/seasons/2012/contrib/20120815gjxt7z

2012 Capital football season preview

More news about: Capital

With 11 consecutive seasons at five wins or more and 10 of the last 11 years with a record above .500 in the rugged Ohio Athletic Conference, the Capital University football team has been one of the most successful programs in both the conference and region for the past decade.

After finishing the 2011 campaign with a 5-5 mark, including a 5-4 record in OAC play, third-year coach Henry Stanford and the Crusaders look to continue the program's success while competing for their first appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs since 2007.

Despite the loss of five all-league selections due to graduation, Capital returns 45 letter winners to the fold, including 15 of 22 starters and both specialists, in 2012. Stanford, who is 10-10 in his two years at the helm, is confident in the returning core's ability to mentor and guide over 60 new faces into the program.

Seniors Matt DeMore (Twinsburg, Ohio) and Tyler Dugan (Columbus, Ohio) return as second-year captains, and will be joined for the first game's coin toss by fellow seniors Mike Epstein (Toledo, Ohio) and Nate Nasrallah (Norton, Ohio). Each member of the team's 18-man senior class will serve as a captain at some point during the season.

"I think all the seniors have stepped up since the last game of the season last year," DeMore, an offensive lineman, said. "That's when the next season starts ... each of the seniors has taken multiple guys under their wing to try to build up this team. At the end of the day, we all want to leave a legacy."

The Crusaders open the 2012 slate on Saturday, Sept. 1, against perennial North Coast Athletic Conference power Wittenberg. In the 2011 season opener, the Tigers defeated Capital 45-28 in Springfield. This year's opener will be played at Bernlohr Stadium, where the Crusaders will play six times during the regular season.

Capital begins a three-game stretch where it faces the OAC's top three teams from 2011 against Heidelberg on Oct. 6 as part of the institution's Homecoming festivities. The Crusaders then travel to 2011 national runner-up Mount Union on Oct. 13, and return home to face Baldwin Wallace on Oct. 20.

Capital closes its home schedule on Oct. 27 against cross-town rival Otterbein on Senior Day at Bernlohr.

See below for a position-by-position breakdown of the 2012 Crusaders.

OFFENSE

Capital will continue to deploy its spread offensive formations, featuring one tailback and four wide receivers. In 2011, the Crusaders led the conference in passing offense with 260.2 yards per contest.

Besides establishing balance between the running game and the team's potent passing attack, offensive coordinator Robert White pointed out the importance of tempo and ball control in 2012.

"We want to increase our tempo and get 90 or more snaps in per game," White said. "I think the biggest key for us is to eliminate the turnovers we had last year. We have a veteran offensive line to protect, and if we don't turn the ball over, we'll be successful this year."

Quarterback

Junior Ryan Kremchek (Sylvania, Ohio) enters the season with the most game experience on the team following the departure of Chase Carris, last season's starter. Kremchek appeared in five games during an injury-plagued 2011 campaign, passing for 527 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior Alex Nydza (Cleveland, Ohio) also looks to compete for the starting spot. After appearing in seven games as a linebacker a year ago, Nydza returns to his spot behind center, where he competed for a spot in 2010.

Bowling Green transfer Jake Sears (Miamisburg, Ohio) and freshman Ryan McSweeney (Seven Hills, Ohio) also project to be in the mix for playing time.

Running Back

Senior Casey Meridieth (Toledo, Ohio) looks to take the reins following the graduation of All-OAC second team selection Josh Anderson. Meridieth tallied 88 all-purpose yards a year ago. Sophomore Nolan Gill (Hilliard, Ohio), who appeared in six games last season, also hopes to compete for playing time.

Freshmen looking to contribute in the backfield include Chris Elledge (Pickerington, Ohio), Myles Robinson (Powell, Ohio), Bo Hardy (Galloway, Ohio) and Griffin Mouty (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Offensive Line

This seasoned unit should anchor the offense as all five starters return from the 2011 campaign. DeMore is the returning starter at center.

"I love having that title of best pass offense," DeMore said. "It means a lot to an offensive lineman, to keep the quarterback clean. Knowing that he has your trust, that means a lot ... we have to play together, keep strong and play as a unit (to keep that up this year)."

Surrounding DeMore at the guard spots are junior Anthony Colucci (Ashtabula, Ohio) and senior Troy Thompson (Pickerington, Ohio). Sophomore Trevor McGowan (Northville, Mich.) and junior David Howson (Hudson, Ohio) project to return to their starting tackle slots. Sophomore Bradley Beck (Fremont, Ohio) also returns from last season's two-deep depth chart.

