DEFIANCE, Ohio - Defiance will be hoping to earn its third-straight victory overall and its fifth-straight against Hanover when it hosts the Panthers at Justin F. Coressel Stadium in Saturday's 1:30 pm game. Fans can follow the action online by viewing the free webcast or following the live stats.
Scouting Defiance - Defiance has showcased an aggressive defense since the start of the conference schedule and enters play on Saturday among the top three teams in the league in scoring defense, total defense, passing defense and rushing defense. Over DC's last three games, the Yellow Jacket defense has allowed just 16.0 points per contest, while racking up 30 hits for negative yardage, 13 sacks and nine interceptions.
Scouting Hanover - The Panthers will look to a potent offense to try to snap a current three-game skid when they take the field on Saturday. Hanover has scored 24.6 points on 331.6 total yards of offense per game in 2009 and is led by freshman quarterback C.J. Croft, who leads the HCAC with 281.8 total yards of offense per game and ranks third with 244.7 passing yards per outing. Croft's main target is Daniel Passafiume, who leads the league with 10.86 catches and 109.7 yards per game.
Last Meeting - The Yellow Jackets used a 21-0 rally to overcome an early deficit at Hanover on November 1, 2008 and got a 38-yard field goal from Tom Foos in overtime to pull out a thrilling, 31-28, win. The Panthers piled up 40 completions for 346 yards through the air and DC countered with 42 carries for 150 yards. Rick Powell led the offense by tossing 16 completions for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing eight times for 35 yards in the win. Kyle Longsdorf and Travis Guisinger teamed for 15 tackles in the secondary, while Matt King anchored the linebackers with seven hits and 2.5 stops for lost yardage.
Series History - Defiance has struggled in the all-time series with Hanover, with the Panthers owning a 17-11 edge over the 28 contests on the gridiron between the two schools. The Jackets have closed the gap in recent years however, as DC has posted four-straight wins against Hanover, while outscoring HC by a hefty, 112-63, margin in those contests.
Taylor's Tally - DC head coach Rob Taylor moved into a tie for second place on the school's all-time wins lists after leading the Yellow Jackets to a 20-7 road win against Anderson on October 24. Taylor enters play on Saturday with 30 wins and is tied with Roger Merb (1967-1970), who posted a 30-6 clip in four years with Defiance. A win against Hanover would move Taylor into sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list and just five away from Malen Luke's (1988-1993) program record of 36 victories.
Sierra and Bonilla Earn HCAC Honors - DC earned a pair of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Week awards for the second-straight week after taking a 20-7 win at Anderson. Anthony Sierra was tabbed as the league's outstanding defensive performer after tying a school record with three interceptions and returning one 27 yards for a touchdown. Alex Bonilla was named the Special Teams Player of the Week after hitting field goals from 24 and 32 yards out and splitting the uprights on each of his point-after attempts. The award was the second in a row for Sierra and the third of Bonilla's career.
Sierra Repeats as Member of D3football.com Team of the Week - Freshman cornerback, Anthony Sierra, turned in another standout performance in DC's 20-7 win at Anderson and was named to the www.D3football.com National Team of the Week for the second-straight week. Sierra has been on a roll, hauling in five interceptions in Defiance's last two games and returning one for a touchdown in consecutive games.
Jackets Among the HCAC Leaders - The Jackets have several players among the statistical leaders in the conference. On offense, Drew Kuesel rates sixth in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference with 49.6 rushing yards per game and Rick Powell is ninth with 100.6 total yards of offense per game. Tom Foos continues his strong punting and is second in the league with an average punt of 38.5 yards. Dustin Supan leads a strong secondary with 10 passes defended and is second in the HCAC in that category, while ranking fourth with three interceptions and second with an average punt return of 11.0 yards. Anthony Sierra's recent surge puts him first in the league with five picks and sixth with seven passes defended, while Kyle Longsdorf is second with 1.57 tackles for a loss per game and sixth with 10.4 hits per contest. Andre Osby had three sacks in DC's win at Anderson and is second in the HCAC with 1.14 per game and sixth in the league in hits for negative yards per game with 1.21. Troy Huelskamp is also among the conference leaders, rating fourth with 0.86 sacks per game and tenth with 0.93 tackles for lost yardage per outing.
Online Webcasts - 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 - The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's last two unbeaten teams will square off on Saturday when No. 29 Mount St. Joseph (5-0) travels to Manchester (4-0) to battle for the inside track at the HCAC Championship. In other action, Franklin (3-1) will play at Rose-Hulman (2-3), while Bluffton (0-4) hosts Anderson (0-4).
What's on Tap - A road date at No. 29 Mount St. Joseph awaits the Yellow Jackets next Saturday with kickoff slated for 1:00 pm. The game at MSJ (7-0, 5-0 HCAC) will be DC's final road test of the 2009 campaign, before returning to Justin F. Coressel Stadium to host Bluffton (0-4, 0-7 HCAC) on November 14 in the final game of the season.