McDaniel College is 2-0 for the second time in as many seasons, and first-year coach Demarcus White called last week’s last-second victory at Moravian “a program turning point.”
Two years ago, the Green Terror took their 2-0 to Franklin & Marshall and built a 14-point lead in the second half only to lose 43-41. McDaniel won the following week, but ended the year on a six-game losing streak.
Perhaps White and the Terror are facing a second turning point in as many weeks.
McDaniel won last week despite struggling on offense, but its defense forced seven turnovers and the Green Terror prevailed when Nick Alberto snagged a 9-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Palermiti with 12 seconds to play. This week they head to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to play a Diplomats team that is 2-0 and coming off a 54-0 blowout against Juniata.
Franklin & Marshall’s 89 points are the most for a Centennial Conference team so far this season.
White said he talked to his players Monday about the opportunity that lies ahead.
“Put yourselves in a situation where, really, the ball can bounce either way,” White said. “Now from there, who’s tough-willed enough to be able to have the resiliency to be able to ... finish?”
F&M is 2-0 for the third year in a row, and the Dips racked up more than 500 yards on offense last week. McDaniel held them down in last year’s meeting at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium, but still lost 21-14.
The Terror are trying to end a 15-game losing skid against Franklin & Marshall, and White said leaning on a defense that leads the country in turnover margin (plus-9) for Division III is a definite.
“It’s not too often you’ll get a chance to see a performance like that,” White said about McDaniel’s seven turnovers. “But I’m proud of those guys. Win the physical battle, and then good things will happen. I thought we matured from the first week to the second week.”
The offense had its moments, but things will likely need to improve going forward. McDaniel amassed 56 net rushing yards, and Palermiti completed only 16 of 35 passes for 150 yards.
Alberto had a career day, however, with eight catches for 68 yards and the junior’s first collegiate touchdown.
Nah’shon Godfrey sparked McDaniel’s defense with nine tackles, two interceptions, a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass breakup. Godfrey earned Centennial Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.
“Last week showed us that we can win as a team,” White said. “And it’s a team sport. It was really a program win. And I think it’s a program turning point that we were able to have our backs against the wall and we were able to have some resolve and work ourselves out of that situation and come out victorious.”
White said the Terror lost freshman receiver Jevon Hamilton (four receptions, 32 yards) to a knee injury last week, but for the most part his team heads into Week 3 healthy and motivated to get to 3-0 for the first time since 2010.