#20 Washington & Jefferson (0-0) at #10 Delaware Valley
Doylestown, Pa. -- James Work Memorial Stadium (4,000)
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm
Surface: Heavy Weight Bluegrass Sod
Series: First meeting
Radio: WJPA (1450-AM)
Broadcaster: Bob Gregg
THE MATCHUP: 20th-ranked Washington & Jefferson and 10th-ranked Delaware Valley meet for the first time in history. The matchup is part of the "PAC-MAC Football Challenge Series". The two-year series between the Presidents' Athletic Conference and the Middle Atlantic Conference pits the top teams in each conference based on the 2009 final results. The 2010 host will go on the road for 2011.
THE HEAD COACHES: Mike Sirianni (Mount Union '94) enters his eighth season as the head coach at Washington & Jefferson with a 70-12 (.854) overall record. The three-time PAC Coach of the Year and 2004 South Region Coach of the Year is second among all active NCAA head coaches in winning percentage (minimum five years of experience). Head Coach Jim Clements (Widener '96) is in his fifth season with the Aggies. He holds a 31-13 (.705) overall record and has led DVC to a pair of conference titles. Last year, Delaware Valley advanced to the second round of the NCAA playoffs.
W&J vs. THE MAC: W&J owns a 7-5 (.676) all-time record against current members of the Middle Atlantic Conference. The Presidents last played a MAC team on Nov. 22, 2003, when defeating Wilkes 41-19 in the ECAC Southwest Bowl Game. The last regular-season MAC opponent for W&J was Widener (Sept. 19, 1992) and the Presidents earned a 35-0 victory in Chester, Pa. Below is a breakdown of W&J's all-time records versus MAC teams:
Delaware Valley (0-0)
Lebanon Valley (0-1)
SCOUTING DELAWARE VALLEY: The Aggies began their 2010 campaign with a 27-7 victory over Muhlenberg last Saturday. The Delaware Valley defense held the Mules to 203 yards of total offense, finished with four sacks and forced two turnovers. Senior quarterback Mark Hatty completed 15-for-26 passes for 143 yards and one score in his second career start. Wide receivers Dan Heiland and Chris Ruiz both caught five passes, while senior running back Matt Cook rushed for a 1-yard score early in the second quarter and scored on a 12-yard pass 28 seconds before the half ended. Cook, who is 231 yards shy of becoming DVC's all-time leading rusher, finished with 16 rushes for 69 yards and added another 24 yards on two receptions. Junior linebacker Chris James picked up a fumble and scored from 16 yards out for the second touchdown of the game. After Muhlenberg's next drive stalled, the Aggies converted on two third downs and a fourth down on their way to a 17-play, 89-yard drive that ended with Cook's receiving touchdown. Last season's Delaware Valley squad made a promising run, taking a 10-2 record and a second-straight MAC Championship into the NCAA playoffs, where they won easily in the first round 66-7 over Susquehanna. The win advanced the Aggies to a rematch of the MAC Championship Game with Albright in the second round. Delaware Valley, which routed Albright 45-16 just three weeks prior, was held out of the end zone in the rematch, losing 27-3. The Aggies' 2010 schedule is loaded with perennially strong programs as seven of the 10 opponents have reached the NCAA or ECAC playoffs during the past two seasons.
PRESEASON LAURELS: Washington & Jefferson was ranked in all three national Division III Top 25 preseason polls: The Sporting News (13th), USA Today Sports Weekly (19th), D3football.com (21st) and Lindy's College Football Annual (21st). Preseason All-America laurels were awarded to W&J senior free safety Craig Sedunov (Lindy's and Consensus Draft Preview). Delaware Valley was ranked as high as fifth in the Sporting News' Division III preview. DVC junior linebacker Kyle Gesswein was named to the magazine's preseason All-America Team as well as D3football.com's squad.
SOPHOMORE SET: W&J begins the season with a pair of sophomores ready to take the bulk of the carries in the backfield. Sophomores Brian Baldrige and Tim McNerney will split time at running back for the Presidents this season. Baldrige, who was used primarily in short-yardage situations, rushed for 300 yards and a team-high seven touchdowns in 10 games, while McNerney gained 16 yards in limited action.
ROCKY ROAD: The Presidents open the season on the road for only the third time since 2002. W&J defeated Oberlin 49-35 in its last road season opener in 2008. Washington & Jefferson has won five consecutive road season openers with the last loss coming at Emory & Henry 38-10 in 1997. The Presidents have opened on the road 40 times throughout history and hold an 19-19-1 record in those contests. Overall, W&J has posted an 84-32-2 record in season openers.
AERIAL ASSAULT: During the 11 years Mike Sirianni has been a member of the W&J football coaching staff, the Presidents have passed for 33,991 yards (248.1 ypg) and 341 touchdowns (2.5 tpg). W&J has posted a 107-30 record (.781) since his arrival on campus as offensive coordinator in 1999.
