Muskingum to host John Carroll for its 89th Homecoming game

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NEW CONCORD, OHIO, October 12, 2010 - The Muskingum University football team will host Ohio Athletic Conference rival John Carroll University this Saturday for its 89th Homecoming game in New Concord.

The game will feature a special halftime ceremony introducing Muskingum's newest members of the Athletic Hall of Fame – Tom Harp ('51), Tim Palmer ('88), Jill Schissler ('90) and Andrea Weininger ('93).

The Muskies (3-2, 2-2) are looking to defend their turf on Homecoming Weekend after a 33-21 setback last Saturday at Heidelberg University.

The Blue Streaks (2-3, 2-2) are coming to McConagha Stadium a week after defeating Wilmington College, 38-17. The Muskies have beaten the Blue Streaks the last two years on the final play of the game.

Muskingum's offense, which is averaging 14.8 points and 241.6 yards per game, is directed by senior quarterback Jake Burns.

Burns set the new school record for total offense following his 275-yard performance against Heidelberg which pushed his career mark to 5,431 total yards. For the season, Burns is 62-of -104 for 707 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions. On the ground, Burns has 80 attempts for 147 yards and three scores.

The backfield for Muskingum is filled with running backs Demetrius Bailey and Tony Pellegrino. Bailey, a junior, has 50 totes on the season for a team-high 172 yards. Bailey has also caught nine passes for 57 yards and one score. A senior, Pellegrino, has carried the ball 17 times for 56 yards and one touchdown. Pellegrino has four receptions for 25 yards in the passing game.

Senior Ben Smith leads the receiving corps with a team-best 19 catches for 266 yards and one touchdown. Smith led the team at Heidelberg with 10 grabs for 116 yards and now ranks 11th all-time at Muskingum with 919 career receiving yards.

Junior Antowan Logan ranks second on the squad with 14 receptions for 133 yards and one touchdown. Also helping out the group is sophomore Andrew Davis, who has five catches for 99 yards, and junior Brad Polaski, who has hauled in four passes for 64 yards.

The Muskingum defense, which ranks first in the OAC in pass defense, second overall, and third in sacks, is holding teams to 21 points and 257.8 yards a contest. Nationally, the Muskies are ranked 15th in pass efficiency defense and 25th in total defense.

Junior linebacker Alex Thomas leads the Muskingum defense with 40 tackles. Thomas has 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Senior defensive lineman Chad Bajc, who ranks second in the conference in sacks and sixth in tackles for loss, enters the weekend ranked eighth all-time at Muskingum in sacks. This season, Bajc has 26 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks.

Junior linebackers James Beatty and Ethan Wetzel are also playmakers for the Muskingum defense. Beatty is second on the team with 32 tackles, while Wetzel has 26 tackles and ranks fifth in the OAC with three sacks.

John Carroll's offense is tallying 22 points and 299.4 yards per game. The group is led by Devin O'Brien, Mark Elsaesser and Frank Ross.

O'Brien has thrown for 318 yards on 28-of-49 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also carried the ball 36 times for 138 yards and four touchdowns. O'Brien was named the OAC Offensive Player of the Week following his four-touchdown performance against Wilmington last week.

Elsaesser has run the ball 34 times for 180 yards this season. Ross is O'Brien's top receiving target. Ross has caught 28 passes for 278 yards and two scores.

The Blue Steak defense, which is allowing 34.4 points and 397.2 yards per outing, is led by C.J. Seitzinger, Emmett Lydon and Jon Cooley.

Seitzinger is the team's top tackler with 54 stops and two tackles for loss. Lydon has 41 tackles, and Cooley is third on the squad with 38 tackles and has six pass defenses.

Game time is slated for 1:30 p.m. and can be heard live on WMCO 90.7 FM and on the Muskingum web broadcasting network located at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/musk.portal.

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