Toreros open 2011 Campaign Saturday at Azusa Pacific

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Mason Mills to lead Torero offensive attack
USDTOREROSDOTCOM
Mason Mills to lead Torero offensive attack
USDTOREROSDOTCOM

Aug. 30, 2011

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GAME #1: The USD Toreros (0-0) open up their 2011 campaign this coming Saturday, September 3rd, with a non-conference tilt against Azusa Pacific University (0-0). Kickoff is slated for 6:00 p.m. at Citrus Stadium (next door to Azusa Pacific University).

DIRECTIONS TO CITRUS STADIUM: (from the south) Take Interstate 5 north to the 57 Freeway north. Take the Interstate 210 west. Take "Citrus Ave." exit and turn right on frontage road (Baseline Ave.). Turn left on Barranca Ave. Cross Alosta Ave. and turn left into Citrus Stadium parking. (also from the south) Take Interstate 15 north to Interstate 210 west. Take "Citrus Ave." exit and repeat above directions.

TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices for USD home football games are $12 (reserved), $10 (general admission) and $8 (kids 4-12). Information about Season tickets, Group tickets, and Special offers can be found at www.usdtoreros.com. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the ticket office at (619) 260-755O.

SERIES RECORD: This is the 44th meeting between the USD Toreros and Azusa Pacific Cougars, with the host Cougars owing a 22-21 advantage... The Toreros saw their 5-game win streak end last year in San Diego as the APU Cougars dealt the USD a 42-14 loss... APU quarterback John van den Raadt completed 15-25 passes for 156 yards and 1 TD, and added 158 yards rushing on the ground on just 12 carries... USD was paced by QB Sam Scudellari (15-31 for 188 yards and 2 TDs), WR Kyle Warren (4 catches for 104 yards, 2 TDs), RB Kenslow Smith (16 carries for 52 yards), DE Kellan Barker (10 tackles), LB Joe Martin (8 tackles) and DE Mario Kurn (7 tackles, 2 breakups and 1 QB hurry).

WEBCAST/VIDEO STREAM: Saturday's contest will be webcast live with Jack Cronin calling the action. Pre-game begins at 5:40 pm. The audio will be streamed at www.usdtoreros.com. Click on the Listen link from the USD website main page.

PFL STANDINGS/SCHEDULE FOR SEPT. 1ST-3RD: Butler (0-0), Campbell (0-0), Davidson (0-0),Dayton (0-0), Drake (0-0), Jacksonville (0-0), Marist (0-0), Morehead State (0-0), San Diego (0-0) and Valparaiso (0-0). This week's PFL games: (Thu., Sept. 1st) Kentucky Christian at Morehead State, Drake at North Dakota. (Sat., Sept. 3rd) Albion at Butler, Dayton at Robert Morris, Davidson at Georgetown, Campbell at Old Dominion, Jacksonville at The Citadel, Marist at Sacred Heart, Franklin at Valparaiso, USD at Azusa Pacific..

TOREROS PICKED 4TH IN 2011 PFL PRESEASON COACHES POLL: The USD Toreros, under 5th-year head coach Ron Caragher, have been picked to finish 4th in the ten team Pioneer Football League by a vote of PFL head coaches. Jacksonville, which shared the 2010 PFL championship with Dayton, has been tapped as the 2011 preseason favorite in the league's preseason coaches' poll. JU received 8 first place votes and 80 points and was followed by Dayton (1 first place vote; 69 points), Drake (1 first place vote; 61 points), San Diego (59 points), Butler (47 points), Morehead State (38 points), Campbell (33 points), Marist (31 points), Davidson (23 points) and Valparaiso (9 points).

2011 SCHEDULE: Following Saturday's opener at Azusa Pacific, USD returns for its home opener on September 10th vs. Western New Mexico (6pm). That contest will be followed by its final nonconference game at UC Davis (Sept. 17, 6:05 pm). The PFL slate will begin on the road at Morehead State (Sept. 24; 12:30 pm), with additional PFL road dates at Valparaiso (Oct. 8; 1pm), Campbell (Oct. 22; 1pm) and Dayton (Nov. 5; 1pm). Home PFL contests include Davidson (Oct. 1; 3pm, Homecoming/Family Weekend), Drake (Oct. 15; 1pm), Marist (Nov. 12; 1pm) and Jacksonville (Nov. 19; 1pm).