ELITE COMPANY: W&J Head Coach Mike Sirianni enters the 2010 season second on the NCAA's all-divisions active coaches win list. The list includes all coaches with at least five seasons at four-year colleges (regardless of division). Larry Kehres of Mount Union College leads the list with a .925 winning percentage in 24 years on the Purple Raiders' sideline. Sirianni, a former player and assistant coach under Kehres, is second with an .854 winning percentage in seven years. He joins Kehres and Mary Hardin-Baylor's Pete Fredenburg as the only Division III coaches to lead their teams to appearances in the last six NCAA playoffs.
2010 NCAA Winningest Active Coaches Top 10
Larry Kehres, Mount Union (289-22-3, .925)
Mike Sirianni, Washington & Jefferson (70-12, .854)
Urban Meyer, Florida (96-18, .842)
Bobby Hauck, UNLV (80-17, .825)
Joe Fincham, Wittenberg (126-30, .808)
Jeff McMartin, Central (Iowa) (53-13, .803)
Ken Sparks, Carson-Newman (287-70, .802)
Bob Stoops, Oklahoma (117-29, .801)
Rick Willis, Wartburg (95-24, .798)
Mike Whalen, Wesleyan (Conn.) (38-10, .792)
YEAR AFTER YEAR: The Presidents have notched 26 consecutive winning seasons which ranks as the 10th-best streak in Division III history and 16th among all NCAA or NAIA divisions. Only Linfield (54 years), Ithaca (38) and Mount Union (31) own longer active streaks among NCAA Division III schools.
RED, WHITE & BLUE: A total of 133 Presidents will suit up for the Red & Black Saturday versus Delaware Valley. The 2010 roster features players representing 11 different states, including 79 student-athletes from Pennsylvania. A total of 30 players are Ohio natives, while six hail from New York, five from Maryland and West Virginia and three from Florida. The remainder of the W&J roster is made up of players from Texas, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Connecticut and Virginia. Junior offensive lineman Cyrus Western traveled the furthest distance to campus (1,628 miles) from Big Horn, Wyoming, while sophomore defensive back Larry Cekella's home in Spring, Texas, is a mere 1,421 miles south of Cameron Stadium.
BY THE NUMBERS: Under Head Coach Mike Sirianni, the Presidents hold a 58-1 record when leading at halftime. W&J lost a 7-0 halftime lead last year against Thomas More, breaking a string of 56 consecutive games when W&J held on after leading at the half. Washington & Jefferson has also won 18 consecutive games when scoring 30 or more points.
SENIORITY RULES: The 2010 Washington & Jefferson roster boasts 24 seniors, including 11 who will be in the starting lineup Saturday. This year's senior class holds a record of 30-5 with three appearances in the NCAA Division III playoffs. The graduating class of 1996 totaled the most wins in a four-year span with 43. This year's seniors have also posted a perfect 12-0 in regular-season, non-conference games.
QUARTERBACK U: Senior Gino Rometo will become only the fifth quarterback to start a season opener for the Presidents since 1999, joining Brian Dawson '03, Chris Edwards '06 and Bobby Swallow '09 and last year's opener day starter senior Steven Shumaker. Dawson, Edwards and Swallow own all 29 school passing or total offense records and combined for 27,850 passing yards and 287 touchdowns. Swallow finished his career with the eighth-best career pass efficiency rating in NCAA Division III history, while Dawson's 10,257 career yards remain as Division III's 16th-highest career total.
HISTORY LESSON: Washington & Jefferson has won 666 games in its 118-year history (666-371-40) which is third behind Wittenberg (689) and Mount Union (671) in NCAA Division III history. From 2000-2009, W&J won 99 games, marking the fourth-highest total in NCAA Division III for the decade. Only Mount Union (139), St. John's (107) and Mary Hardin-Baylor (102) won more games than W&J. Defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater also recorded 99 victories.
THE LEAVES HAVEN'T TURNED: Washington & Jefferson is most accustomed to playing an opponent from the Middle Atlantic Conference in November during postseason play. The last six meetings between W&J and a MAC team have all occurred in the postseason, including five NCAA playoff games. In 2003, W&J defeated Wilkes in the ECAC Southwest Bowl. W&J played Widener in the 1994 and 2002 NCAA playoffs and Albright in the 1996 tournament. The Presidents also faced Lycoming in the national playoffs in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1995.
JUST FOR KICKS: Last year, senior Joe Kelly became the first punter to be selected First Team All-PAC since Brian Plichta in 1996. Kelly improved the Presidents' special teams' units by averaging 38.7 yards per punt. He booted a season-long 58-yarder versus Waynesburg and downed 14-of-46 punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. In addition, Kelly serves as the team's placekicker and connected on 48-of-49 extra-point attempts. City of Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl '03 owns the school record with 45 consecutive extra-point makes during the 2001 season. After having an extra-point kick blocked in week two at Frostburg State, Kelly has drilled 40-straight attempts.
MOVIN' ON UP: Senior free safety Craig Sedunov has led the Presidents in tackles in each of the last two seasons. With 228 career stops, he is on pace to become only the fourth player in school history to reach 300. He is 47 tackles shy Mark Kern '89 for fifth place on the career tackle list. Sedunov has started and recorded at least one tackle in all 35 games over the past three seasons.