District College Football Preview – 10/12/2011

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | 10:25 PM

A huge battle in the PSAC highlights the weekend slate of college football around the region. Another question to be answered, can Saint Vincent pull it off two weeks in a row after the wild victory in Latrobe over W & J last week, sixth ranked Thomas More comes to town this week.

In the Northeast Conference, an early battle for first place in the Capitol District as league powers Robert Morris and Albany meet.

Here are previews of all the games, including two that can be heard on the Network:

California (5-1) at Slippery Rock (5-1)  2pm on WISR 680 AM and the MSA Sports Network.
The race for the West Division title could be decided Saturday at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium, both teams are 3-0 in divisional play coming into this week.

Cal is one of three PSAC teams in the AFCA top 25, they are ranked 14th. Bloomsburg (#3) and Kutztown(#20) are also ranked.

The Vulcans won at home 33-6 over Gannon last week, for their fifth straight win.

QB Peter Lalich threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns, two to Thomas Mayo. Lalich is fifth in the conference in passing yards, at 247 yards per game, with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Mayo is tied for the conference lead in catches with 42, he is second with 125 receiving yards per game and touchdowns with ten. Mayo is fifth in the nation in receiving with the 125 yard average.  

RB Lamont Smith ran for 100 yards for the fourth straight time, the Vulcans are 10-0 when Smith goes over the century mark. Smith is fifth in the PSAC in rushing at 96 yards per game.

The Cal defense allowed only 16 rushing yards last week, they forced three turnovers and had five sacks.

SRU rallied from a 17 point deficit to defeat Edinboro 24-23 last week. The Rock defense forced six turnovers, led by LB Jake Wickline. The senior from Riverside made eight tackles, recovered a fumble and snagged an interception in the win against his former team. Wickline transferred from Edinboro to the Rock.

The Rock sits at 5-1 for the third consecutive season. Cal has won seven of the last eight meetings with the Rock, the lone win for SRU came in 2005 at home.

RB Akeem Satterfield is eighth in the conference in rushing, averaging 84 yards per game and sixth with six touchdowns.

QB Cody Endres is sixth in the conference in passing, at 217 yards per game. The Trinity grad has thrown nine touchdowns but has been picked off seven times.

WR Devin Goda is third in the conference with 40 catches, he is averaging 80 yards per game, good for fifth in the PSAC.

The Rock secondary has been strong all season, Brandon Watters is second with four interceptions. Brandon Burley and Jayson Nickson each have two picks. The Rock has returned three interceptions for touchdowns this season.

SRU’s defense is ranked number one in Division II, allowing just 201 yards per game. The Rock D has allowed only nine touchdowns and just 54 completed passes. 
If the kicking game comes into play, the Rock may have a huge advantage. P James McCombie leads the PSAC, averaging almost 43 yards per punt, while kicker Kurt Brackman is 8 of 10 this season with field goals. Cal’s kicker Cody Nuzzo is just 3 of 8 on field goal attempts.

Grove City (0-5) at Geneva (1-5)  7pm on WBVP 1230-AM and the MSA Sports Network.
Grove City is 0-3 in the PAC, falling to the three-time conference champions Thomas More in Kentucky 37-7.

CB Mike Brown forced a fumble and recovered another, he made seven stops last week. Chris Gibbs also made ten tackles for the Grove City defense.

QB Brian Pell threw for only 100 yards against a tough Saints defense, he did hook up with Anthony Ritchie for the Wolverines’ only score. Ritchie is eighth in the conference with 21 catches.

Jimmy Bailey has 485 return yards this season, most in the PAC.

Grove City is eighth in the conference in scoring offense, averaging just under 16 points per game.

The Golden Tornado fell to Waynesburg 47-33 last week to fall to 1-3 in Geneva’s first official season in the PAC. The Yellow Jackets gained 430 yards against a banged-up Geneva defense.

Rocco Colavecchia has a new nickname at Geneva, now known as Slash. Colavecchia has been at wide reciever, running back and quarterback for the GT’s this season, since transferring from Slippery Rock. The junior from Shenango threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in last week’s loss. In all, Colavecchia ran for 53 yards, threw for 160 and caught three passes for 41 yards. On the season, Colavecchia has thrown for 466 yards and four touchdowns, good for ninth in the PAC. He also leads Geneva in rushing with 182 yards and receiving with 24 catches.

Zach Hayward is fifth in the conference in passing with 1,015 yards. Hayward has thrown six touchdowns and five interceptions.

The Golden Tornadoes are eighth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 39 points per game. Geneva has scored only 15 touchdowns this season, their opponents 34.

Geneva leads the series 41-37-7.

Saint Francis (1-5) at Sacred Heart (3-2)  Noon
The Red Flash are 0-4 in the NEC. Saint Francis lost to Robert Morris last week 45-14. QB Corey Neilson made his first NCAA start and threw for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Sacred Heart is 1-1 in conference play and has won three straight games overall, including a 34-25 win over Columbia last week. It’s the first time the Pioneers have won three straight games since 2008, when they started the season 6-0.

