District College Football Preview – 09/29/2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011 | 6:29 AM

The leaves are turning, the weather is getting colder and the college football season is heating up. Conference play continues with a battle for first place in the NEC highlighting this week's schedule.

Here are previews of all the games, including three that can be heard right here on the Network. Don't forget to stop back on Sunday for recaps of all the games:

Clarion(0-4) at Slippery Rock(3-1)  6pm on WISR 680-AM and the MSA Sports Network

Clarion was scoreless with Cal last week until late in the second quarter when the Vulcans put up 20 points in a five minute span, falling 40-13.

Head coach Jay Foster knows all about Slippery Rock, he was the Rock’s defensive coordinator before taking the Clarion job.

The Golden Eagles are last in the conference in scoring, rushing and total defense, while Slippery Rock leads the conference in those categories.

CB Brandon Burley was named the PSAC West Defensive Player of the Week. The former New Castle Red Hurricane had two interceptions, including a 54 yard runback for a score as the Rock shut down IUP 20-6 last week.

The Rock defense has allowed just 33 completed passes on 95 attempts, the tops in the nation.  The Burley interception return was the third Pick 6 of the season for the Rock. Brandon Watters and Jayson Nickson each returned an interception in the season opener over Seton Hill.

WR Devin Goda has 19 catches for 207 yards in the past two games. Goda needs two catches to move into third place all time at SRU. He is now in seventh place all-time in receiving yards.

QB Cody Endres has thrown for 771 yards in four games, over half of the Rock’s passing totals from the entire 2010 season. The U. Conn transfer has thrown six interceptions. Endres is sixth in the PSAC in passing.

RB Akeem Satterfield is fifth in the conference averaging 97.5 yards per game. Satterfield is third with six rushing touchdowns.

K Kurt Brackman has struggled on extra points, he is just 15 of 18. Brackman is 5 of 6 on field goals, with a long of 43 yards.

Slippery Rock leads the series, 42-24-3, Clarion last won in 2009.

W & J (2-2) at Westminster(2-1)  1pm on WJPA 1450-AM and the MSA Sports Network

The Presidents are 1-1 in the PAC. QB Matt Bliss threw for 326 yards on 30 of 50 but it was not enough as W & J fell 35-32 to Thomas More for the fourth straight season. Bliss has thrown for at least 245 yards and a touchdown in all four games this season.

The Presidents lead in total offense, at 449 yards per game.

WR Alex Baroffio caught seven passes for 115 yards.

RB Tim McNerney came back into the lineup and ran 21 times for 93 yards. McNerney has now scored in ten straight games that he has played in.

Nathan Melhorn and Ian Hennessey both made 13 tackles to lead the W & J defense.

W & J is third in the conference, averaging just over 30 points per game. Westminster, despite the 2-1 record, is eighth in the  PAC in scoring, at just 15 points per game.

The Titans are 1-0 in the conference, it is the first time in a long while that Westminster has a better overall and conference record than W & J.

Westminster is 2-1 for the first time since 2008, with a win, it would be the first time since 2007 that the Titans started 3-1.

Westminster had the bye last week, the Titans defeated Grove City for their only PAC win.

The Titans have done a great job holding onto the football, Westminster is second in the PAC with a plus three turnover ratio.

WR Gino Pasquinelli leads the Titans with 21 catches for 196 yards and two scores. He also leads the conference, averaging seven catches per game.

Westminster has played three quarterbacks this season, Shawn Lehocky has thrown for 171 yards, Zach Hoffman has 144 yards and Tommy Turnbull 114.

John Proano is the leading rusher with just 98 yards. W & J leads this series 30-2, the last win for the Titans was in 2000.

Saint Vincent(2-1) at Geneva(0-4)  4pm on WBVP 1230-AM and the MSA Sports Network

Saint Vincent is 1-0 in the PAC. LB Anthony Johnson was named PAC Defensive Player of the Week, Johnson made 10 tackles in the Bearcats 36-14 win at Thiel, including four for loss.

With last week’s win, it was the first time since football was restarted in 2007 that the Bearcats have won back to back games.

QB Aaron Smetanka threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns on 23 of 31. Smetanka is the most efficient passer in the conference with a 173 quarterback rating.

RB Huey Ehredt ran for a score last week and caught a touchdown pass. Ehredt and Mike Kale are both averaging over 60 yards rushing per game and rank third and fourth in the conference.

The Bearcats put up 457 yards of total offense last week.

Saint Vincent is second in the conference, averaging 36 points per game, the Bearcats have only allowed 37 points this season, that leads the PAC.

Geneva is still looking for their first PAC victory, going winless in two tries. The GT’s have not been 0-4 since 1978. A large crowd is expected for Homecoming this week at Reeves Field.

