District College Football Preview for 9/7/13

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | 12:09 PM

The 2013 district college football slate kicks off with a bang this weekend. 19 teams from the area start their season, while two others head to the field for the second time. Here are previews of all the games, including three to be played later tonight:

(All games are on Saturday, except where noted)

Slippery Rock at Northwood   Noon  on WLER 97.7-FM and the MSA Sports Network

The teams have not meet on the gridiron since 1992. Slippery Rock has won both meetings between the foes.

The Rock was 6-5 in 2012 and finished 5-2 in the PSAC West. SRU was picked third by the PSAC coaches in the West in the 2013 preseason poll, behind IUP and Mercyhurst, last year’s co-champs.

QB Nigel Barksdale will lead the SRU offense, having thrown for 1,415 yards and 14 touchdowns last season.

WR LaQuinn Stephens-Howling also returns for the Rock, he caught five touchdown passes and racked up 464 yards receiving in 2012.

The defense has been at or near the top of the PSAC the last two seasons. DB Anthony Saunders is a reason why with 62 tackles and three interceptions.

Northwood has improved greatly in the GLIAC the last two seasons, going from two wins in 2011 to five wins last year. The Timberwolves are picked to finish eighth in their conference. RB Jordan Jonker will lead the offense with nine touchdowns last season.

Mark Morris filled in last season and should start at quarterback. Cameron Jackson ran for 1,078 yards in 2011 and Jordan Jonker led the team last year and scored nine touchdowns, both return for 2013. 

WR Carrington Thompson scored seven touchdowns as a true freshman.

Frostburg State at Geneva   7pm on WBVP 1230-AM and the MSA Sports Network

The Bobcats were picked seventh in the Empire Eight preseason poll.

Chucky Iweh ran for four touchdowns last season, Josh Jackson will also get the nod in the starting backfield. QB Ken Edmonds threw for 1500 yards and nine touchdowns. He figured in on six touchdowns in last year’s win over Geneva. 

Geneva struggled last season, going 3-7 overall and 3-5 in the PAC.

The Golden Tornadoes return their two main offensive weapons from 2012. QB Zach Hayward battled injuries but was named to the PAC 2nd team  and all everything player Rocco Colavecchia. Colavecchia is listed as a halfback, but will line up in a wildcat. He is a true triple threat, throwing, running and catching touchdowns last season.

RB Dylan Jones will be the starter in the backfield, the all time leading rusher at Laurel ran for 346 yards last season as a true freshman. Josh Guiser will be the main target, he had 18 catches last season.

LB Dillion Goodell also returns to anchor the defense, he was named to the PAC first team last season.

W&J at Wooster   7pm on WJPA 1450-AM and the MSA Sports Network

The Presidents went 8-3 last season and tied Waynesburg for the conference title at 7-1. W & J has now racked up 30 consecutive winning seasons, the fifth longest active streak in NCAA play.

 W & J returns 28 seniors to the program for head coach Mike Sirianni, who is second in the NCAA among active coaches in winning percentage, behind only Ohio State’s Urban Meyer.

QB Matt Bliss and WR Alex Baroffio return, the high school teammates have found numerous success on the college field as well. Bliss threw for 1,974 yards and 13 touchdowns but was picked off twelve times and battled injuries throughout the season. Baroffio has caught at least one pass 23 straight games and has scored 19 touchdowns.

RB Dion Wiegand ran for 667 yards, he is also a dangerous kickoff returner.

W & J also boasts a great kicking game as Eric Eberle will handle both the placekicking and punting duties. Eberle was 11-14 on field goals and averaged 37 yards per punt.

Wooster is led by a new coach, Frank Colaprete, who comes from Johns Hopkins where he was the defensive coordinator. Johns Hopkins defeated W & J in the first round of the NCAA playoffs last season. Wooster was 2-8 last season.

Seton Hill at Fairmont State   7pm Thursday

Issac Collins comes in from Division III power Widener to take over the Griffins program. It’s also a new league for Seton Hill this season, leaving the WVIAC and entering into the PSAC West Division. The Griffins replace C.W. Post in the league, Lock Haven switched to the East Division to allow the Griffins to move in.

The Griffins return quarterback Andrew Jackson, he threw for 2,131 yards and 16 touchdowns in the pass happy WVIAC last season. LB Tyler Zimmer leads the defense, making 121 tackles last season.

Fairmont State leads the series 5-1, it’s the first time the teams have met in a non-conference game. Fairmont State moves to the new Mountain East conference with the demise of the WVIAC.

Edinboro at Walsh    7pm Thursday

The Fighting Scots look to get back to the top of the conference, after going 4-6 in 2012. But Edinboro suffered three losses to nationally ranked teams and a fourth to Slippery Rock in overtime.