QB Tim Little was named NEC Offensive Player of the Week, Little threw for 371 yards on 33 of 48 and three passing and one rushing touchdown. 

Kicker Chris Rogers was named NEC Special Teams Player of the Week. Rogers hit a pair of field goals, he is 6-6 this season, to gain the honor.

Central Connecticut State (2-4) at Duquesne (4-2)  Noon
The Blue Devils are 1-2 in the NEC. CCSU lost 42-26 to U. Mass last week. QB Gunnar Jespardson ran for 93 yards and two touchdowns last week. The Blue Devils have now lost three straight games, the last time that happened was the start of the 2003 season.

The Dukes are 2-1 in conference play and may have seen their chance for an NEC title go up in flames with a 38-10 loss at Albany last week.

WR Connor Dixon continued his consecutive games streak with at least one catch. Dixon hauled in a 35 yard touchdown from Sean Patterson in the third quarter last week. The streak is now 21 games.

RB Larry McCoy ran for only 75 yards last week, his string of consecutive 100 yard games ended at seven.

On the defensive side, two Duquesne players racked up career highs in tackles last week. LB Horvin Lattimer made 18 stops, while CB Aaron Fitzpatrick notched twelve.

Robert Morris (2-3) at Albany (3-2)  1pm
The Colonials and Great Danes are tied for the NEC lead at 2-0. Robert Morris has won two straight coming in, Albany three straight.

Robert Morris cruised to the win over Saint Francis in the first ever night game at Joe Walton Stadium last week. QB Jeff Sinclair threw for 155 yards and three touchdowns, the Highlands grad ran for 110 yards and two more scores.

TE Shadrae King caught four passes last week, two for touchdowns. The McKeesport native has caught at least one pass in 24 straight games.

Two local players recovered fumbles in last week’s win, Nolan Nearhoof of Mars and Brad Banas of Char-Houston. Nearhoof has made 101 tackles in his career as a Duke.

DT Zach Gallo was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week. Gallo made five tackles and forced a fumble in the Albany win over Duquesne.

Head Coach Bob Ford also picked up his 250th career win last week. The Great Danes have won or shared four NEC titles under Ford.

NEC Rookie of the Year in 2010, TB Dillon Romain, returned to the lineup last week, he ran for 40 yards and a touchdown. RB Andrew Smith ran for 101 in last week’s win, the third straight game that Smith broke the century mark.

Youngstown State (2-3) at Southern Illinois (2-3)  3pm
The Penguins and Salukis are both 1-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference. Both teams are coming off home losses.

YSU fell to South Dakota State 35-28. Kurt Hess threw for two touchdowns, Jamaine Cook ran for one and Davion Rogers returned an interception for a Pick 6.

Hess has thrown for 1,090 yards and eleven touchdowns this season with four interceptions. Cook has ran for 608 yards, he averages just over five yards per carry, he leads the Penguins with five touchdowns. Christian Bryan is the leading receiver with 24 catches for 313 yards and two touchdowns.

Southern Illinois lost to North Dakota State 9-3. SIU was stopped on the opening drive of the game on the one yard line and also missed a 23 yard field goal in the first half.

YSU leads the series 11-10-1, but have not won in Carbondale since 2001.

Lock Haven (0-5) at Gannon (2-4)  Noon
The Bald Eagles dropped their 37th consecutive game last week at Clarion, the longest active losing streak in any division of NCAA football. RB Brandon Brader is sixth in the PSAC, averaging 87 yards per game. The Bald Eagles are allowing 44 points per game, the most in the PSAC.

Gannon is 1-2 in the West Division. Freshman Ty Watson made his first start at quarterback in last week’s 33-6 loss to Cal and threw for 155 yards. DB Mike Phillips made ten tackles for the second straight week.

Gannon leads the series 3-0, the Golden Knights have outscored the Bald Eagles 95-7 in those three wins.

Edinboro (4-2) at Mercyhurst(3-3)  Noon
Both teams are 1-2 in divisional play.

Edinboro is trying to avoid a repeat of 2010, when the Fighting Scots opened at 4-0 and then lost three consecutive games. QB Cody Harris missed last week’s 24-23 loss to Slippery Rock, true freshman Ty Stodt started and threw a touchdown pass, he also committed six turnovers.

Defense and special teams led to two of Edinboro’s scores last week. Ryan Skelton blocked a field goal that James Jackson returned for a touchdown. Skelton also recovered a fumble and made eleven tackles. Veuntrae Robinson also returned a fumble for a touchdown. The Fighting Scots are ranked either second or third in the four major defensive categories in the PSAC.

Mercyhurst fell to IUP last week in overtime. WR Trevor Kennedy caught a td pass, his 11th of the season. Kennedy has 24 for his career. Kennedy is tied for the conference lead with 42 catches and leads with 132 receiving yards per game. He also leads the conference in scoring. With the 132 yard average, Kennedy is third in Division II.

TE Paris Bruner caught just two passes but both were for scores. QB Anthony Vendemia will make his second career start, replacing Travis Rearick, who is out for the season.

LB Ian Wild has 70 tackles on the season, he made 11 stops last week. Wild leads the PSAC by eight tackles.