Rocco Colavecchia came thru in last week’s 48-27 loss to Bethany. He led the Golden Tornadoes with 74 yards rushing and threw two touchdown passes. Colavecchia ended up at Geneva after transferring from Kent State and Slippery Rock, he battled some concussion issues at Kent. The leading passer in Shenango history, leads Geneva in rushing with 101 yards, he is 10 of 20 for 141 yards throwing, he also leads the team in receiving with 21 catches for 138 yards.

Geneva has scored only eight touchdowns all season, WR Corey O’Patchen leads with three, the defense has allowed 24. 

Zack Haward started at quarterback last week, he threw a touchdown pass to Vince Larson.

Geneva leads the series 10-4-1, including winning the last five games. Saint Vincent has not beaten Geneva since 1961.

Bryant(3-1) at Duquesne(3-1)  1pm
The Bulldogs lead the NEC at 2-0, defeating Wagner 30-28 last week. Mike Croce threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Jordan Brown scored on a two yard touchdown run in the fourth for the game-winner. 

The Dukes are 1-0 in the NEC. WR Connor Dixon shared the NEC Offensive Player of the Week award. Dixon caught four passes for 175 yards and two scores in the 41-14 win at Saint Francis.Dixon has caught a pass in 19 consecutive games after moving from quarterback to wideout. Sean Patterson threw for 290 yards and four touchdowns and Larry McCoy ran for 153 yards.

Robert Morris(0-3) at Monmouth(2-1)  1pm
The Colonials play their NEC opener, they are the defending champions. Robert Morris signed head coach Joe Walton to a 2-year contract extension this week. It’s only the third time that RMU has started the season 0-3 in the program’s history.

TE Shadrae King has caught at least one pass in 22 consecutive games. Robert Morris lost 13-12 to Morgan State two weeks ago, the Colonials had the NEC bye last week.

Monmouth is 1-0 in the NEC. The Hawks defeated Central Connecticut 24-12 last week. LB Steven Barroso made twelve tackles in the win, he was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week. Freshman Julian Hayes ran 18 times for 79 yards and a score in the win. Kyle Fraizer was 21 of 27 for 195 yards and a touchdown.  The Hawks have won two straight.

Albany(1-2) at Saint Francis(1-3)  1pm
Albany opens conference play this week in Loretto. TB Drew Smith shared the NEC Offensive Player of the Week award. Smith ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw for a score. WR Ryan Kirchner caught six passes for 72 yards and two scores.

P Paul Layton was named NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, averaging 54.2 yards per kick on seven punts in the 44-21 win over Columbia.

Saint Francis is 0-2 in the NEC, falling to Duquesne last week. RB Kyle Harbridge, who entered that game as the leading rusher in the FCS, was held to just 76 yards. Harbridge still leads the NEC with 616 rushing yards.

Gannon(1-3) at Mercyhurst(3-1)  1pm
Randy Colling had two more sacks, he has six for the season, but it did not help as Gannon fell at home to Edinboro 27-0 last week. Gannon has committed the most turnovers in the PSAC at 15 and is last in turnover ratio at minus six.

Gannon leads the conference in punt returns with Justin Caliste, who is averaging 19-7 yards per return.

Mercyhurst has won six straight divisional games, claiming the 2010 PSAC West crown. WR Trevor Kennedy is second in the country in receiving yards at 538, that is an average of 134 per game. Kennedy is also a dangerous kick returner, taking one back 90 yards last week. Allen Jones ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Ian Wild made 14 tackles, a career high in a 42-3 victory over Lock Haven. Wild also notched four sacks.

Mercyhurst is 9-4-1 against Gannon in the series history, but the Lakers fell 14-10 to the Golden Knights last season, the last divisional loss for Mercyhurst.

Edinboro(4-0) at IUP(1-2)  2pm
The Fighting Scots have won five straight games dating back to 2010. Edinboro is ranked 18th in the AFCA poll and 23rd in the D2football.com poll this week, and leads the country in turnover margin, the Fighting Scots are plus nine for the season.

The defense held Gannon to 182 yards and forced four turnovers in a 27-0 shutout win in Erie. James Jackson returned an interception for a score and set up another with a fumble recovery and return.

WR David Bostic had seven more catches last week, he is in seventh place all time at Edinboro with 125 grabs. K Alex Romanias is 7-7 on field goals and 18 of 18 on extra points.

QB Cody Harris leads the conference, completing 69 percent of his passes. Edinboro is averaging over 36 points per game, good for second in the conference and best in the West.

IUP fell last week at Slippery Rock 20-6. QB’s Pat Smith and Mike Box combined to throw four interceptions. Box transferred to IUP from U. Conn just before the season, he was pressed into duty when Smith suffered an apparent concussion.

