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.  Washington & Jefferson has claimed 22 PAC Championships throughout history.  The Presidents have won 69 of their last 76 conference games.

Bethany (68-20)             

Geneva (38-19-2)            

Grove City (35-13) 

Saint Vincent (4-1)      

Thiel (41-22-2)

Thomas More (3-4)

Waynesburg (36-3)

Westminster (31-2)

THE LAST MEETING {W&J 21, THI 7 -- 11/5/11}:  The Washington & Jefferson defense limited Thiel to 175 total yards, including only 28 in the first half, during a 21-7 Presidents' Athletic Conference victory over the Tomcats last season at Cameron Stadium.  W&J scored the only touchdown of the first half on the first play of the second quarter as quarterback Matt Bliss connected with wide receiver Alex Baroffio for a six-yard scoring pass.  The play capped a six-play, 44-yard drive.  Bliss was forced out of the game with an injury on the next W&J possession and senior quarterback Taylor Hockman took over for the remainder of the game. W&J scored its second touchdown on its first drive of the third quarter as a run-dominated 79-yard drive culminated with running back Tim McNerney's third-yard scoring jaunt.  W&J rushed 11 times on the 13-play drive which took 7:09 off the clock. After Thiel's 10th punt of the game, W&J strung together a 10-play, 45-yard drive to go ahead by three touchdowns.  Hockman threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to wideout Brandon Trefelner.  The touchdown was the first in both players' careers through the air. Thiel ended the shutout bid with a 17-play, 79-yard drive at the start of the fourth quarter.  Jared Soell passed three yards to Nate Blazevich for the Tomcats' first touchdown with 8:09 remaining.  Thiel got the ball back two more times, but senior defensive end Frank Gigler ended both drives of fourth-down plays, one with a sack and another on a deflected pass. McNerney rushed 26 times for 89 yards to lead the W&J ground attack.  Hockman completed 13-of-18 passes for 94 yards, while Bliss was 8-of-12 for 108 yards before leaving the game.  Baroffio caught seven passes for 67 yards. Senior linebacker Mitch Rose paced the defense with seven stops, while classmate Neil Sorice had six tackles, including two for a loss.  Safety B.J. Monacelli also intercepted a pass.  W&J held Thiel leading rusher De'Von Drish to 10 yards on 11 carries.  W&J outgained Thiel 338-175 and used a 20-11 first-down advantage.  Soell completed 16-of-45 passes for 135 yards for the Tomcats, who have lost 21 consecutive games.  Tim Taylor was a force on defense with a game-high 15 tackles and a pair of sacks.

SCOUTING THIEL:  The Tomcats ended a 24-game losing streak by defeating Geneva 21-14 in overtime last Saturday.  Thiel was set up for a potential game-winning field goal attempt, but a bad snap forced it to abandon the play. Placekicker Cody McClelland grabbed the loose ball and sent a pass into the end zone where it was caught by tight end Berend Grube for the go-ahead score.  Geneva was unable to reach the end zone on the ensuing possession. Second-quarter touchdown runs by Josh Potter and Andrew Smith sent Thiel to the locker rooms at halftime with a 14-0 lead. The Golden Tornadoes answered with a pair of scores during the third quarter to send the game to overtime. Smith accumulated a season-high 165 yards passing, while Jack Sindlinger paced the defense with 12 tackles, including one sack.  The Tomcats lead the PAC and rank 17th in NCAA Division III with an average of 4.0 sacks per game.  Taylor leads the unit with three sacks (44th in nation at 1.0 spg).  The pass rush has helped Thiel own the 42nd-ranked scoring defense in the country, allowing only 15.7 points per game.  Junior Bill Frizzi is a dangerous kickoff returner for the Tomcats as he is sixth in the nation in yard per return average (34.5).  Turnovers have been a problem as TC has turned it over seven times, while only forcing one miscue. 

COVERING THE PRESIDENTS:  WJPA-AM (1450) once again serves as the official radio voice of Washington & Jefferson football.  Bob Gregg and Mark Uriah have the call every Saturday (home or away).  In addition, all W&J home contests can be watched live online at www.washjeffsports.tv.  The WJPA audio is part of the online broadcast.  Audio only online broadcasts are available at www.msasports.com.  The Presidents' streak of 28-straight winning seasons started in 1984, the first year the Gregg-Uriah broadcasting duo started covering W&J.

