Muskingum takes unbeaten record to Wilmington

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NEW CONCORD, OHIO, September 28, 2011 - The Muskingum University football team will look to remain unbeaten and atop the Ohio Athletic Conference when it travels to Wilmington College on Saturday, October 1. Game time is slated for 2:00 p.m. in Williams 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 1:45 p.m.

The Muskies (3-0, 2-0) will enter the game riding the momentum of three straight dominating wins, including their 27-7 triumph against ninth-ranked Ohio Northern University last week. The upset win against the Polar Bears vaulted the Muskies into the national spotlight with a ranking of 40th in the latest poll. It marks the first time Muskingum has been ranked since 1995. The Muskies are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the league with Capital University and the University of Mount Union.

Wilmington (0-3, 0-2) enters the outing riding a 19-game losing streak after suffering a 66-7 loss at second-ranked University of Mount Union. The Quakers' last win was on October 3, 2008 against John Carroll University. The contest will mark Wilmington's annual Homecoming Game celebration.

Muskingum's defense continues to be a dominant force on the field. The Muskies rank first in NCAA Division III in sacks per game (8.0 spg), second in tackles for loss per game (11.3 tflpg) and 10th in both rushing defense (57 rypg) and scoring defense (9.3 ppg) and 18th in total defense (237 ypg).

Overall, the Muskie defense has notched 34 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, five interceptions and forced three fumbles en route to allowing just 9.3 points and 237 yards per game.

The hard-hitting unit is led by senior linebackers Alex Thomas and Ethan Wetzel. Thomas ranks second in the league averaging 10.7 tackles per game and has logged three sacks for 13 yards and one interception. Wetzel ranks eighth in the conference averaging nine hits per game with one sack for nine yards and one forced fumble. Both Thomas and Wetzel have been recognized for their outstanding play by being named OAC Defensive Players of the Week and being named to the National Team of the Week.

Also aiding the stout defense is junior defensive lineman Sean West and junior safety Tyler Richardson. West, who is fifth on the team in tackles, leads Muskingum in sacks with 4.5, which ranks seventh in the nation. Richardson is third on the unit tackles and leads the OAC in interceptions with two.

The Muskie offense, which is averaging 28.3 points and 310 yards per game, is led by sophomore quarterback Dalton Smith. Smith ranks third in the league in total offense averaging 223.3 yards per outing. He has thrown for 481 yards and five touchdowns and added 189 yards on 36 carries with three scores.

Senior running back Palmer Smith leads the rushing attack averaging with 213 yards on 46 totes. He's averaging 4.6 yards per carry and ranks fifth in the league averaging 71 rushing yards per game. Also helping the ground game is sophomore running back Shane Dotson, who has two rushing touchdowns.

The receivers are paced by sophomore James Washington and senior Brad Polaski. Washington leads the Muskies with eight catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while Polaksi has grabbed six receptions for 70 yards. Senior running back Demetrius Bailey has hauled in four receptions for a team-best 148 yards with two touchdowns.

Muskingum special teams are paced by junior punter Danny Snively and sophomore kicker Caleb Carpenter. Snively ranks third in the league averaging 40.0 yards per punt and has a league-best 64-yard boot. He has placed five punts inside the 20. Carpenter is 1-for-1 in field goal attempts and is averaging 56.8 yards on kickoffs with one touchback.

Sophomore quarterback Brandon Arehart directs the Quakers offense which averages 203 yards and 11.7 points per game. Arehart has passed for 494 yards and four scores. Also in the backfield is junior running back Tyrell Richardson and freshman running back Kyle Combs. Richardson is averaging 53 rushing yards per game and has scored one touchdown. Combs has carried the ball 22 times for 36 yards.

Sophomore wide receivers Kyle Blakeman and Malcolm Heard are the main targets of Arehart. Blakeman has a team-best 20 receptions for 277 yards and three touchdowns. He ranks fourth in the league averaging 92.3 receiving yards per outing. Heard has caught nine passes for 93 yards and one score.

The Quaker defense is led by senior linebacker Antwoine Shelton, sophomore linebacker Matt McFadden and freshman safety Devon Burton.

Shelton ranks eighth in the OAC averaging nine tackles per game, while McFadden and Burton both rank 14th averaging 7.7 stops per game. Additionally, Burton has one interception and forced one fumble. The unit has totaled 12 tackles for loss, two interceptions, one sack and forced four fumbles, while allowing opponents to score 39.3 points and total 460 yards per game.

Junior running back Tyquan David-Jackson Luke Rice leads the Wilmington special teams averaging 18.5 yards per kickoff return, which ranks seventh in the conference.