McDaniel didn’t really put a full game together, first-year coach Demarcus White said, over the first five weeks of the season.
With the Centennial Conference in its bye week, White said the Green Terror used their extra time as wisely as possible.
“We basically hit the reset button,” the coach said. “It was an opportunity for us to really get back to the basics and the fundamentals of the game.”
McDaniel (3-2, 2-2 Centennial) travels to Dickinson on Saturday to begin the second half of the season, and White said he’s looking for his players to be aggressive. The Terror need to break their habit of only showing up in stages, he said.
That’s what likely cost McDaniel in its previous game, when Juniata came to the Hill and dropped the home team 28-14. The Eagles led 14-0 at halftime.
“That was a huge emphasis for us during the bye week of just learning how to perform the entire time, 60 minutes rather than 30 minutes,” White said. “We did a lot of work as far as self evaluation, some of the things we do really well. Some of the things that we need to continue to get better at and correct, in all three phases. We kind of treated our bye week like training camp.”
Dickinson (2-3, 1-3) has lost three of its last four games, but the Red Devils have already faced Centennial stalwarts Johns Hopkins and Muhlenberg. Dickinson has three running backs with more than 200 rushing yards so far this year, led by Phillip Butler (294, three touchdowns).
The Green Terror’s defense has forced at least one turnover in each game this year, and their plus-2.8 margin is the best in all of college football (tied with Texas Lutheran).
Jarius Ransom played against Juniata despite being a game-time decision because of back spasms, and the senior linebacker set a career high with 14 tackles. Ransom is averaging 9.8 tackles, fourth best in the Centennial.
McDaniel’s recent history coming off a bye isn’t good, however, with an 0-8 record in its last eight tries. White said playing with intensity will be pivotal.
“We need to start extremely fast,” White said. “If we don’t come into Dickinson with the mindset of, we have to take this game ... I think that it could be a long day for us.”
McDaniel’s offense struggled against Juniata, with a mere 67 passing yards. But the Terror have shown some balance through five games — 16 different players have contributed, with 12 players having caught at least one pass and only three receivers with double-digit receptions.
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Brendan Bandy leads the squad with 15 catches while Nick Alberto has 14 with one score. Colin Fisher has 13 grabs with one touchdown but a team-high 205 yards. Perry Stefanelli leads a group of seven players with at least one rushing attempt. He has 68 carries for 281 yards with two touchdowns.