WEBCAST / LIVE STATS / GAME NOTES
DEFIANCE, Ohio - A new era of Defiance College football will get underway on Saturday, as the Yellow Jackets take the Justin F. Coressel Stadium field for the first time under new head coach Brian Sheehan. Defiance will take on Albion in the 2012 season and home opener.
SCOUTING DEFIANCE: The Yellow Jackets posted a 4-6 mark in 2011, after going 4-4 against Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference competition. DC has returned 30 varsity lettermen and 12 regular starters from that squad and will begin the 2012 campaign with 110 student-athletes on the roster. Defiance will feature several new faces on the offensive side of the ball, where it returns only three starters. The Jackets will be the most experienced at the wide receiver slots, where veterans Jon Carrabino and Brian Mircovich are expected to see the majority of the time. On the defensive side, DC will showcase a much more familiar look, with nine returning starters from the 2011 squad that ranked third in total defense among all HCAC teams by yielding 330.5 total yards per game in conference play. The Jackets brought back each of their top-six and 11 of their top-14 leaders in tackles from one year ago. Hunter Robertson topped that list with 79 stops, while Gregg Pickett anchored the front line with 10.0 tackles for negative yardage. Tony Sierra also returns looking to garner his fourth First-Team All-HCAC selection from his safety position.
SCOUTING ALBION: Albion used a 6-0 conference mark in 2011 to record its 34th Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship and is poised to repeat, after returning 15 starters for the 2012 season. The Britons have garnered national attention as well, with 21 points in the www.D3football.com Preseason Top-25 Poll. Clinton Orr leads the charge for AC, fresh off being named the MIAA Offensive Most Valuable Player in 2011 and as the program's all-time leader in rushing yards with 3,214. Fifth-year senior and third-year starter, Spencer Krauss, joins Orr in the experienced backfield, after passing for 1,841 yards from his quarterback position. The trio of C.J. Carroll, Brett McCarty and Lorenzo Reese are expected to highlight a talented defensive core. Carroll ranked among the best in the nation with 11.5 sacks in 2011, while McCarty racked up 88 tackles and Reese hauled in five interceptions.
LAST MEETING: The Yellow Jackets fell, 35-21, at Albion on October 2 of 1999 in the most recent meeting between the two programs. The Britons struck for a 77-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and then broke open a 14-14 tie late into the third quarter by outscoring DC via a 21-7 margin the rest of the way. The teams accounted for 45 first downs and 809 total yards of offense on the afternoon. Mike Groll led the Jackets with 14 receptions for 148 yards and two scores, while AC's Clay Crooks countered with five catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
SERIES HISTORY: Defiance has had its struggles against Albion historically, having lost all 11 previous meetings on the gridiron with the Britons. The two old foes have not played since DC left the MIAA for the HCAC prior to the 2000-2001 campaign.
NON-CONFERENCE WOES: Defiance has struggled outside the HCAC in recent history, losing six-straight games against non-conference opponents. DC's last victory outside of league play came in the 2009 season opener at Coressel Stadium with a 13-7 win over Muskingum on September 5. Since that triumph, the Jackets are 0-6 in non-conference action and 13-10 against HCAC foes.
AROUND THE HCAC: All nine Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference teams will be in action this week, as the league measures itself against non-conference foes. The biggest clash of the opening week will be at Franklin, where the #13 Grizzlies will host the #2 Mount Union Purple Raiders. In other key games around the conference, Defiance will host #34 Albion, Hanover will travel to Illinois College and Rose-Hulman will host Kalamazoo.
ONLINE WEBCASTS: Defiance College would like to thank Hubbard Company, Mark Moats Ford and The Plaza Motel for their support of the Yellow Jacket Sports Network in 2012. Each of DC's five home football games in 2012, along with the road games at Adrian and Bluffton will be broadcast live at www.DefianceAthletics.com/video. Past broadcasts will also be archived and available at that link.