Edinboro leads the series between the schools 4-3.

IUP (3-2) at Clarion (1-5)  3pm
IUP is 2-1 in the West Division, they need to keep winning to gain a spot in the PSAC championship game. IUP rallied to defeat Mercyhurst 35-28 in overtime last week, giving IUP win number 497 in school history.

QB Pat Smith came on in relief of Mike Box and threw for 104 yards and a touchdown in a little over one quarter of work. RB Harvie Tuck just missed going over 100 yards, rushing for 99 and a pair of touchdowns. Tuck still leads the conference in rushing, averaging 122 yards per game.

Clarion is 1-2 in divisional play. The Golden Eagles defeated Lock Haven 54-6 last week. QB Ben Fiscus was named PSAC West Offensive Player of the Week. Fiscus ran for 204 yards and two touchdowns last week, he also threw for two scores. RB John Fuhrer ran for 111 yards and a touchdown last week, his first 100 yard game of his career. 

IUP leads the series 54-24-3, but Clarion has won the last two meetings.

Seton Hil (0-6) at Concord (3-3)  1pm
The Griffins are 0-4 in the WVIAC, falling to Charleston 49-35 last week in Greensburg. Seton Hill jumped out to a 14-0 lead but could not hold on. Ryan Morris threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns. Jorge Valdovinos had nine catches for 173 yards and two scores.

Valdovinos is fourth in the WVIAC with 433 receiving yards.

Concord is 3-1 in the conference, a half game behind both West Virginia Wesleyan and Glenville State. QB Zack Grossi threw for 196 yards but the Mountain Lions could not find the end zone in a 14-3 loss to Glenville State last week. Chris Rodriquez ran for 69 yards for Concord.

Brian Kennedy is sixth in the conference in rushing, at 70 yards per game. Grossi is second in passing at 247 yards per game.

The Mountain Lions lead the conference with eleven interceptions and are plus 14 in turnover ratio.

Thomas More (5-0) at Saint Vincent (3-2)  1pm
The Saints share the PAC lead at 4-0. Thomas More is ranked sixth again this week in the AFCA Division III poll. The Saints beat Grove City 37-7 last week. QB Robert Kues threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns. RB Domonique Hayden ran for 84 yards and a score, he also caught a touchdown pass.

Saint Vincent is 2-1 in the conference, a win this week would put them in contention for the PAC championship. DB Dan Wirkowski was named PAC Defensive Player of the Week in the Bearcats’ 35-27 win over W & J. The Shaler native returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown, recovered a fumble and made seven tackles in the win.

Mike Kale also had a nice day against the Presidents, running for 92 yards and a score.

The Bearcats have never beaten the Saints in four tries, they have been outscored 142 to 43 in those four games.

Waynesburg (4-1) at Westminster (3-2)  1pm
The Yellow Jackets are 4-0 in the PAC. Waynesburg defeated Geneva 47-33 last week. QB Josh Graham was named PAC Offensive Player of the Week. The former Avonworth star threw for 311 yards and six touchdowns in last week’s victory. WR Jeff Young had just three catches in the game, but all were for touchdowns.

Another Yellow Jacket gained conference honors, Christian Jackson was named Special Teams Player of the Week. Jackson averaged over 30 yards per kickoff return in the win. The Cornell grad also caught eight passes for 157 yards.

DB Sam Byrne made nine solo tackles for the Waynesburg defense last week.

Westminster is 2-1 in conference play. The Titans defeated Bethany 30-27 last week. RB John Proano ran for 144 yards and a touchdown in the win, it’s the most yards rushing for a Titan player since 2008. RB Tyler Banks also ran for 80 yards and a score.
Westminster leads the series 36-30-3, however Waynesburg has won eight of the last nine meetings.

Thiel (0-5) at Bethany (3-2)  1:30pm
Thiel is 0-3 in the PAC, the Tomcats had last week off.

Bethany is 1-3 in the conference, the Bison fell 30-27 to Westminster. Matt Grimard threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns.

DB Jamaan Webb made 13 tackles in the loss and he picked off his second pass of the season.

RB Eric Walker needs 108 yards to become the all time leading rusher at Bethany, he is already the Bison’ all time leading scorer.

Thiel leads the series 36-29-1, Bethany has won two straight games.

Denison (3-3) at Allegheny (3-3) 1pm
Denison is 2-0 in the NCAC, falling to Chicago 38-23 in non-conference action last week. QB Max Paulus  threw for 288 yards and two scores in the loss. Paulus has thrown for 1,405 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. RB Sam Fioroni leads the NCAC with 647 rushing yards

Allegheny is 1-1 in conference play. The Gators defeated Kenyon 31-17 last week. Jordan Fowler threw for 271 yards on 25 of 39 in the win. The Ringgold grad tossed two touchdown passes. Fox Chapel’s Colin Hartford had his second Pick 6 of the season in the win. Zach Hill blocked a punt that led to a score, it was the first punt block by a Gator since 2006.

Fowler has thrown for 960 yards and six touchdowns this season.

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