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GAMEDAY CENTRAL - Defiance vs. Manchester - Game Five

GAMEDAY CENTRAL - Defiance vs. Manchester - Game Five

DEFIANCE, Ohio -  Defiance will host Manchester as part of the 2009 Homecoming activities on Saturday, October 10. The game figures to be a ground war, with DC and MC each ranking among the top four teams in the Heartland Conference in rushing, while ranking as the bottom two passing attacks in the league.

Scouting Defiance - Defiance will need to get its ground game on track in order to snap a three-game losing streak which has seen the Jackets get outscored by a 112-39 score. The Jackets have faced key injuries in the backfield and on the offensive line, limiting the squad to 77.7 rushing yards per game during that span. Nick Wiedenhoft has carried the offense during that time by catching 17 passes for 231 yards. DC's defense ranks third in the HCAC with nine sacks and is anchored by the trio of Kyle Longsdorf, Chuck Bowman and Matt King who have tallied a combined 98 tackles, 13 tackles for lost yardage and three sacks.

Scouting Manchester - The Spartans are coming off an impressive, 20-17, home victory against Rose-Hulman. The Manchester defense limited a high-powered Engineer offense to just 68 rushing yards and 266 total yards of offense and paved the way to a 33:55 to 26:05 edge in time of possession. That has been the formula to success for MC in 2009, as the Spartans lead the HCAC in average time of possession (34:00) and rushing defense (82.0 ypg). Manchester uses the ground game to fuel its offense, as quarterback Justin Minnich and running back Brandon Wells rank second and fourth in the conference and have combined for 157.5 rushing yards per game and seven rushing touchdowns this season.

Last Meeting - A slow start did in the Jackets against Manchester in the last meeting between the two schools. DC trailed 20-0 at the half and suffered a 20-7 defeat in North Manchester, Indiana, back on October 11, 2008. The Spartans dominated the time of possession battle by a 37:29 to 22:31 gap and racked up 209 rushing yards on 48 carries. Brandon Wells did much of the damage with 167 rushing yards and five catches for 35 yards. Travis Guisinger countered for the Jackets with a game-high 14 tackles, while Kyle Longsdorf added 10 in the game which saw Manchester pile up 18 more plays that Defiance.

Series History - Defiance and Manchester will be squaring off for the 43rd time in the head-to-head matchup between the two schools which dates back to 1926. The Yellow Jackets scored a 6-0 win in that meeting and hold a 26-16 edge in the all-time series. The matchup has been very competitive in recent history, with Defiance holding a 3-2 edge over the last five and having outscored Manchester by a 101-81 margin.

Honoring The 1969 Team - The 2009 season marks the 40th anniversary of DC's last unbeaten team, which went 9-0 in 1969. That squad outscored its opposition by a staggering, 283-55, margin under head coach Roger Merb and claimed the second of three-straight Mid-Ohio Conference Championships. The nine victories were part of DC's record-setting streaks of 18-straight wins and nine-straight conference wins from 1968-1970. Merb ranks as the second-winningest coach in Defiance history with a 30-6 record during his four seasons from 1967-1970 on the sidelines and still boasts the best winning percentage in program history, with a stellar .833 clip.

Taylor's Tally - DC head coach Rob Taylor moved into fourth on the program's all-time wins list with the 13-7 victory against Muskingum in the season opener. Taylor now has 28 coaching victories at DC and needs just two more wins to tie Roger Merb (1967-1970) as the second-winningest coach in program history. Malen Luke (1988-1993) holds the all-time wins mark with 36 in only 58 games with the Yellow Jackets.

Jensen Facing Familiar Foes - First-year defensive coordinator, Nate Jensen, will see several familiar faces on the opposing sideline when Manchester and Defiance face off. A 2004 graduate of DC, Jensen has returned to the Purple and Gold after spending the previous five seasons as the defensive backs and linebackers coach at Manchester. During his time with MC, Jensen saw the Spartans place 12 defensive players on the All-HCAC Team. 

Jackets Among The HCAC Leaders - The Jackets have several players among the statistical leaders in the conference. Kyle Longsdorf tops the charts with 1.5 tackles for lost yardage per game and is sixth with 9.5 hits per game. Chuck Bowman is fifth with 1.12 hits for negative yardage per game and 10th with 0.5 sacks per outing. Travis Guisinger ranks second with five passes defended, while Joel Billings and Troy Huelskamp rank sixth and seventh with 0.75 and 0.50 sacks per game. Tom Foos is second with his 38.2 yards per punt, Rick Powell ranks ninth with 96.5 total yards of offense per game and Nick Wiedenhoft is 10th with just under 4.3 receptions per contest.

Online Webcast - Defiance would like to remind its fans that if you are not able to attend one of the home games in 2009 that you can still catch all the action live and at no cost. Just go to www.DefianceAthletics.com/video to catch the action. The pregame show will begin at 12:45 pm with Jim Funderburg calling the action. A very special thanks to the Hubbard Company, Mark Moats Ford and First Insurance and Investments for helping to make this possible.

Around The HCAC - No. 42 Mount St. Joseph (4-0, 2-0 HCAC) and No. 23 Franklin (3-1, 1-0 HCAC) have combined to win the last five Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference titles and look poised to battle for the championship once again. Those two teams are joined atop the league standings by Hanover (1-3, 1-0 HCAC) and Manchester (1-3, 1-0 HCAC). Defiance, Anderson and Bluffton all stand at 0-1 in conference play, with Rose-Hulman the lone 0-2 squad.

What's On Tap - The Purple and Gold will face a pair of upcoming road tests in the HCAC with a game at Rose-Hulman on October 17 and a contest at Anderson on October 24. The next home game for Defiance will be October 31, when the Jackets host Hanover at 1:30 pm.