Wide Receiver

Epstein and junior Alex Coleman (Columbus, Ohio) return to the wide receiver corps, which lost all-conference and all-region selection Matt White from a year ago. Epstein is the team's leading returning receiver with 36 receptions for 301 yards and a touchdown, while Coleman followed closely behind with 272 yards on 28 catches with three touchdowns.

Projected returning contributors at wide receiver include juniors Justin Bubar (Strongsville, Ohio), Jacob Batcho (Massillon, Ohio), sophomores Benjamin Woycke (Mason, Ohio) and Nick Gonzales (Cleveland, Ohio).

DEFENSE

Consistency will be critical for the Capital defense. In 2011, the Crusaders allowed just 12 points or less three times, but surrendered 37 or more points four different times. Eight starters return to the unit, including all four defensive backs.

"We've got to play every play like it's our last play," Dugan said. "You've just got to get on the field and treat it like you're not going to play again."

Defensive Line

Eight defensive linemen with a plethora of game experience return for the Crusaders, who will rely on strong play up front from a seasoned group of veterans.

Seniors Nate Nasrallah, Jay Bondzeleske (Columbus, Ohio), Aaron Knisley (Bexley, Ohio), Aaron Rittgers (Pickerington, Ohio), Jason Hutchins (Springboro, Ohio), Seth Nelson (Columbus, Ohio), Zac Randall (Greenville, Ohio) and Blayne Cornwell (Proctorville, Ohio) form the core of the line. Nasrallah is a 2011 All-OAC honorable mention pick, while Knisley and Nelson are also returning starters. The trio combined for 122 tackles, including 13 sacks, a year ago.

Linebackers

Despite the loss of all-conference and all-region honoree Troy Spiker, Dugan, the lone returning starter at linebacker, is confident that others around him will step up.

"Troy Spiker was a great player," Dugan said. "He had to fill the shoes of (2010 OAC Linebacker of the Year) Sam Jacobs, so we just constantly have that 'next man' mentality, where you don't know when your number's going to be called, so you've got to be ready to go."

Dugan is the team's returning tackler with 58 stops (40 solo) in 2011. Junior Kyle Shaeffer (Pickerington, Ohio), who appeared in four contests last season, looks to fill the void in the middle. Others projected to be in the rotation include sophomores T.J. Langermeier (West Jefferson, Ohio), Wesley Meadows (Athens, Ohio) and Gene Rucker (Marion, Ohio).

Defensive Backfield

All four starters return to the defensive backfield, including 2011 All-OAC honorable mention pick Domenic Hebebrand (Hinckley, Ohio), who placed fourth on the team with 50 tackles and a combined 15 pass breakups and passes defensed. Senior Ryan Neuberger (Milan, Ohio) is the team's other starter at safety and led the Crusaders with three interceptions a season ago.

Juniors Antoine Roberts (Lithonia, Ga.) and Andre Cousin (Fostoria, Ohio) project to return to their starting cornerback positions. The two combined for 67 tackles in 2011.

Senior Ted Cox (Marysville, Ohio), junior Larez Harper (Columbus, Ohio) and sophomore Clay Smith (West Jefferson, Ohio) were mainstays on last year's two-deep and look to contribute as well.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Senior kicker Nick VanMeter (Marion, Ohio) and sophomore punter Joseph Riley (Twinsburg, Ohio) form the kicking corps. VanMeter booted three field goals and averaged 57.4 yards per kickoff last season, while Riley averaged 40.0 yards per punt and pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line six times. Rittgers returns as the team's long-snapper, while Coleman will handle the bulk of punt and kick return duties.

Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
Salve Regina 45, at Nichols 10
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Ida 14, at Dean 7
Box Score
Final
at Thomas More 59, Waynesburg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Maine Maritime 34, Coast Guard 16
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Finlandia 27, Trinity Bible 21
Video Box Score
Final
Hamilton 28, at Bowdoin 7
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Olivet 47, Albion 26
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wesleyan 41, Bates 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Union 27, at Rochester 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Amherst 40, at Colby 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Western New England 41, Endicott 14
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Plymouth State 16, Framingham State 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at RPI 27, Ithaca 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Hobart 49, at Hartwick 27
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Ferrum 34, LaGrange 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Carnegie Mellon 42, Geneva 27
Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
DePauw 26, at Denison 17
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 42, Kalamazoo 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Washington and Lee 47, Guilford 26
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Husson 49, Castleton 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Gallaudet 35, at Alfred State 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
Video Box Score
Final
Brevard 41, at Methodist 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Lebanon Valley 31, Stevenson 24
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Buffalo State 24, at St. Lawrence 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Randolph-Macon 52, Emory and Henry 29
Video Box Score
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Hampden-Sydney 58, Apprentice 28
Video Box Score
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at N.C. Wesleyan 45, Greensboro 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Pa.) 49, Grove City 27
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Westminster (Mo.) 56, Crown 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Northwestern (Minn.) 29, Iowa Wesleyan 7
Video
Final
at Knox 56, Grinnell 14
Video
Final
at Widener 31, Lycoming 17
Video Box Score
Final
Trinity (Conn.) 23, at Tufts 16
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount St. Joseph 66, Earlham 7
Video Box Score
Final - 2OT
Ohio Northern 27, at John Carroll 20
Preview Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Baldwin Wallace 23, at Muskingum 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Rose-Hulman 44, at Manchester 13
Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Final
at Hanover 31, Bluffton 28
Video Video Box Score
Final
Defiance 45, at Anderson 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
Video Box Score
Final
Hiram 62, at Kenyon 56
Video Box Score
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Williams 27, at Middlebury 26
Video Box Score
Final
at Westfield State 33, Fitchburg State 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Marietta 43, at Wilmington 33
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Curry 40, at Becker 0
Video Box Score
Final
TCNJ 20, at Rowan 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at SUNY-Maritime 51, Anna Maria 15
Video Box Score
Final
Salisbury 28, at Montclair State 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Huntingdon 28, Maryville (Tenn.) 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Austin 33, Millsaps 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington U. 55, Buena Vista 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Alma 27, at Aurora 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Rockford 29, Concordia-Chicago 14
Video Box Score
Final
Wisconsin Lutheran 22, at Concordia (Wis.) 19
Video Box Score
Final
at Lakeland 57, Benedictine 21
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 10, Chicago 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Olaf 22, at Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Bethel 24, at Gustavus Adolphus 3
Video Box Score
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Eureka 30, Greenville 19
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Centre 27, at Trinity (Texas) 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Dubuque 42, at Nebraska Wesleyan 27
Video Box Score
Final
Central 30, at Coe 19
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Lake Forest 56, at Cornell 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Carthage 31, Elmhurst 8
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
Video Box Score
Final
Millikin 28, at Augustana 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Ripon 52, at Beloit 28
Video Box Score
Final
MacMurray 49, at Minnesota-Morris 13
Video
Final
Macalester 21, at Lawrence 18
Video Box Score
Final
at Monmouth 59, Illinois College 14
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Stevens Point 26, UW-Eau Claire 3
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Wooster 38, Oberlin 28
Video Box Score
Final
Texas Lutheran 41, at East Texas Baptist 34
Video Box Score
Final
at UW-Stout 21, UW-River Falls 16
Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Sewanee 34, at Birmingham-Southern 13
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Hope 22, Adrian 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Cancelled
La Verne at Occidental
Final
Whitworth 17, at Pacific Lutheran 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at Cal Lutheran 42, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 20
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Pacific 35, Puget Sound 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pomona-Pitzer 45, at Whittier 23
Video Box Score
Final
at Western Connecticut 28, Massachusetts Maritime 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Scholastica 56, Martin Luther 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - 5OT
at St. John Fisher 39, Utica 36
Video Recap Live stats Audio
Final - OT
at Heidelberg 48, Otterbein 45
Video Preview Box Score Recap Audio Tickets
Final
at Shenandoah 38, Bridgewater 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Southwestern 60, at Belhaven 31
Video Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Final
at Louisiana College 52, McMurry 34
Box Score
Final
at Simpson 38, Luther 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Chapman 45, Redlands 26
Video Video Box Score Recap Recap Photos
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats
Oct. 14: All times Eastern
Final
at Delaware Valley 49, King's 14
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final - OT
at Cortland 20, Alfred 17
Box Score Recap Live stats
Final
at Wesley 29, Kean 9
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 59, at William Paterson 7
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Wittenberg 49, Allegheny 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Brockport 48, Morrisville State 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Washington and Jefferson 49, at Bethany 14
Video Box Score
Final
Ohio Wesleyan 16, at Wabash 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 72, Capital 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wartburg 42, Loras 11
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Hendrix 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Springfield 35, at Merchant Marine 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 65, Howard Payne 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. John's 35, at Carleton 0
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 30, Carroll 0
Video Box Score
Final
Concordia-Moorhead 45, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 63, at Thiel 28
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 28, at UW-Platteville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Linfield 49, at Lewis and Clark 14
Video Box Score
Final
at George Fox 58, Willamette 12
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
Hardin-Simmons 35, at Sul Ross State 10
Box Score
Oct. 16: All times Eastern
Final
at Wheaton (Ill.) 42, North Central (Ill.) 20
Box Score Recap
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Video Video Live stats Live stats