District College Football Preview for Saturday, November 1

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:58 PM

Week 9 of the district college football slate was to see a battle for first place in the PSAC West with #25 California hosting Gannon on Saturday afternoon. But school officials announced Thursday afternoon that the Vulcans would forfeit the game to the Golden Knights after five players were arrested and charged after a violent incident outside of a local bar early Thursday morning.

Interim President Geraldine Jones, in a release to the media, announced that she had asked that the game be cancelled. The five players have been suspended from the school and the PSAC informed Cal that they would forfeit the game.

The Vulcans had just moved into the AFCA D-II rankings and were slotted third in the first NCAA D-II Super Region One poll released this week. The top six teams in those rankings advance to the Division II playoffs. The loss drops Cal into a first place tie with Gannon, it could be a three way tie if Slippery Rock defeats Edinboro on Saturday. Cal defeated Slippery Rock earlier this season, the Rock defeated the Golden Knights. The forfeit also brings IUP and Mercyhurst back into the West title picture at 4-3, the division champion represents the West in the PSAC state title game against the East champion in four weeks.

Featured action on the slate of games this week includes a NEC battle of the two best scoring offenses in the conference and a meeting for second place and the chance to stay in the PAC race between Thomas More and Waynesburg.

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

Geneva (2-5) at W & J (7-0)   1:30 on WBVP 1230-AM/WMBA 1460-AM, WJPA 1450-AM and the MSA Sports Network.

Geneva is 1-4 in the PAC, the Golden Tornadoes have dropped ten straight road games.

RB Dylan Jones of Laurel ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win.

QB Aaron Channing is fourth in the PAC in passing at 205 yards per game. Channing has 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.

WR Josh Guiser leads the GT’s with 42 catches, Lemuel Fuller has 40.

Freshman DB Malcolm Hill was named ECAC Southwest and PAC Defensive Player of the Week. Hill had a 30 yard Pick 6 in the second quarter in a 20-14 victory over Bethany, he also made a career high 13 stops.

The Geneva defense forced five interceptions in last week’s win. Freshman Nate Cannon picked off two of those passes, he leads the PAC with six interceptions. Junior Thomas Benyo also intercepted two passes.

The Presidents are 5-0 in the PAC. W & J is now ranked #15 in the AFCA D-III poll, moving up a spot. If the Presidents are successful on Saturday, it would be the first 8-0 start since 2007.

W & J defeated Case Western Reserve 34-24 at home last week. QB Pete Coughlin from Upper St. Clair threw for 300 or more yards for the fourth time this season. Coughlin leads the PAC with 287 yards passing per game and 19 touchdowns.

Junior running back Ryan Ruffing of Thomas Jefferson ran for 100 yards for the seventh straight game. Ruffing scored four more touchdowns in the win, he is second in the PAC at 149 yards per game, he leads the PAC with 22 touchdowns. 

Freshman WR Jesse Zubik caught 11 passes for 130 yards in last week’s win, he has 36 catches on the year. Daniel Lis and Max Creighan are tied for the team lead with 42 catches.

W & J ran 90 plays in the game, the Presidents have gone over that mark in four of seven games this year and are second in D-III in plays run.

Senior LB Jared Pratt set a career mark with 16 tackles.

W & J leads the series 40-19-2, the Presidents have won seven straight since Geneva joined the PAC.

Duquesne (5-3) at Saint Francis (3-5)    1pm
It’s a battle of the top scoring teams in the NEC, Saint Francis averages 33 points per game, Duquesne 31.

The Dukes are 1-1 in the NEC, coming off a win over Alderson-Broaddus 48-27. Devin Rahming was named the NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, including a 97 yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown. QB Dillon Buechel still leads the NEC at 274 yards passing per game, he sat out last week’s game. Chris King leads the Dukes with 55 catches, he is also atop the NEC, Rahming has 51 catches, he is fifth in the conference.

The Red Flash are 1-2 in the NEC after a win over #22 Sacred Heart 30-27 last week. WR Anthony Abeid was named NEC Offensive Player of the Week, he caught two touchdowns and threw another in the win.

Saint Francis leads the conference in red zone offense, scoring 24 of 25 times inside the 20 with 19 touchdowns. RB Khairi Dickson leads the NEC with 1,323 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Mercyhurst (4-4) at Seton Hill (2-6)    Noon
The Lakers are 4-3 in the PSAC West, having rebounded from an 0-4 start. QB Brendan Boylan has thrown for a ton of yardage the last few weeks. Boylan has 1,751 yards with 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season. WR Jaquan Williams has 30 catches, four for touchdowns. Those numbers bode well for the Lakers against a Seton Hill defense that is last in the PSAC, allowing 488 yards per game. The Lakers need a win to stay alive in the PSAC West race.

The Griffins are 2-5 in the PSAC West, QB Drew Jackson returned last week, he has thrown for 2,051 yards and 15 touchdowns. WR FJ Williams is the main target at 55 catches, six for scores. Seton Hill is third in the PSAC in passing offense at 295 yards per game.

The Lakers won the only game played between the two teams 50-16 last year.

Gannon (7-2) Wins Via Forfeit Over California (7-2) 
See opening paragraph for more details.