Harvie Tuck did his part for IUP, running for 126 yards on 28 carries. Tuck leads the conference in rushing, averaging 130 yards per game. IUP is still sitting on 495 wins in the program’s history.

IUP leads the series 53-22-4 and won seven straight from 1996-2002. Edinboro has won five out of the last eight meetings, IUP did blank the Fighting Scots 18-0 last season. 

California(3-1) at Lock Haven(0-3)  7:30pm
 QB Peter Lalich won the PSAC West Offensive Player of the Week award for the second straight week as Cal defeated Clarion 40-14. Lalich threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns, completing just shy of 72 percent of his passes. Thomas Mayo leads the country in receiving yards with 625, averaging 156 yards per game.

The Vulcans are ranked 15th in the D2football.com poll and 16th in the AFCA poll.

The Bald Eagles fell last week for the 35th consecutive time. RB Brandon Brader ran for consecutive 100 yard games before running into a tough Mercyhurst defense in a 42-3 loss last week.

Cal has won the last seven meetings with Lock Haven and leads the series 38-28-1.

Seton Hill(0-4) at West Virginia State(0-3)  1:30pm
Something has to give in this matchup. The Griffins are 0-2 in the WVIAC after falling to West Virginia Wesleyan 34-10 last week, Ryan Morris threw for 190 yards with Sean Randell making three catches for 65 yards. Nick McGahagen had eleven tackles for Seton Hill and forced a fumble.

West Virginia State is 0-1 in conference play, falling to Concord 38-7 on the road in Week 4. Ricky Phillips threw for 215 yards and a touchdown, Landon Jackson was the leading receiver with seven catches for 83 yards. Fabian Payne ran for 106 yards. Tyler Long made nine tackles for the Yellow Jackets defense.

Bethany(2-1) at Waynesburg(2-1)  1:30pm
Bethany is 1-1 in conference play. QB Matt Grimard was named PAC Offensive Player of the Week in the 48-27 win over Geneva. Grimard was 13 of 17 for 274 yards and two touchdowns, he also ran for a third. The Bison scored on four of it’s first five possessions and led by as many as 31 points.

Alex Evans was also named PAC Special Teams Player of the Week. Evans ran a punt 65 yards for a touchdown with two seconds left in the first half. He also grabbed seven passes for 108 yards and a score.

Eric Walker ran for 70 yards and added three more touchdowns to his total. Walker, who is the Bison all-time leading scorer, needs 195 yards to become the all-time leading rusher.

Waynesburg is tied with Thomas More at 2-0 for the top spot. RB Bertrand Ngampa ran for 112 yards and a touchdown in the Yellow Jackets 32-26 win over Grove City. Jeff Graham hit Jeff Young for a 37 yard td pass that turned out to be the difference. 

Waynesburg leads the series 24-16-6. The Yellow Jackets have won six straight over the Bison at Waynesburg.

Thomas More(3-0) at Thiel(0-4)  1:30pm
The Saints are 2-0 in the PAC, defeated W & J 35-32 in Washington last week. Thomas More maintained their number eight ranking in the D3football.com poll.

LB Nick Gramke made 11 tackles, including a sack last week vs. the Presidents. DB Zach Autenrieb had an interception late to seal the win for the Saints.

Robert Kues threw for 247 yards, he also ran for a score. RB Domonique Hayden ran for 77 yards and two scores.

Thiel is 0-2 in the conference. LB Ethan Ludwig made ten stops in last week’s 36-14 loss to Saint Vincent.  QB Andrew Smith threw for 183 yards and a touchdown, he was also intercepted once, the Tomcats committed two turnovers and allowed 453 yards total offense.

Thomas More leads the series 5-3, the Saints have won the last four meetings.

Case Western Reserve(2-1) at Allegheny(2-2)  1pm
This game is being nationally televised on the Fox College Sports channel and locally in both Pittsburgh and Erie.

Case Western scored two special teams touchdowns on the way to a 24-6 win at Denison last week. QB Eric Olson threw for 213 yards and a touchdown, he also ran for another on a fake punt.

Allegheny looks to rebound off a 38-3 loss to then number 16 Wittenberg in NCAC play last week. QB Jordan Fowler has thrown for 590 yards this season on 64 of 100. Fowler has four touchdown passes, he has been picked off three times. Sean Griffin has been the big play receiver, with 11 catches for 229 yards and three scores.

Carnegie Mellon(2-2) at Hiram(1-3)  1pm
CMU leads this series 21-5, including eight straight wins. The Tartans are three wins away from victory number 500 in the 102 year history of CMU football. Patrick Blanks was named UAA Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the 35-14 win at Kenyon last week. Blanks ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. CMU has made 14 trips into the red zone this season, with 11 touchdowns and 1 field goal.

The Terriers are averaging only 11 points per game. The only win for Hiram came at the hands of Kenyon in NCAC play, 16-13.  


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