October 26, 2011

W&J at Grove City Game Notes

More news about: Washington and Jefferson

Washington & Jefferson College (4-3, 3-2 PAC) at Grove City College (1-6, 1-4 PAC)

NCAA Division III Football – Presidents' Athletic Conference

Audio: http://www.wjpa.com/sports.htm

Live Stats: http://www2.gcc.edu/sports/Football/xlive.htm

Time:  1:30 pm

Site: Robert E. Thorn Field (3,500)

Series:  W&J leads 34-12

Series Streak: +12 W&J

Last Meeting: W&J 21, GRO 14 -- 10/30/2010

First Meeting: W&J 6, GRO 0 -- 10/20/1893

Last W&J Win: W&J 21, GRO 14 -- 10/30/2010

Last GRO Win: GRO 37, W&J 7 -- 10/10/1998

Last W&J Win at GCC: W&J 28, GRO 10 -- 10/4/2009

Last GRO Win at W&J: GRO 31, W&J 28 -- 10/27/1997

 

THE SERIES:  Washington & Jefferson and Grove City meet for the 47th time in history this afternoon, with W&J holding a 34-12 advantage all-time.  The Presidents have beaten the Wolverines six consecutive times on the road and 12 straight overall.  Last season, W&J built a 21-0 lead behind two scores from Tim McNerney and hung on to win 21-14 in Washington.

THE HEAD COACHES: Mike Sirianni (Mount Union '94) owns an 83-17 (.830) record at W&J in his ninth season as the head coach.  Sirianni is a three-time PAC Coach of the Year and the 2004 South Region Coach of the Year.  Chris Smith (Grove City '72) is in his 27th year as head coach of the Wolverines, the longest tenured coach in the PAC.  Smith, the all-time wins leader in Grove City football history (109-156-2), helped lead the team to conference titles in 1997 and 1998.

W&J vs. THE PAC:  W&J has amassed a 253-83-4 (.752) all-time record against current members of the Presidents' Athletic Conference.  The Presidents have won 66 of their last 73 conference contests.

Bethany (68-20)                  

Geneva (38-19-2)                       

Grove City (34-12)    

Saint Vincent (4-1)          

Thiel (40-22-2)                       

Thomas More (3-4)   

Waynesburg (35-3)               

Westminster (31-2)

THE LAST MEETING {W&J 21, GCC 14; 10/30/2010, Washington, Pa.}:  Washington & Jefferson scored the first 21 points and held on to defeat Grove City 21-14 in Presidents' Athletic Conference football action on Senior Day Saturday at Cameron Stadium.  The Presidents, who clinched their 27th consecutive winning season, scored on their first possession, marching 84 yards in seven plays. Sophomore Tim McNerney capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run at the 9:36 mark.  W&J upped its lead to 14-0 on its first drive of the second quarter.  Jordan Roycroft took a pass across the middle from Gino Rometo and raced past a GCC defender to the pylon for the 9-yard touchdown.  The Wolverines  attempted a 32-yard field goal with 43 seconds left in the first half, but Frank Gigler blocked Craig Bicehouse's kick.  McNerney made it a 21-0 game three minutes into the second half after scoring from nine yards out.  Three possessions later, Grove City finally got on the scoreboard with an 11-play, 67-yard drive.  Blaine Miller scored on a 3-yard run to narrow the deficit to 21-7 at the 3:10 mark of the third quarter.  After a W&J punt, Grove City strung together a 17-play drive which took 8:32 off the clock.  Miller cruised into the end zone from a yard out and the Wolverines only trailed by seven points with 8:03 remaining.  The Presidents gained two first downs on the ensuing drive, but Marcus Chakot stopped McNerney on a fourth down play at the Grove City 27-yard line. However, four plays later Erik Espe made the play of the game with his first career interception.  W&J was forced to punt after three plays and Joe Kelly backed the Wolverines up at their own 3-yard line following a 29-yard punt.  GCC was not able to record a first down and W&J ran out the remainder of the clock.  The Presidents' defense was led by Andy McGill, who picked up two sacks.  McNerney rushed 25 times for 97 yards and two scores, while Rometo completed 19-of-30 passes for 197 yards.  Grove City outgained W&J (329-301) and had 21 of the game's 39 first downs.  Miller had 64 yards on 19 rushes and caught four passes for an additional 12 yards. Brian Pell completed 22-of-37 passes for 183 yards and Mark Rossol paced the defense with seven stops.

SCOUTING GROVE CITY:  Grove City picked up its first victory of the season Saturday when knocking off Saint Vincent 21-16 at Thorn Field.  The Wolverines forced four turnovers and racked up four sacks.  Junior cornerback Kurt Devlin, the PAC Defensive Player of the Week, tied a single-game Grove City record by intercepting three passes, while senior cornerback Aaron Palmieri also intercepted a pass.  In addition, Devlin had 10 tackles.  The Wolverines were victorious despite only gaining 227 yards of total offense.  Senior tailback Blaine Miller produced 67 yards on the ground and scored twice, while sophomore quarterback Brian Pell completed 16-of-23 passes for 139 yards and one score.  Sophomore wide receiver Anthony Ritchie caught the touchdown pass and finished with six receptions for 75 yards.  Grove City is second-to-last in the PAC in scoring (15.3 ppg) and is allowing a league-high 191.6 rushing yards per game.  The Grove City defense is led by senior nose tackle Jarred Frawley.  He is tied for the team lead with 6.5 tackles for a loss and also has a pair of sacks. 

