WASHINGTON – Are you ready for some football? The Catholic University of America kicks off its 2016 season on the recently renovated Cardinal Stadium on Saturday, September 3, at 1 p.m., versus the McDaniel Green Terror.
It is a new era for Catholic Football as first-year head coach Bill Bachman takes the reigns of the program and leads the Cards out on the newly resurfaced Cardinal Stadium for the first time tomorrow.
Bachman will be able to lean on All-Region wideout Lucas Morley, who led the nation in receptions per game last season, hauling in 10 grabs per game as a junior last season. The Olney, Md., native hauled in 14 receiving touchdowns and totaled 967 yards through the air.
Morley leads an offense buoyed by running back Matt Perno who scored seven touchdowns last season. Perno, a senior from New Hyde Park, N.Y., led the Cardinals with 604 yards rushing, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and totaling five rushing scores. He was also second on the team with 37 receptions, adding two receiving touchdowns.
Senior receiver Matt McMahon proved last season to be a dynamic threat for Catholic, racking up 35 catches for 263 yards and a TD, while adding two rushing scores as the team's wildcat QB. He will provide another steadying force for CUA's first new quarterback in three years.
Junior quarterback Jorge Pola steps in as the new signal-caller after playing behind All-American T.J. Tutone for the past three seasons. Pola got a chance to learn from the best and brings a dual-threat game to the field.
On defense, senior All-ODAC linebacker Ross Sanford leads the way. He led the Cardinals and ranked third in the league last season with 93 total tackles.
It will be an experience defensive unit as Catholic' front three of defensive ends Patrick Vidal, James Mooney and nose tackle Matt Barton all return. Also joining Sanford in the box are returning starting-linebackers Anthony Santo and Nick Della Jacono.
Starting senior safety Dave Zarkoski and junior defensive back Matt Christensen are back to hold down the secondary. Zarkoski was second on the team last season with 66 tackles while Christensen tied for the team lead with two interceptions and added five pass breakups and 55 tackles.
Saturday will be Catholic's only home game in September. The Cards play on their next three games on the road at Rochester (9/10), Coast Guard (9/17) and Guilford (10/1), before returning home on Saturday, October 8, when they host Washington & Lee in ODAC play.