Clarion (2-6) at IUP (5-3)   1pm
The Golden Eagles are 2-5 in the PSAC West, having dropped five straight games. Clarion has struggled to run the ball lately, that could be a problem against an IUP defense that is tops in stopping the run in the PSAC, allowing just 76 yards per game. QB Connor Simmons has thrown for 1,206 yards and eight touchdowns, he has been picked off six times.

IUP is 4-3 in the PSAC West, they need a win to stay in the race for the PSAC West title. Freshman RB Luigi Lista-Brinza is fifth in the PSAC in rushing at 91 yards per game, he has scored nine touchdowns. A win by the Crimson Hawks will clinch a sixth straight winning season. IUP leads the series 58-23-3 and has won the last three meetings. Kevin Clarke leads the defense with 94 tackles, tops in the conference. Clarke made 21 stops last week in a loss to Slippery Rock. 

Edinboro (1-7) at Slippery Rock (6-2)    1pm
The Fighting Scots are 1-6 in the PSAC West. The only bright spots for Edinboro this season are QB Cody Harris and WR Darren Massey. Harris is second in D-II with a 69.7 completion perecentage. Massey has 62 catches for 610 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Rock is ranked #9 in the NCAA Division II Super Region One poll released this week, one of four PSAC teams in the top ten. 8-0 Bloomsburg is the top team, Cal is #3, West Chester #4, the top six teams advance to the NCAA D-II playoffs at the end of November.

Slippery Rock defeated IUP 31-21 last week and got back to the running game, rushing for 234 yards. RB Shemar Greene is second in the PSAC with 1,071 yards and 133 yards per game. WR Melvin German is the top big play guy, he has 17 catches but six are for scores. LB Austin Miele of Mars has made 65 tackles, he has also picked off three passes. The Rock defense had eight sacks and forced four interceptions in last week’s win.  Sophomore lineman Joe Phillips of Wash High was named PSAC Defensive Athlete of the Week, he had three sacks, forced a fumble and picked off a pass.

SRU leads the series 50-26-7 and has won the last four meetings.

Thiel (2-5) at Carnegie Mellon (3-4)   1pm
The Tomcats are 1-4 in the PAC, after a 35-32 loss to Waynesburg. Freshman WR Marcus Johnson had ten catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. QB Ryan Radke threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns, he also ran for a score.

The Tartans are 3-4 in the PAC. CMU led 13-0 at Saint Vincent, but fell 38-31 for the Tartans fourth straight loss. Junior QB Andrew Hearon threw for a career high 279 yards in the loss and three touchdowns. Freshman RB Sam Benger ran for over 100 yards for the second straight week.

CMU leads the series 28-10-2, the last meeting was in 2006.

Westminster (1-6) at Saint Vincent (3-4)   1pm
The Titans are 1-4 in the PAC and come off a bye week. A pair of freshman lead the Westminster offense, QB Paul Columbo has thrown for 1,423 yards and 11 touchdowns. RB Domonique McKinley has ran for 311 yards.

The Bearcats are 3-2 in conference play. QB Andy Borgen of Pine-Richland was named both the PAC Offensive Player of the Week and the ECAC D-III Southwest Player of the Week for his performance in a 38-31 victory over CMU. Borgen ran for three scores and threw for two more, including the game winner to DJ Oscent-Kelly. Saturday’s game is the final home game of the season.

Westminster leads the series 10-3.

Bethany (5-3) at Grove City (0-7)   1:30pm
The Bison are 4-2 in the PAC, having dropped two straight league games. WR Eric Blinn of Western Beaver added to his career numbers with nine catches for 102 yards and two scores in the loss at Geneva. The junior is easily the leader in the PAC with 82 catches and 812 yards, he has scored eight touchdowns, matching a career high.

The Wolverines are 0-5 in the PAC, Grove City has scored only 58 points all season. Grove City used four quarterbacks in the loss. Sophomore WR Luke Brancato caught his first NCAA touchdown in the third quarter. Josh Peach caught five passes for 77 yards, Peach started the season as the starting quarterback.

Grove City leads the series 41-23-2.

Thomas More (6-2) at Waynesburg (7-1)   1:30pm
The loser is out of the PAC race, both are 5-1 coming in and trail W & J by one half game. Waynesburg still has to play W & J, Thomas More lost to the Presidents earlier this year. Both teams are on winning streaks, Waynesburg has won four straight, Thomas More three straight.

Sophomore Dustin Mitchell was named NEC Special Teams Player of the Week, he blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in the Saints 64-7 win over Grove City.  A pair of Saints added to the record book last week. WR Goose Cohorn caught his 19th career touchdown, setting a new mark and QB Jensen Gebhardt threw his 50th career scoring strike, he needs one more to become the all-time leader.

RB Domonique Hayden ran for 174 yards and five touchdowns last week. Hayden returned to the lineup after missing almost two games with an injury. The senior has 1,109 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns to lead the PAC.

RB Jake Forsythe went over the 200 yard mark for the second time this season in last week’s win over Thiel, he has 1,050 yards and ten touchdowns on the year, third in the PAC in rushing. QB Carter Hill threw for three more scores in the win, he is second in the conference at 243 yards per game, he has 23 touchdowns.

Thomas More leads the series 7-4.

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