QB Cody Harris returns, averaging 304 yards of total offense per game in 2012. His main target is Marcus Johnson, he was sixth in the PSAC with 701 receiving yards. CB James Jackson leads the defense with four interceptions.

Walsh is led by WR Anthony Schrock with 34 catches last season, three for touchdowns. It’s the first meeting between the schools and it takes place at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, the home of the NFL Hall of Fame Game.

Gannon at Lake Erie    7pm  Thursday

The Golden Knights will base their 2013 hopes on defense, Gannon has been near the top of the league in almost every category the last two seasons. DB Mike Phillips is a player to watch, having led the team with 96 tackles last season.

Gannon was 3-8 in 2012, including 1-6 in the PSAC West, but won two of their last three games and took conference champion IUP to the wire in the loss. The good duo of QB Liam Nadler and WR Abraham Ocasio return to lead the offense for the Golden Knights. Nadler averaged 257 yards per game throwing and Ocasio was third in the conference with 10 touchdown catches.

Gannon won last year’s matchup 13-10 in Erie and has taken four of the five meetings between the teams. Lake Erie gave up over 40 points per game in the offensive minded GLIAC last season. Watch out for running back Anthony Bilal, he ran for 855 yards last season, a single season school record.

Morgan State at Robert Morris   Noon

Morgan State lost 28-12 last Friday night at Army. The Bears trailed 21-0 and committed eight penalties in the first half alone.

Bears QB Robert Council figured on both touchdowns, scoring on a yard run and hit Chris Flowers for a 22 yard score. Lamont Brown ran 19 times for 77 yards for Morgan State.

The Colonials were handled by 19th ranked Eastern Kentucky 38-6 last Thursday night. True freshman Alex Caratelli caught a td pass from Paul Jones. Jones was 16-28 for 177 yards in his RMU debut, Dontae Jeter and Duane Mitchell each had five catches to lead the Colonials.

Linebacker Mike Cook led the defense with ten tackles, Samuel Collins made eight stops for RMU.

Duquesne at Dayton   1pm

The Dukes come off a win over Albany last week on the Bluff and hit the road for the first time in 2013. QB Dillon Buechel made a good first impression, going 21 of 28 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. Buechel was named co-NEC Rookie of the Week.  Gianni Carter and Sean Brady each caught one td pass in the win.

LB Sam Martello was also honored, as co-NEC Defensive Player of the Week, assisting on an Aaron Reed tackle for a safety on the first play from scrimmage. Martello made five tackles and forced a fumble in the third quarter that led to a Dukes touchdown on the next play.

Dayton opened the season with a 28-10 loss at YSU last Thursday night. QB Will Bardo threw for 195 yards and a touchdown but was picked off twice. The Flyers defense forced four Youngstown State turnovers.

St. Francis at Georgia Southern   6pm

The Red Flash open the 2013 season on the road. Senior TB Kyle Harbridge returns after missing all of 2012 with an injury. Harbridge has ran for over 25 hundred yards in his career and was one of the top rushers in FCS play in 2011.

St. Francis will open with a two quarterback rotation, as Max Ward and Capri Thompson will share time. Anthony Abeid also returns in the backfield for the Red Flash, he was the NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.

The Red Flash have a Clairton connection with Thompson, linebacker Bishop Neal, linebacker Eric Walker and linebacker Brandon Small. First team NEC safety Jake DeMedal also returns, the former Wilmington star led the Red Flash with 88 tackles last season.

Georgia Southern made quick work of Savannah State last week, with a 77-9 final. The Eagles ran for 576 yards and eight different players found the end zone with a running touchdown.

The Eagles led off right where they ended 2012, leading the FCS with a 399 yards per game average on the ground in 2012.

Mercyhurst at Bentley   Noon

The Lakers tied for the PSAC West crown last season, finishing 9-2 overall. Mercyhurst enters the season on a three game winning streak and with two of their key offensive weapons returning for 2013. QB Anthony Vendemia threw for 1,938 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. RB Brandon Brown-Dukes was the PSAC West Freshman of the Year, running for 1,295 yards and 16 touchdowns, good for second in the PSAC.

The defense is led by lineman Dustin Galich with 55 tackles in 2012 and three sacks.

Bentley has their top offensive weapons back for 2013, QB Danny Guadgadnoli and WR Jeff Hill. The pair connected for 10 touchdowns last season.

Kutztown at Clarion   1pm

The Golden Bears finished 7-4 last season and look to build off the momentum of a four game winning streak to end 2012. RB Curtis Wortham was a PSAC East first teamer at running back last season. He is also dangerous in the return game for Kutztown.

