W&J-Westminster Game Notes

More news about: Washington and Jefferson

Washington & Jefferson College (2-2, 1-1 PAC) at Westminster College (2-1, 1-0 PAC)

NCAA Division III Football – Presidents' Athletic Conference


Time:  1:00 pm

Site: Harold Burry Stadium (4,500)

Series:  W&J leads 30-2

Series Streak: +10 W&J

Video: http://www.meridix.com/everywhere.php?liveid=WestminsterCollegePA

Audio: http://www.wjpa.com/sports.htm

Live Stats: http://www.westminster.edu/athletics/sports/football/stats/live/xlive.htm

Last Meeting: W&J 49, WES 7 -- 10/2/2010

First Meeting: W&J 16, WES 0 -- 11/10/1894

Last W&J Win: W&J 49, WES 7 -- 10/2/2010

Last WC Win: WES 19, W&J 17 -- 9/30/2000

Last W&J Win at WC: W&J 49, WES 7 -- 10/24/2009

Last WC Win at WC: N/A


THE SERIES:  Washington & Jefferson has dominated the series with Westminster, owning a 30-2 all-time record.  The Presidents have won 10 consecutive games against the Titans, including a 49-7 thrashing last year in Washington.  W&J has averaged 42.5 points in six all-time meetings at Westminster, all Presidents' victories. 


THE HEAD COACHES: Mike Sirianni (Mount Union '94) owns an 81-16 (.835) record at W&J in his ninth 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).  Jeff Hand (Clarion '82) has notched a 24-39 record in seven seasons at Westminster.  He came to Westminster after four years at Waynesburg where he led the Yellow Jackets to its first outright PAC Championship and Division III playoff berth in 2003.  Hand's overall career record is 61-63 in 13 years.   


W&J vs. THE PAC:  W&J has amassed a 251-82-4 (.753) all-time record against current members of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.  The Presidents have won 64 of their last 70 conference contests. A win Saturday would keep W&J one game behind the PAC leaders in the loss column.


Bethany (68-20)                   

Geneva (37-19-2)                         

Grove City (34-12) 

Saint Vincent (4-0)       

Thiel (40-22-2)                    

Thomas More (3-4)

Waynesburg (35-3)

Westminster (30-2)


THE LAST MEETING {W&J 49, WES 7; 10/2/2010, Washington, Pa.}:  Brian Baldrige rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns during Washington & Jefferson's 49-7 PAC football victory over Westminster at Cameron Stadium.  The Presidents defeated the Titans by a 49-7 score for the second consecutive season and have only allowed one touchdown in each of the last three meetings with Westminster.  W&J started quickly and grabbed a 7-0 lead 54 seconds into the game.  Ben Hoffer returned the opening kickoff 67 yards to set up Tim McNerney's one-yard touchdown run.  Westminster punted after three plays, but forced a Baldrige fumble and tied the game at the 10:28 mark on Shaun Lehocky's five-yard touchdown pass to Gino Pasquinelli.  The teams traded punts before Washington & Jefferson claimed the lead for good on Gino Rometo's 10-yard touchdown strike to tight end Bryant Cappelletti.  Hoffer's 36-yard reception three plays into the second quarter helped set up Baldrige's 21-yard touchdown run for a 21-7 lead.  McNerney raced into the end zone from five yards out at the 8:38 mark of the second quarter and Hoffer's six-yard touchdown grab from Rometo seven minutes later put the Presidents in front 35-7 at halftime.  Baldrige's 40-yard touchdown run and Nick Puckett's five-yard jaunt provided the only scoring in the second half.  The W&J defense was paced by Andy McGill.  He produced six tackles, four of which stopped the Titans for a loss, and 2.5 sacks.  Ian Hennessy had a team-high 10 tackles (1.5 for a loss) and one sack.  McNerney added 82 yards on the ground and two touchdowns, while Puckett produced 59 yards on 10 attempts.   Rometo completed 10-of-14 passes for 125 yards and two scores, while Alex Baroffio and Max Creighan both had four catches.  W&J racked up 465 total yards, while limiting the Titans to 195.  W&J also had 23 of the game's 35 first downs.  Lehocky completed 14-of-25 passes for 134 yards and added 44 yards rushing.  John Proano gained 56 yards rushing on 19 attempts.


SCOUTING WESTMINSTER:  The Titans are looking for their first 3-1 start to a season since 2007.  Westminster was idle last week and is coming off a 25-20 win at Grove City in its PAC opener two weeks ago in a game that it never trailed.   Junior wideout Geno Pasquinelli caught seven passes for 85 yards with a career high-tying two touchdown receptions from 12 and 40 yards. Pasquinelli snared touchdown passes from two different quarterbacks for Westminster's first two touchdowns of the game. Sophomore quarterbacks Zach Hoffman and Tommy Turnbull replaced injured starter Shawn Lehocky.  Hoffman was 8-of-12 passing for 124 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also rushed for 21 yards including a 2-yard sneak for a touchdown that gave Westminster a 25-13 lead. Senior defensive end Ryan Brucker posted a career-high 10 tackles, including a forced fumble and sack on the last play of the game.  The Titans are ranked third in the PAC and 55th nationally in total defense by allowing 291.3 yards per game; however the WC offense is last in the PAC at 195.3 yards per game (44 yards fewer than any other PAC team and 254 fewer than PAC-leader W&J).


