Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lycoming and Stevenson to Clash in Battle of Unbeatens

In 2013, Craig Needhammer (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) highlighted the day for the Warriors, as he rushed 41 times for 162 yards and a touchdown, caught one pass for 17 yards and a score and also had 65 yards of return yardage for 244 all-purpose yards.
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. - Two of the four undefeated teams left in the Middle Atlantic Conference are set for a showdown at David Person Field on Saturday, Oct. 4 as the 25th-ranked Lycoming College football team takes on fourth-year program Stevenson University in the first big benchmark game for the Warriors during the 2014 season.

After winning the first four games by at least two touchdowns, the Warriors (4-0 overall, 3-0 MAC) will face the Mustangs (4-0 overall, 3-0 MAC), who have won each of their last three games by less than a touchdown.

The game is also a battle between two of the best running backs in the league, as senior Craig Needhammer (104.5) is third in the league in rushing and Stevenson's Trey Lee (99.8) is fourth.

Game Notes
• With 216 points off 36 career touchdowns, senior Craig Needhammer is six points shy of the school record of 222 held by John Phillips (1989-92).

• Needhammer is also 111 yards shy of becoming the third running back in school history to post 3,000 rushing yards in a career.

• Senior Tyler Jenny needs 22 more completions to become the third player in school history to post 400 in a career.

• Junior Cole Welham leads the MAC with five sacks and the Warriors lead the MAC with 16.

• Junior Mike Gentile leads the MAC with six passes defended and he is tied for first with three interceptions.

• The Warriors have won their last eight games at David Person Field, the most since a school-record 26-game home winning streak from 1994-98.

Scouting Lycoming
Offense: Multiple/Pro-Style
The Warriors enter the week third in the Middle Atlantic Conference with a scoring average of 30.8 points per game, while the team's 373.8 yards of total offense also ranks third.

Senior Craig Needhammer is one of the most versatile players in the MAC, as he is third in the league in rushing yards (104.5) and second in kickoff return yardage (33.0), leaving him with a hefty average of 171.8 all-purpose yards per game.

Senior Tyler Jenny is starting his 25th consecutive game for the Warriors and he is looking for his 20th win. He is enjoying a fine season through the first four games, leading the league with a .644 completion percentage and his 156.4 passing efficiency rating is third in the league.

Defense: 4-3
Having given up just five touchdowns in the first four games, the Warriors are amongst the top defenses in Division III early this year. The team leads the MAC in third-down conversion percentage (.218), first downs allowed (53), passing defense (133.3), red zone defense (.500), passing efficiency defense (78.82), sacks (4.00) and total defense (214.0).

The Warriors have been able to consistently pressure behind the line of scrimmage, as the team has notched 35.0 tackles for loss this year. Two Warriors are in the top 10 in the MAC in the category, with junior Cole Welham tied for the league lead at 2.13 per game and senior Jimmy Nottingham is eighth with 1.38 per game.

Junior linebacker Brian Campbell has led the team through the first four games, making 28 stops, including 4.0 for loss. Junior cornerback Matt Malecki has added 23 tackles, 3.0 for loss, and he also has one interception.

Scouting Stevenson
Offense: Multiple

Stevenson enters the game ranked fifth in the MAC in scoring offense (20.0), eighth in total offense (255.3), fourth in rushing offense (153.8), and ninth in passing offense (101.5).

The team is led by a pair of freshmen quarterbacks in Daniel Williams and Jeff Farrah. Williams has completed 22-of-45 passing for 211 yards  and Farrah has completed 14-of-41 passing for 155 yards and three touchdowns.

Sophomore Trey Lee paces the team's offense out of the tailback position, as he enters today's game fourth in the MAC with 399 yards and three touchdowns

Defense: 3-4
The Mustangs are ranked second in the MAC in scoring defense (9.8), third in total defense (247.8), second in rushing defense (74.8) and sixth in passing defense (173.0).

Stevenson's defense has been key throughout its first four games, as they have allowed just five touchdowns, the same amount as the Warriors. The team has been especially tough against the run, not allowing a rushing touchdown this year. The Mustangs also lead the MAC with nine interceptions, led by two each from senior Shane Clough and junior Billy Lewis.

Sophomore linebacker Cory Pietrzyk leads the team with 33 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss. Sophomore defensive back Austin Tennesse has added 24 stops, an interception and four breakups.

The Hammer watch
Senior Craig Needhammer is on the verge of breaking more school records. He enters the Stevenson game just six points shy of John Phillips' record of 222 total points scored. A kicker, Phillips posted 132 point-after attempts and 30 field goals in his career from 1989-92. Needhammer is in full view of several other records as his 13 100-yard rushing games is two shy of the record of 15 set by Brian Thompson (1995-98). He is also 363 all-purpose yards shy of the school record of 4,474 set by Kleinfelter from 2007-10 and 776 rushing yards shy of Kleinfelter's mark of 3,665 yards.

Quest for 1,000
Senior John Sibel and junior Ryan Umpleby have formed a solid 1-2 punch in the receiving corps this year and both are on the verge of an impressive milestone. Sibel needs just 48 more yards receiving to become the 21st player in school history to post 1,000 in a career while Umpleby is close behind, needing just 100 more yards to hit the milestone.

Mr. 60
Senior Tyler Jenny is on pace to leave his own distinguished mark on the school's record book. The quarterback has posted a 19-5 (.792) record as a starter, which is the sixth-most wins in school history. In his 24 starts, Jenny has completed more than 60 percent of his passes in 19 games, helping the team to a 17-2 (.895) record in those games. Jenny also needs just one more touchdown thrown or scored to  become the fifth player in school history to be responsible for 50 in a career.

Leading the Pack
The Lycoming defense is again one of the best in the nation through the first four weeks of the season, sitting seventh in pass efficiency defense (78.82), eighth in total defense (214.0), eighth in red zone defense (0.500), 14th in sacks (4.0) and 14th in scoring defense (10.0).

It's Been A While
The Warriors are 4-0 for the first time since 2003, when the team went on to the NCAA quarterfinals and finished with a 9-2 record. However, that squad lost to Delaware Valley, 37-28, during the fifth week. The last time a team opened the season 5-0 was 1999, when the Warriors completed a perfect 9-0 regular season for the fourth straight year. Head coach Mike Clark was an assistant to the legendary Frank Girardi on that squad, along with defensive coordinator Steve Wiser and linebackers coach Mike Weber, who are still on the sidelines today.