When it was all settled at OAC Football Media Day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6,
the Muskies were predicted to be the seventh best team for the upcoming season.
Though the decision didn’t sit well with some of the athletes, Head Coach Al Logan understood
the decision, and knows his team had the chance last season to prove they were better than a
seventh place pick.
“We finished seventh, [so] we’re going to be picked seventh, and that’s okay,” said Logan. “[If]
you look at last year’s games and the close games, Baldwin-Wallace who was nationally ranked
at the time [and] losing on the last play to Ohio Northern. I think if you beat those two teams,
you’re probably not ranked seventh. It’s a lot of what you did last year [that determines] how
you’re going to be picked this year.”
Logan definitely has a point. The Muskies had their fair share of close contests in last season’s
3-7 campaign which included the 13-7 overtime loss to then tenth ranked Baldwin-Wallace that
Logan alluded to.
As Logan said, winning those two games doesn’t make the Muskies a seventh place team. In
fact they make the Muskies a .500 team, a mark they haven’t seen in Logan’s tenure as head
But this may be the year the Muskies eclipse what has been the insurmountable 5-5 record.
There is a ton of optimism pouring out of the Muskie locker room, and rightfully so.
“Offensively, this is the best we’ve come into camp since I’ve been here,” said Logan.
Logan’s offense is led by two-time All-Ohio Athletic Conference honoree and Second Team
All-Ohio award winning lineman, Denny Ardman.
With Ardman anchoring the line, the Muskies averaged 130 yards per game on the ground.
Alongside Ardman, Muskingum returns youth on the offensive line. Sam Lucas played every
game as a first-year and will be looked on to contribute again this season. Another sophomore
who will add a push to the line is second-year center Zac Snively.
Returning at quarterback is CJ Snider, who played the majority of snaps as a first-year. With
inexperience, Snider dazzled at times and, at other times, played like an inexperienced first-year
would. Snider finished last season throwing for 820 yards with four touchdowns and six
interceptions. Snider also danced around or ran through defenders for 455 yards on the ground to
lead the team in rushing.
In the backfield, Shane Dotson will look to shoulder the load at running back. Dotson rushed for
381 yards in his third season with two touchdowns.
One of the Muskies’ biggest offensive weapons is senior James Washington at receiver.
Washington racked up 666 yards last season, giving him 1,523 for his career. Washington will
only need 473 yards this season to tie Muskingum’s all-time leader in receiving yards, current
Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Muskies took a hit losing Jake Antolak, Steve Stooksbury
and Logan Ladd to graduation. At media day, Logan said that what the defensive line lost, he
feels his linebackers make it up.
Erik Hall will be looked on to lead the linebackers this season. Hall, a senior, finished second on
the team last season with 56 total tackles and one sack.
Hall will be aided by second year linebackers Chaney Fulton and Steven Vinson. Fulton led the
team in tackles as a first-year last season with 67 and four sacks. Vinson contributed 34 tackles
and one sack as a first-year.
Two of the team’s three captains play in the secondary in Darell Jones and Hank Smith.
Jones finished last season tied for the team lead in interceptions with Drew Davis, who each hadfour picks. Jones also racked up 33 tackles and 10 pass break-ups.
Smith notched 27 tackles and three break-ups. Logan feels his team is on the verge of really taking the conference by surprise this season.
“I think we’re real close to being one of the better teams in this conference,” said Logan. “We
feel like we have a great group of upperclassmen, but we also think we have a good group of
young guys, too.”
The Muskies open their season on Sept. 7 at Waynesburg and host their first home game on
Sept. 21 against the defending National Champions, Mount Union Purple Raiders.