TOUCHDOWN TIM:  Junior running back Tim McNerney returned to the starting lineup against Thomas More after missing two games and ran for 93 yards and one score.  McNerney has scored at least one touchdown in 10 consecutive games and has seven multi-touchdown games during that span.


FRIENDLY CONFINES:  W&J has enjoyed considerable success on the road against Westminster at Burry Stadium (Memorial Field), winning all six meetings.  The Presidents' margin of victory has been less than three touchdowns just once, while they have outscored the Titans a combined 255-69. 


NATIONAL SEMIFINALIST:  senior left tackle Gary Flavion has been named as a candidate for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Awards as well as a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy.  Nominees for the NFF Scholar-Athlete Awards must be a senior with at least a 3.2 GPA, be a significant contributor to his football team and have demonstrated strong leadership on and off the field.  A history major and a three-year starter on the Presidents' offensive line, Flavion is a two-time All-PAC award winner with a 3.50 grade-point average.  He aspires to attend graduate school with hopes of becoming a history professor.  Flavion is one of 30 nominees from NCAA Division III schools and 127 candidates from all divisions.  Westminster quarterback Shaun Lehocky was the only other player recognized from the Presidents' Athletic Conference.

UNFAMILIAR FEELING: Thomas More held a 21-17 halftime lead last week at Cameron Stadium, marking the first time that the Presidents trailed a home game after two quarters since the 2007 season, a span of 12 games.  W&J fell behind N.C Wesleyan 14-13 at the half during a first-round playoff game, a contest that the Presidents lost 35-34.  In addition, W&J's streak of 25 consecutive wins when scoring 30 or more points ended Saturday.  The previous loss when scoring at least 30 points occurred during that same 2007 playoff game against NCW. 


FAVORITE TARGET:  Sophomore Alex Baroffio has quickly become one of sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss' top options this season.  Baroffio has turned in three 100-yard performances and has found the end zone in all four games.  He has caught 26 passes for 440 yards, good for 14th nationally, and sits atop the PAC with an average of 110.0 receiving yards per game.  Baroffio has also added 149 punt return and 34 rushing yards to collect an average of 155.8 all-purpose yards per game, a number which ranks him 36th in NCAA Division III. 


LEADER OF THE PAC:  W&J sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss leads the PAC with an average of 279.5 passing yards per game.  He has completed 63 percent of his passes and has tossed a league-high nine touchdowns.  Bliss is 15th in the nation with 1,118 yards passing and sits 18th in passing yards per game.  On Saturday, he amassed 403 yards of total offense (326 pass, 77 rush) which ranked as the second-best, single-game performance in school history.  Only Chris Edwards' 422 yards of total offense in 2005 against Allegheny topped Bliss' day.  Bliss is 20th in NCAA Division III with an average of 306.5 yards of total offense.  Edwards owns the single-season total offense record (304.4 ypg) during that 2005 season.


WASHINGTON FIVE-O:  W&J has won five consecutive week five games.  The last time W&J lost during its fifth week of a season was a 38-35 overtime loss to Thiel in 2005. 


OCTOBER SKY: W&J has compiled a 44-3 record during the month of October during Head Coach Mike Sirianni's tenure.  The Presidents were a perfect 5-0 last year and have lost just once during the month since the 2005 season, a 14-7 setback to Thomas More in 2009.


PAC ACADEMIC HONOR:  Senior defensive end Frank Gigler was selected as the PAC SAAC Scholar-Athlete of the Month for September.  Gigler, a pre-physical therapy major with a 3.69 GPA, has 73 tackles (16 this year) and 10 sacks during his career.  He led the W&J defense last year with 15 tackles for a loss. 


CASE FOR INSTANT REPLAY:  Westminster's first win in the series with W&J came in 1910 with plenty of controversy.  The Titans lined up for a field goal with a minute left, but the kick fell short, rolled over the goal line and was downed by a Westminster player.  The referee awarded a touchdown to Westminster, stating that a W&J player touched the ball after it had crossed the goal line before the Titan recovery.  W&J Head Coach D.C. Morrow, who had three different stints with the football program, withdrew the Presidents from the field in protest, resulting in a 1-0 Westminster win.  Thus, in the 10th game between W&J and Westminster, the Titans earned their first point against the Presidents after being outscored by a combined 180-0 in the first nine meetings. 


SACK STREAK:  The Washington & Jefferson defense has recorded at least one sack in each of the last 13 games dating back to week three of last season. W&J had eight players record at least one sack in 2010, a number which has already been surpassed this year.  A total of 10 Presidents have a sack.   Last year, 17 different Presidents posted at least one tackle for a loss.  Through four games, 16 different players have already accomplished the feat, including senior Neil Sorice's team-high 5.5. 


TACKLING DRILLS:  Senior linebacker Neil Sorice leads the PAC with 24 solo tackles and 39 total tackles.  He has twice recorded double digit tackles this season, including a personal-best 17 against Delaware Valley.  Sorice has also added 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles to his ledger.  After posting two tackles in the season opener at Juniata, junior cornerback Nathan Melhorn has notched three-straight, double-digit tackle performances.  Melhorn had 13 stops against Delaware Valley and Thomas More and 11 at Bethany.


IN A RUSH:  W&J has rushed for 200 or more team yards 28 times since 2003 and has won each time.  Four of those 200+ efforts have come against Westminster, including 279 last season.  The Presidents average 210.0 rushing yards per game against the Titans during the past eight meetings.