DEFIANCE, Ohio - Defiance will open its 2009 season on Saturday with a non-conference tilt against Muskingum. The Jackets will be looking for their fifth-straight victory, after winning each of their final four games in 2008.
Scouting Defiance - The Yellow Jackets will open 2009 with the hopes of picking up where they left off, when they won the last four games of the 2008 campaign. Defiance will return 15 starters and 37 letterwinners from last season. The Jackets will likely rely on a powerful ground game which fueled the team's late-season success in 2008 by averaging 161.2 rushing yards per game over the last four contests. Sophomore Drew Kuesel will lead the way in the backfield for the Jackets, after averaging 51.4 yards per game in shared time during his freshman season.
Scouting Muskingum - The Muskies will welcome back 16 starters and 26 lettermen for the 2009 season with the hopes of continuing their climb up the Ohio Athletic Conference. Muskingum bounced back from a winless effort in 2007 to go 3-7 in 2008 behind a powerful passing attack. That offense is led by Jake Burns, who passed for 225.0 yards per game one year ago, while setting school records for passing yards, passing completions and passing touchdowns. O.J. Diomedi will pace the defense once again, after picking up 63 tackles in 2008.
Last Meeting - Muskingum handed DC a 35-10 defeat in last year's season opener. The Muskies jumped to a 21-0 advantage and never looked back. The Jackets converted only one-of-12 third-down opportunities and were outgained by a 358-158 margin. Austin Karcher accounted for much of that offense for Defiance, by completing 13-of-20 attempts for 78 yards.
Series History - DC has never beaten Muskingum in the short history between the two programs. Saturday's meeting will be just the third between the two schools on the gridiron, with Muskingum winning each of the previous two.
Online Webcast - Defiance is happy to announce that its five home football games will be available for fans to watch online at no cost. Just go to www.DefianceAthletics.com/video to catch the action. Jim Funderburg will be providing the play-by-play, with the pregame show starting at 12:45 pm. This coverage is made possible by Mark Moats Ford, Hubbard Company and First Insurance and Investments.
Taylor's Tally - DC head coach Rob Taylor climbed into a tie for fourth on the program's all-time wins list with four wins to end the 2008 campaign. Taylor will enter the 2009 season with 27 coaching victories and will move past Mike Snyder (1974-1978) with his next win. Taylor needs just three more victories to tie Roger Merb (1967-1970) for the second-winningest coach in DC history. Malen Luke (1988-1993) holds the all-time wins mark with 36 in only 58 games on the sidelines for the Yellow Jackets.
Around the HCAC - Every Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference football team will be in action this weekend with eight non-conference games on the slate. Manchester, Bluffton, Hanover and Defiance will all open at home, with Anderson, Rose-Hulman, Franklin and Mount St. Joseph set to open the 2009 season on the road. The race for the HCAC Championship is set to begin on September 26, when Rose-Hulman hosts Mount St. Joseph at 2:00 pm.
What's on Tap - The Purple and Gold will renew its 'Border War' with Adrian College, when it hosts the Bulldogs on Saturday, September 12. Kickoff for the 56th all-time meeting on the gridiron between the two rivals is set for 1:30 pm inside of Justin F. Coressel Stadium.