OFFENSIVE JUGGERNAUT: W&J has averaged 38.7 points per game during its 12-game winning streak against Grove City.  The Presidents have scored over 30 points 10 times during the streak and have averaged 35.7 points in six games at Grove City since 1999.

TACKLING DRILL: Senior Neil Sorice, the PAC's leading tackler, is averaging 10.3 tackles per game and is on pace to break the 100-tackle barrier.  With 28 stops over the last three games, Sorice would become the first President with 100 or more tackles in a season since 2001 when B.J. Swartzlander (115) and Matt Dietz (114) both accomplished the feat.

CENTURY MARK: Saturday's game against Geneva was the 100th for Head Coach Mike Sirianni.  He is second on the Presidents' all-time wins list, behind only John Luckhardt who won 137 games in 17 years at W&J.  Washington & Jefferson averages 424.4 yards of total offense with Sirianni as head coach.  Heading into this season, only four coaches among all NCAA divisions with at least five years of experience had a better winning percentage than Sirianni: Mount Union's Larry Kehres (310-23-3), Boise State's Chris Peterson (68-5).  Tuskegee's Willie J. Slater (51-12) and Trinity's (Conn.) Jeff Devanney (39-6).

McTOUCHDOWN:  Junior running back Tim McNerney ran for a season-high 150 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday against Geneva.  McNerney (24 career TDs), whose 11-game touchdown streak was stopped in the team's previous game against Saint Vincent, now sits 12 touchdowns shy of tying R.J. Zitzelsberger '06 and Joey Nichols '03 for fifth place on the all-time list.

SACK ARTISTS:  A total of 15 different Presidents have recorded at least a half sack this season, led by junior Andy McGill's 4.5.  W&J leads the PAC with 22 sacks this season under first-year defensive coordinator Shawn Rohrer.  The last time a W&J defense had that many players record a sack was in 2001 when 16 players did so.

ALEX THE GREAT: Sophomore wide receiver Alex Baroffio continues to lead the PAC in receptions per game (6.4) and receiving yards per game (103.1) despite being held to a season-low one reception for 15 yards against Geneva.  Baroffio, who also made an acrobatic catch on a two-point conversion against the Golden Tornadoes, needs 277 yards to amass 1,000 for the season.  The last player to reach that mark was Craig Besong in 2009.

BLISTERING PACE:  Sophomore quarterback Matt Bliss is on pace for the most yards by a W&J quarterback since Bobby Swallow '09 passed for 3,778 yards in 2008 (13 games).  Bliss has thrown for a PAC-high 1,838 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He has produced a pair of 300-yard days, including 305 at Saint Vincent.  Bliss is averaging 301.6 yards of total offense per game which is just shy of the pace set by Chris Edwards '06 in 2005 (304.4). 

CHALK IT UP:  The Presidents are hoping to increase their consecutive winning season streak to 28 years.  The current 27-year streak ranks as the 10th-longest in NCAA Division III history and 16th among all divisions.  Only Linfield (55 years), Ithaca (39) and Mount Union (33) own longer active streaks among Division III schools.  W&J needs two wins in its last three games to keep the streak alive.

SECOND-HALF ADJUSTMENT: W&J trailed Geneva 7-6 at halftime last week, but rallied to win in the second half.  The last time the Presidents trailed at the half at Cameron Stadium and came back to win was Nov. 27, 2004 against Christopher Newport in the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs.  CNU held a 14-7 edge after two quarters, but W&J scored 17 third-quarter points to pull out a 24-14 victory.  On the flip side, the Presidents own a 76-4 record under Sirianni when leading at halftime. 

EARLY DOMINANCE:  W&J and Grove City first met on the gridiron in 1893 but it wasn't until 1955 that the Wolverines finally beat the Presidents.  Grove City won 7-0 in Washington in the teams' eighth meeting.   W&J outscored Grove City 303-11 in the first seven meetings, including a 76-0 victory in 1906 and a 100-0 romp in 1913. 

AROUND MELHORN:  Junior cornerback Nathan Melhorn has developed into one of the PAC's top defensive backs this season.  He is seventh in the league with 55 tackles and is tied for third with two forced fumbles.  Last year, he finished the season with 36 tackles and one interception. 

IN A RUSH:  As a team, W&J has rushed for at least one touchdown in 15 consecutive games.  The last time the Presidents were held without a rushing touchdown was at Thomas More on Sept. 25, 2010. 

PASSING GAME:  Presidents' quarterbacks have not been held to below 10 completions in a game since W&J competed 8-of-10 passes at Bethany on Nov. 11, 2006 (55-game streak).  W&J rushed 50 times for 328 yards and six touchdowns in that game played in West Virginia. 

IN A RUSH:  Washington & Jefferson is averaging 24.4 first downs per game, its highest total since producing 25.7 per game in 2007.  The Presidents averaged a school-record 518.7 yards per game that season. 

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