Geneva College (7-1) vs. (#10) Thomas More College (8-0)
2:00 pm – Bank of Kentucky Field
Crestview Hills, KY
For the second consecutive season Geneva falls between two of the biggest games of the season on the Thomas More schedule. For the second year in a row, the Golden Tornadoes will be facing the recently crowned PAC champions. If recent history means anything, Geneva has the undefeated Saints right where they want them. Last week, Thomas More improved to 8-0 with an impressive 14-7 victory over Washington & Jefferson to clinch its second consecutive conference title. The same scenario played out in 2008 when the Golden Tornadoes stunned Thomas More in week nine just one week after a Saint’s victory over W & J had clinched its first PAC title.
The Saints will face arch rival Mt. St. Joseph in the final week of the season so how much attention is being paid to a 7-1 Geneva team that comes into the weekend riding a four game winning streak? The answer is a simple one. A lot of attention is being paid to this game against a Geneva team that has upended Thomas More twice in the last two years including a 10-9 victory in 2007 that was also Geno DeMarco’s 100th career victory.
While Thomas More was busy dispatching Washington & Jefferson last week, the Golden Tornadoes were in the process of putting 54 points on the board in the first 2 ½ quarters against Bethany in a 54-21 rout of the Bison. The victory clinched Geneva’s first undefeated home regular season since 1995. The 7-1 start is the best since Geneva’s 11-2 season of 1997. Geneva continues to get the job done on offense with its 37 points per game which ranks second in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. The senior class of 2009 celebrated its final regular season home game with a total of five touchdowns from the senior running back tandem of Matt Barge and Matt Dean. Barge scored a career high three touchdowns while Barge scored for the 11th and 12th time in 2009. Gerard Muschette, the third member of Geneva’s lethal running attack rushed for 153 yards on 14 carries and continues to lead the PAC with his 111.8 yards per game average.
Not to be overshadowed is Geneva’s efficient passing attack. Junior David Girardi completed 14-20 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown. For the season, Girardi ranks fourth in passing efficiency with a completion percentage near 65%. While the offense has certainly been putting up impressive numbers, the amount of offense generated by the defense and special teams is almost unthinkable. In eight games, the defense and special teams have scored six touchdowns including kick returns from AJ and Jake Delmonico in successive weeks. Jake Delmonico scored on a Geneva record setting 93 yard punt return in the victory over Bethany while AJ took a kickoff back 74 yards against Saint Vincent two weeks ago.
The Thomas More defense has allowed only 12.5 points per game this season and has allowed an opponent more than 20 points only once in 2009. The Geneva running game will have some work to do against a Saints defense that leads the PAC by allowing only 57 yards per game on the ground. Big games are usually won and lost in the turnover battle and both teams have proven to be opportunistic on defense. Geneva leads the PAC with 25 takeaways while the Saints have enjoyed 19 defensive turnovers including 15 interceptions.
Quarterback Trevor Stellman has thrown for 15 touchdowns while completing 64% of his passes this year. His favorite receiving target is also the most prolific rushing weapon for the Saints. Senior Cordario Collier leads Thomas More with 679 yards of rushing and 336 yards receiving. He has found the end zone ten times in 2009 while leading the PAC in all-purpose yards with an average of 126.9 yards per game.
While Thomas More heads to rival Mt. St. Joseph next week, the Golden Tornadoes will also be facing a long time friend in Westminster College. Geneva will travel to New Wilmington for the 112th edition of “The Game” to take on a Titans team that has dropped two straight to the Golden Tornadoes since being reunited within the Presidents’ Athletic Conference.