Despite Western Maryland's 38-17 loss at Gettysburg on Saturday, there was reason to be optimistic about the potential of Tim Keating's pro-style offense led by sophomore quarterback Brian Van Deusen.
The Atholton graduate threw the ball 52 times, completing 29 (both school and Centennial Conference records) for 337 yards.
Five turnovers (three interceptions and two fumbles) doomed th Green Terrors, but mistakes will come early on as the offense adjusts to the new system.
After Western Maryland's 16-14 win against Juniata in th
season opener, Keating said the team would need to get the ball more to senior wide receiver Paul McCord. They did. McCord, who started the past two years at quarterback, caught nine passes for 227 yards.
Senior running back Rob Johnson (North Carroll) is third on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,638 yards after running for 79 on 18 carries against Gettysburg.
The Green Terrors will look for their first conference win Saturday when they play host to Ursinus.
The Bears (1-1) dropped their conference opener to Franklin & Marshall, 20-9, last Saturday after opening the season with a win over Worcester Tech.
It will be a reunion of sorts for Ursinus coach Steve Gilbert and Keating. In 1982, they helped guide Penn to an Ivy League title as assistant coaches under Jerry Burndt.
Ursinus will look to keep the Green Terrors' offense off the field with a potent running game led by senior Bill Sedgwick. In the first two games, he has rushed for a conference-leading 340 yards and three touchdowns.
The Bears' defense is led by two preseason All-America inside linebackers in Brian Edens and Paul Guenther -- both three-year starters.
If the Bears can't maintain possession of the ball, it could mean another big day for Van Deusen and the Green Terrors' offense. In the Bears' first two games, the defense has allowed an average of 203 yards in the air.
The Western Maryland men and women had solid showings in the Howard Express Invitational on Saturday at Howard Community College.
The men took second out of the nine teams that fielded complete teams.
Greg Davis finished seventh, covering the 5.2-mile course in 3 minutes, 2 seconds, and Jim Holford took 10th in 30:14. Both are Westminster High graduates. Francis Scott Key graduate Jim Clarius was 18th in 30:49.
The women finished third overall behind the solid effort of Kendra Weible, who took third individually by running the 3.3-mile course in 22:08.
This Saturday, the runners will compete in the Dickinson College
Open at Carlisle (Pa.) High School.
There's no question the Green Terrors miss the scoring punch of Julie Cox.
While the Liberty High graduate -- who had a record-setting freshman season last year with 18 goals and five assists -- is
turning her attention toward track and field year-round, the Green Terrors have yet to score a goal.
On Tuesday, the Green Terrors fell to 0-4 with a 1-0 setback to Goucher. At this time last year, the Green Terrors were 3-1 and Cox had nine goals.
They'll try to get on the scoreboard today when they play host t the College of Notre Dame at 4:30 p.m.