TORERO TIDBITS: Fifth-year head coach Ron Caragher (27-17 record) and his staff look to continue their winning ways that saw the Toreros win four of their final five 2010 games. The Toreros finished 5-6 overall and tallied a 5-3 mark in the Pioneer Football League, good for 4th place (10 teams). The Toreros return 12 starters (7or more starts in 2010) among their 44 returning lettermen: Al-Rilwan Adeyemi (CB, 5-10, 186, Senior), Mike Arnold (OL, 6-3, 255, Jr.), Patrick Doyle (TE, 6-3, 235, Sr.), Zach Dunaj (LB, 5-11, 212, Jr.), Christian Fetters (OL, 6-1, 245, Senior), Dustin Geyer (DT, 6-2, 252, Senior), Loka Kanongataa (Safety, 5-10, 211, Senior), Mario Kurn (DE, 6-1, 220, Senior), Mason Mills (QB, 5-11, 190, Jr.), Fred Obi (DB, 6-2, 190, Sr.), Matt Peleti (OL, 6-2, 280, Jr.), Levor Ross (DT, 6-1, 295, Sr.). The defense returns seven starters and will key around the leadership of Adeyemi, Kurn and Kanongataa. With 5 starters returning on offense, look for senior center Christian Fetters to anchor the experienced offensive line with second-year QB Mason Mills looking to improve on his solid rookie campaign. Despite the loss of Godfrey Smith (68 receptions for 1,024 yards, 7 TDs) to graduation, Mills will have plenty of targets this season, including John McGough, Patrick Doyle, Sam Hoekstra, Sam Scudellari, DeAngelo Barksdale, Kyle Lokanc, and newcomer Brandon White. Look for returners Phil Morelli, Kenslow Smith and Matt Jelmini to be pushed by Kenny James in the backfield. First-year peformer Ernie Collins looks to take over kicking-punting duties for the graduated Stanley Shurson.

KURN ON PRESEASON WATCH LISTS/ALL-AMERICA SQUADS: Senior defensive end Mario Kurn (Encinitas, CA), a unanimous All-PFL first team pick, is on numerous 2011 preseason All-America teams and Watch lists... Kurn, who led all FCS players in quarterback sacks (17) in 2010, is on both the Buck Buchanan Award Watch list and the Ted Hendricks Award Watch list... He was sixth in the voting for the Buchanan Award last season while finishing with 66 tackles, 37 solo stops, and 27 tackles for loss... Additionally, he has been named to The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason All-America Team, the College Sporting News Preseason FCS All-America Team, the 2011 FCS Senior Scout Bowl Preseason All-America Football Team, and to Phil Steele's Preseason FCS All-America Second Team. Last year Kurn did the bulk of his work in the opponent's backfield where he posted a PFL-leading 2.45 tackles for loss per game, including a league-leading 1.55 sacks per outing. He enters the 2011 season with 22 career sacks, and ranks second to all-time leader Eric Bakhtiari (35, 2005-07).

ADEYEMI A NOMINEE FOR ALLSTATE GOOD WORKS TEAM: Senior corner back Al-Rilwan Adeyemi is among a record 132 nominees for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Tam, which recognizes the selfless contributions to volunteerism and community service made by college football student-athletes across the nation. This year marks the program's 20th year honoring football players at all levels of competition who stand out for their "good works" in the community. Since 1992, selection to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has become the gold standard for off-the-field character and leadership for college football players. From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will select two 11-player Good Works Teams - one comprising of players from the NCAA FBS and another representing players from the FCS, Division II, III, and the NAIA. The 22 student-athletes named to the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be announced in late September.

2010 ALL-PFL HONORS: A total of twelve Toreros were recognized on the 2010 All-Pioneer Football League teams. Four Toreros were named First Team - senior WR Godfrey Smith (Oakland, CA), junior center Christian Fetters (Fresno, CA), junior DE Mario Kurn (Encinitas, CA) and junior DB Al-Rilwan Adeyemi (Santa Monica, CA). Smith finished with a team-high 68 receptions for 1,024 yards (15.1 ave.) and 7 touchdowns. Fetters started every game for the Toreros' offensive line unit at center and played a key role in both pass protection and run blocking. Kurn, who turned in a monster year with 66 tackles (38 solo), 17 sacks (-118 yards), and 27 tackles for loss (-141 yards), led all FCS players in quarterback sacks. Adeyemi finished with a team-best 6 interceptions (66 return yards), and finished tied for second with 48 tackles. Two Toreros were selected to the All-PFL Second Team - senior RB Phil Morelli (Denver, CO) and senior LB Loka Kanongataa (Bellevue, WA). Despite missing 4 games due to injury, Morelli finished as the team's top rusher with 461 yards on 104 attempts, and 5 touchdowns. Kanongataa, who missed 3 games, ranked third on the team in tackles with 48 (26 solo) and chipped in with 7.5 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hurries, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery. Six Toreros were selected honorable mention - sophomore QB Mason Mills (Coronado, CA), junior DT Dustin Geyer (Oak Park, CA), senior LB Mike Calahan (Mission Viejo, CA), junior DB Fred Obi (Inglewood, CA), senior kicker Stanley Shurson (Ramona, CA) and freshman return specialist Sam Hoekstra (Carlsbad, CA).