TAMING THE CATS: W&J has won six straight and 29 of its last 30 against Thiel dating back to 1980.  During those 29 victories, only six games have been decided by less than 10 points and the Presidents have held the Tomcats to seven points or less on 16 occasions, including six shutouts.

ON DEFENSE:  Seniors Nathan Melhorn and John Hunter lead the Presidents and rank 13th in the PAC with 21 tackles.  Melhorn has 125 career tackles in 24 games, while Hunter has already tripled his career total entering this season.

GOOD HANDS: Wide receiver Alex Baroffio is off to a fast start to his junior season with 33 catches through three games.  His 11.0 reception per game average ranks second among all NCAA Division III wide receivers, while he also ranks among the top 50 in yards per game (40th; 96.0 ypg) and receiving yards (28th; 288).  Baroffio has raised his career reception total to 133 last week, putting him 39 behind W&J Hall of Famer Ryan Silvis '01 for fifth place on the all-time list.  He is the first player in school history to have 100 receptions during his first two seasons on campus.     

QUICK ON HIS FEET:  Senior running back Tim McNerney ran for over 100 yards for the second time this season and the 10th of his career on Saturday against Grove City after accumulating 115 yards.  McNerney ranks 25th in NCAA Division III in rushing yards per game with 124.3.   He has scored at least one touchdown in 17 of his 25 career appearances.  

LEAN ON DION:  Junior running back Dion Wiegand rushed for his third collegiate touchdown on Saturday, an eight-yard run which gave the Presidents a 7-0 lead.  He has rushed for 87 yards on 19 carries this season and 210 yards overall since transferring from Robert Morris prior to last year. 

MAKING A STAND:  The W&J defense ranks second in the PAC and 43rd in nation in total defense under the guidance of second-year defensive coordinator Shawn Rohrer. The Presidents have held opponents 269.7 yards of total offense through three games. W&J has not allowed under 270 yards per game since 1998 (262.6).  

CONTROLLING THE BALL:  The Presidents have won the time of possession battle in all three games this season by an average of nearly eight minutes per contest. Since 2005, W&J has led its opponents in average time of possession every year except 2010.

EARLY RISERS:  The Presidents have not allowed a point during the first quarter in nine consecutive games.  Thomas More's 14 points in week four of last season marks the last time W&J allowed an opponent to score during the first 15 minutes.  In the 106 games with Mike Sirianni as head coach, W&J has outscored opponents on average by a 10.5-3.4 margin in the first quarter and has been held scoreless during the first 15 minutes only 14 times.  Thiel (week nine of 2011) is the last time to hold the Presidents without a point in the first quarter. 

KEY TO VICTORY:  W&J has won 11 consecutive games when committing one turnover or less.  The last time that the Presidents lost when turning the ball over only once was the 2010 season opener at Delaware Valley (27-0).  Since 2009, Washington & Jefferson has turned the ball over three or more times in a game on 12 occasions and holds a 4-8 record in those contests. 

QUICK KICK:  Junior Eric Eberle has provided a boost to the Presidents' special teams this season as he ranks 19th in NCAA Division III in field goals per game (1.0) and 87th in punting (36.1 ypp).  Eight of his 15 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line and two have sailed 50-plus yards. 

NFL TIES:  1984 Washington & Jefferson College graduate Joe Philbin picked up his first win as a NFL head coach on Sunday when leading the Miami Dolphins past the Oakland Raiders 35-13.  Chris Mosley, a 2001 W&J grad, also was a part of the victory as the Dolphins' assistant offensive line coach.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, named the fourth "Most Influential Person In Sports" in 2011 by Sports Business Journal, is a 1981 W&J graduate.  The Presidents' professional football roots date all the way back to the early 20th century as 1920 graduate Wilbur "Pete" Henry is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame after playing for the Canton Bulldogs (1920-26), New York Giants (1927) and Pottsville Maroons (1927-98).  1930 graduate and recent inductee into the W&J Athletic Hall of Fame Forrest "Jap" Douds was the first head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1933.

NIGHT FEVER:  W&J hosts Bethany next Saturday at 7:00 pm under the lights at Cameron Stadium.  Since the Presidents started playing regular home night games in 2003, W&J is 14-0 in games starting at 6:00 pm or later on its home turf.

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