Muskingum travels to Capital in key OAC game
NEW CONCORD, OHIO, November 2, 2011 - The Muskingum University football team travels to Capital University this Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff in Bernlohr 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 1:15 p.m.
The Crusaders and the Fighting Muskies have previously met 60 times on the gridiron with Muskingum holding a 36-22-2 series lead. However, Capital has won the last 10 games in the series.
The Muskies (4-4, 3-4), who have lost four straight outings, have been plagued by 14 turnovers during their current skid. Capital (3-5, 3-4) enters its Senior Day game on a two-game losing streak. The game is a battle of teams currently tied for sixth in the OAC.
Muskingum's defense continues to be a dominant force on the field. The Muskies rank second in NCAA Division III in sacks per game (4.4 spg), 20th in rushing defense (90.8 rypg), 30th in scoring defense (15.9 ppg) and 33rd in total defense (280.4 ypg).
Overall, the Muskie defense has notched 63 tackles for loss, 36 sacks, eight interceptions and forced seven fumbles en route to allowing just 15.9 points and 280.4 yards per game.
The hard-hitting unit is led by senior linebackers Alex Thomas and Ethan Wetzel.
Thomas ranks third in the OAC in tackles averaging 10.9 stops per game. He also has logged eight tackles for loss, four sacks, recovered two fumbles, forced one fumble and notched one interception.
Wetzel ranks 10th in the conference averaging 8.1 hits per game, with five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and has forced one fumble.
Both Thomas and Wetzel have been recognized for their outstanding play this season by being named OAC Defensive Players of the Week and being named to the D3Football.com National Team of the Week.
Also aiding the stout defense is junior defensive lineman Sean West, senior safety Anthony Zarcone and junior safety Tyler Richardson and.
West leads the OAC with three forced fumbles and rank fourth in sacks with 5.5. Zarcone ranks sixth in the league in passes defended with nine and is fourth on the team in tackles with 39. Richardson ranks third on the squad with 44 hits with a team-best three interceptions.
The Muskie offense, which is averaging 18.8 points and 308.9 yards per game, is led by sophomore quarterback Dalton Smith. Smith will try to take advantage of a Capital defense that stands 220th out of 239 schools in Division III in total defense. Smith ranks fourth in the league in total offense averaging 219.2 yards per outing. He has thrown for 1,383 yards with seven touchdowns and 13 interceptions and added 371 yards on 97 carries with five scores.
Senior running back Palmer Smith leads the rushing attack with 389 yards on 96 totes. He's averaging 4.1 yards per carry and ranks seventh in the league averaging 64.8 rushing yards per game. Also helping the ground game is sophomore running back Anthony Frye, who has rushed for 167 yards and two scores.
The receivers are paced by sophomore James Washington and senior Brad Polaski. Washington leads the Muskies with 33 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns. Washington ranks fifth in the league averaging 74.6 receiving yards per outing. Polaksi has grabbed 21 receptions for 181 yards. Senior wide out Antowan Logan has caught 17 passes for 227 yards and one score.
Muskingum special teams are paced by junior punter Danny Snively and junior kick returner Andrew Davis. Snively ranks third in the OAC averaging 39.2 yards per punt with 12 punts inside the 20. Davis is one of the top returners in the OAC averaging 28.5 yards per kick return and 6.9 yards per punt return/
Senior quarterback Chase Carris leads the Capital offense which is averaging 339 yards and 18.3 points per game. Carris ranks eighth in the OAC in passing yards with 1,311. He has thrown for nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He leads the Capital passing offense which ranks 42nd in the nation.
Joining Carris in the backfield is senior running back Josh Anderson. Anderson has rushed for 505 yards and six touchdowns on 118 attempts. He's averaging 4.3 yards per tote.
The receivers are led by seniors Matt White and Ryan Williams and junior Mile Epstein. White leads the OAC in receptions per game with 7.5 and ranks second in the league averaging 97.5 receiving yards per contest. He has caught 60 passes for 780 yards and eight scores. Williams has 33 grabs for 342 yards and three touchdowns, while Epstein has 31 receptions for 266 yards and one score.
The Crusader defense is led by senior linebacker Troy Spiker and senior defensive lineman Dan Frankart. Spiker leads the OAC in tackles per game averaging 11.9 hits per contest. He has logged 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, forced three fumbles and recovered two fumbles. Frankart is second on the team with 47 hits.
Overall, Capital's defense has recorded 43 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, recovered nine fumbles, forced nine fumbles and notched six interceptions.