COACHING STAFF UPDATE: Coach Caragher welcomes back his entire staff with the exception of first year cornerbacks coach Steven Irvin who replaced Gabe Franklin (took similar position at UTEP)... Returnees include Sam Anno (Special Teams Coor./Defensive Line; 3rd year), Keith Carter (Running Game Coor./Offensive Line; 3rd year), Tanner Engstrand (Off. Coordinator/Quarterbacks; 7th year), Dorian Keller (Tight Ends; 3rd year), Jerome Pathon (Wide Receivers; 3rd year), Mike Rish (Senior Offensive Assistant; 28th year), Andrew Rolin (Running Backs; 3rd year), Joe Staab (Safeties/Recruiting Coor.; 3rd year), and Jon Sumrall (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coor./Linebackers; 5th year).

2010 USD TEAM AWARDS: At the end-of-the-season 2010 USD Football Awards Banquet, junior DE Mario Kurn (Encinitas, CA) was tabbed the team's Most Valuable Player. Kurn, who was a unanimous First Team All-PFL pick on defense, as well as nominee for the Buck Buchanan and Ted Hendricks awards, led the Torero defense with 66 tackles (38 solo), 17 sacks (-118 yards) and 27 tackles for loss (-141 yards). He ranked first among all FCS players in sacks (1.55 per game) and finished second in tackles for loss (2.45 per game). Junior corner Al-Rilwan Adeyemi (Santa Monica, CA) was named the team's Defensive MVP while senior WR Godfrey Smith (Oakland, CA) received the Offensive MVP award. Both players joined Kurn on the All-PFL First Team. Adeyemi finished with a PFL-best 6 interceptions to go with 48 tackles, 4 pass break-ups and 10 pass deflections. Smith had a career season as he finished with 68 receptions for 1,024 yards (15.1 yards per reception average) and 7 touchdowns. Additional awards were handed out to twelve other Toreros: senior DE Hanner Hart (Fort Hall, ID) and senior CB Derron Juarez (Granada Hills, CA) both received the Dave Adolph "Do You Love Football" Award for Defense; senior LT Zach Lewis (Bakersfield, CA), the Dave Adolph "Do You Love Football" Award for Offense; junior offensive center Christian Fetters (Fresno, CA), the Most Outstanding Lineman Award; senior OT Patrick Thompson (Glendora, CA), the Most Improved Offensive Player Award; senior DT Dustin Geyer (Oak Park, CA), the Most Improved Defensive Player Award; senior LB Mike Calahan (Mission Viejo, CA), the Strength Coaches Award; sophomore QB Mason Mills (Coronado, CA), the Most Outstanding First Year Player Award; senior kicker-punter Stanley Shurson (Ramona, CA), the Kevin Briscoe Special Teams Player of the Year; junior FB Nick Scudellari (Saratoga, CA), the Dr. James B. Orwig Scholar Athlete Award; freshman LB Una Hamala (Inglewood, CA), the Defensive Scout Player of the Year Award; and freshman RB Leo Brown-Young (Palmdale, CA), the Offensive Scout Player of the Year Award.

MERCER & STETSON TO JOIN PFL IN 2013: Mercer University and Stetson University have accepted the league's invitations for membership. Both institutions will begin play with the 2013 season, bringing the league's membership to 12 teams at that time. Mercer, located in Macon, Ga., announced the return of its football program in 2010. The Bears have not competed in football since 1941 but its history includes playing the first football game in Georgia against the Unviersity of Georgia in 1892. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia with NCAA Division I membership. Stetson, located in DeLand, Fla., will return to the football gridiron for the first time in 57 years after a 2011 decision to reinstate the program. The Hatters last competed in football during the 1956 season, however the program's roots can be traced back to the first organized football game played in Florida.

UP NEXT FOR THE TOREROS: USD returns for their home opener against Western New Mexico on Saturday, September 10, 2011 with a 6:00 p.m. contest on Wallter J. Zable Field at Torero Stadium (6,000).