October 24, 2014

DelVal Football - Game preview Vs Misericordia

Photo courtesy of Delaware Valley Sports Information
DOYLESTOWN (PA) – The nationally-ranked and undefeated Delaware Valley College football team will host Misericordia University for a Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) contest on Saturday, October 25. It will also be Breast Cancer Awareness Day (wear your pink!) and kickoff will take at 1:00 p.m. at Robert A. Lipinski Field at James Work Memorial Stadium.

The Aggies, who moved up one spot to 21st in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll and a spot to 23rd in the D3football.com, are a perfect 6-0 overall and 5-0 in the MAC. They are tied with Widener University atop the conference standings and are scheduled to meet their archrival for the regular-season finale in Chester on November 15. However, there are three games before then starting with Misericordia this week.

Delaware Valley is coming off a solid, 35-13 road victory against a Stevenson University squad that entered the match-up with a 4-1 overall record and a 3-1 mark in the MAC. The Aggies jumped out to a 14-0 halftime lead and held the Mustangs scoreless for three quarters. After Stevenson closed the gap to 14-6 early in the fourth, Delaware Valley responded by scoring 21 of the game's final 28 points.

While the Aggies notched 35 points and 457 total yards, both figures, incredibly, dropped the team's season averages. Delaware Valle is now eighth in Division III in total offense (523.5 avg), ninth in scoring (47.7 avg) and14th in passing (317.2 avg). The unit is not ranked nationally in rushing, but they are tops in the conference with an average of 206.3 yards per contest.

The senior trio of wide receiver Rasheed Bailey, tailback Chris Smallwood and quarterback Aaron Wilmer are having years to remember and they are ranked in the top 20 in Division III in a combined 16 categories, including 10 in the top 10.

Bailey leads the country in both total receiving yards (1,053) and receiving yards per game (175.5 avg) and he is also second in receiving touchdowns with 12. That touchdown figure has already tied the school's single-season record (Rich Gear in 10 games in 2001) while the 1,053 yards is only 156 behind the record that was set by David Carmon in 13 games in 2004. He caught six passes (upping his season total to 43) at Stevenson for 150 yards and two scores.

Smallwood was named to the MAC Honor Roll for his performance at Stevenson as he carried the ball 34 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the second time that Smallwood was recognized by the MAC (he was the Offensive Player of the Week for the Wilkes game) and also the sixth time in as many weeks that an Aggie offensive player earned a conference honor (Bailey and Wilmer have each been the player of the week on two occasions).

Smallwood is fourth in Division III in rushing touchdowns (13), seventh in scoring (13.0 avg), 11th in total rushing yards (838) and 12th in rushing yards per game (139.7 avg). He has gone over the 100-yard mark in four of the six games and is 162 yards away from hitting the 1,000-yard milestone, a feat that has been accomplished just 10 prior times in program history.

Wilmer is in the top five nationally in five categories as he is second in passing efficiency (202.3 rating), sixth in total offense (349.5 avg), sixth in points responsible per game (24.0 avg), eighth in points responsible for (144) and ninth in passing yards per game (317.2 avg). He has completed 101 of 157 passes for 1,903 yards, 19 touchdowns and just three interceptions while also rushing for 194 yards and five scores. Last week, Wilmer was 14-for-22 for 260 yards and two touchdowns. He needs 168 yards this week to hit the coveted, 9,000-yard passing mark in his standout career.

Defensively, Delaware Valley is sixth in the MAC in points allowed (29.2 avg) and rushing yardage (132.8 avg). They are eighth in total yardage (393.7 avg) and 10th in passing (260.8 avg). The unit does have 23 sacks and 10 turnovers (six fumbles, four interceptions to its credit.

Junior safety Danny Wynne was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort in the Stevenson game as he notched 14 tackles (nine solo) and a forced fumble in the victory. He has a conference-best 63 tackles on the year to go along with two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

The linebacking trio of sophomores Frank Law and Chris Kitchen as well as freshman Ethan Snyder follow with 36, 34 and 33 tackles respectively. The three combined for 11 tackles against Stevenson while Law also picked up his fourth sack of the season (second on the team).

The fourth starting linebacker in the 3-4 system is junior Rashaad Lighty. Lighty is tied for the conference lead in sacks with six and he also has 34 tackles to his credit. At Stevenson, he notched three tackles and one sack.


Now in their third year of collegiate competition, the Cougars are 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the MAC with their lone triumph being a 35-0 home blanking of FDU-Florham back on September 20. In fact, Misericordia's two lone victories in program history have come at the expense of the Devils as the Cougars defeated them last year as well.

Misericordia, which had a bye last week, is ninth out of 10 teams in the MAC in scoring with an average of 14.5 points per game. The squad is seventh in total offense (267.2 yards per game), but its rushing attack is second behind only Delaware Valley as they average 198.2 yards per game.

Junior quarterback Jeff Puckett does most of the damage on the ground as he has rushed the ball 137 times for 640 yards and six touchdowns. The yardage total is second in the conference, trailing only Smallwood. In the air, Puckett is 43-for-97 for 337 yards and two touchdowns.

Sophomore Ryan Kurtz and junior Robin Custudio have netted 195 and 111 rushing yards respectively. Kurtz has done so on 40 carries (4.9 avg) while Custudio has taken the handoff 39 times (2.8 avg). Custudio and his brother, Randy, are tied for team-high honors in receptions. Robin Custudio has 40 receiving yards while Randy Custudio, a freshman, has 75 yards.

On the defensive side of the ball, Misericordia is last in the MAC in scoring (36.7 avg), rushing (229.0 avg) and total yardage (446.3 avg). The unit does have 10 sacks on the year and has forced eight fumbles (recovered sixth).

Sophomores Rob Hart and Zak LaNunziata pace the unit with 39 and 33 tackles respectively. Hart is a linebacker while LaNunziata is one of the team's safeties.

Tackles Donald Bender and Fredo Santorelli have two sacks apiece to lead the Cougars. Bender also has 23 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery to his credit while Santorelli has made 21 stops.