Clarion was 4-7 last season and 2-5 in the PSAC West. The Golden Eagles will again be led by QB Ben Fiscus, who threw for 2,480 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. Fiscus will also tuck and run with the ball at any given time. WR Jon Reid also returns, he had 52 catches last season but just two touchdowns.

The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series 14-7, dating back to 1941.

IUP at Southern Connecticut State   1pm

The Crimson Hawks are the only team in the PSAC West to receive national attention this season, starting at number 10 in both the AFCA Top 25 and D2football.com polls. IUP was also the favorite of the league coaches to win the West, the Crimson Hawks are the PSAC defending champions.

IUP has never lost to SCSU, handing the Owls a 33-6 defeat at George P. Miller Stadium in 2012. IUP returns the top five receivers from last season, including Terrill Barnes and Pat Brewer.

Defense was the key for the Crimson Hawks in 2012, taking the team to the regional final. IUP was first in the nation in total and scoring defense, allowing a nation’s best 12 points per game. LB Carl Fleming anchors the D, he made 88 tackles last season and was named the MVP of the league’s championship game.

The Owls are led by QB Jacob Jabionski and TB Vaughn Magee, who ran for over 126 yards per game, placing him in the top 15 of D-II running backs.

California at Hillsdale   7pm

The Vulcans finished 8-3 last season but did not win or share the PSAC West title for the first time in eight seasons. Cal will base their hopes on WR Mike Williams, who was third in the conference with 1,006 receiving yards, he had ten touchdowns.

LB B.J. Stevens anchors a strong defense. Stevens led D-II with 14.5 sacks and the conference with 22.5 tackles for loss.

Hillsdale returns four of five starters on the offensive line and WR Andrew Matt. Matt had 40 catches last season, four for touchdowns.

Thiel at Juniata   Noon

The Tomcats were 3-7 last season and fell to Juniata 16-13 in Greenville to open the 2012 season.

With four starters returning on the offensive line and leading receiver in tight end Bernard Grube back, Thiel looks to find a way to the end zone more often in 2013.

Thiel was second in the league in total defense and led the conference in stopping the run and sacking the quarterback.

Saint Vincent at Bridgewater   1pm

The Bearcats have lost eleven straight games, including an 0-10 campaign in 2012. It won’t be easy to start the season, Saint Vincent has never beaten Bridgewater in three tries.

Saint Vincent will get WR Chace Ginyard back this season, he missed all of 2012 due to injury.

Muskingum at Waynesburg   1:30pm

Waynesburg comes off a 10-1 season, the second best mark in school history and a trip to the ECAC Southwest Bowl. The Yellow Jackets return twelve starters overall.

The defense has eight of those starters back, including all PAC safety Bryan Gay and lineman Brandon Fedorka.

Carnegie Mellon at Grove City   1:30pm

CMU was 6-5 last season and averaged over 29 points per game. The Tartans return two outstanding weapons for 2013 in their final season in the UAA before moving to the PAC next year.

QB Rob Kalkstein threw for 2,148 yards last season, a school record, he ranked fifth on the all-time passing list. WR Tim Kitka is the favorite target, he set a season mark with 954 receiving yards.

On defense, watch out for DB Liam McGrath, who picked off seven passes last season.

The Wolverines finished 5-3 in the PAC last season and 6-4 overall. QB Brian Pell returns, he is second all-time at Grove City in passing yards. WR Anthony Ritchie also returns, giving Pell a solid target to throw to.

CMU leads the all-time series 24-18-2, including victories in the last four meetings. 

Bethany at Centre   1:30pm

QB Matt Grimard is back for his senior season, he broke eleven Bethany single season or career marks last season and is close to another, needing just two touchdown passes to move into the career top spot. Grimard has thrown for 51 touchdowns over the last three seasons as a Bison.

Bethany looks to rebound off a 3-7 campaign in 2012, including 3-5 in the PAC. New coach Bill Garvey takes over the team, he served as the Bison offensive coordinator the last seven seasons. In addition to Grimard returning, the Bison also bring back their leading receiver in Eric Blinn, who was second in the PAC with 790 yards and the team’s leading rusher in Phil Acrie. Acrie averaged over four yards per carry.

Westminster at Hiram   7pm

The Titans finished 3-6 last season but look to rebound in 2013. QB Dak Britt and RB Tyler Banks both return, the duo made up 91 percent of the Westminster offense in 2012.

Westminster must find a way to win the close game, four of the six losses last season came by a touchdown or less.

Kenyon at Allegheny   1:30pm

Allegheny returns 15 starters from last year. All NCAC lineman Jesse Battaglia leads the offensive line, along with co-captain Ty Pryor, who has made 26 straight starts at left guard.

Freshman Joe Nigro will start at quarterback for the Gators, the fourth new starter at QB in as many years.

Kenyon was 6-4 in the NCAC last season, their first winning season since 2005.


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