District College Football Preview for Saturday, November 21

Thursday, November 19, 2015 | 8:11 PM

Week 12 of the district college football slate has a mix of playoff games, ECAC Bowls and the final week of the NEC regular season.

SRU and IUP begin their quest for a NCAA Division II title. Westminster and Carnegie Mellon play a post season game for the first time in ages, while Duquesne and Saint Francis meet with the NEC title and a playoff bid on the line.

Here are previews of ALL THE GAMES:

NCAA Division II Playoffs
Virginia Union (8-2) at Slippery Rock (10-1)   Noon

The Rock looks to change their playoff luck with the home game.

Virginia Union makes their first NCAA trip in 24 years. The Panthers were 6-1 in the CIAA this season and will be well rested, having 14 days between games.

The Panthers allow just 17 points per game. Rodeshawn Joseph leads the defense with 5 interceptions.

Hakeem Holland is the leading rusher at 1,012 yards and 12 touchdowns. Shawheem Dowdy is the QB, he has thrown for 2,035 yards with 19 td’s and a dozen interceptions. Olu Izegwire leads the Panthers with 36 catches.

Slippery Rock claimed the PSAC State Title with a 61-12 drubbing of West Chester last week to claim the championship for a second straight year. It’s the third straight NCAA trip for SRU and the highest seed in the D-Ii playoffs since 1999.

The Rock was the top scoring offense in the PSAC at 48 points per game. Slippery Rock actually fell to #10 in this week’s AFCA D-II coaches poll. 

QB Dante Nania(Hempfield) was named the MVP of that game and PSAC West Offensive Athlete of the Week. The senior threw for 304 yards and 5 touchdowns in the win. Nania has thrown for 2,471 yards with 24 touchdowns. Cornelius Raye leads the Rock with 44 catches.

Slippery Rock features a great rushing attack with Shamar Greene(West Mifflin). The senior has 1,165 rushing yards on the year. Julian Durden(Montour) rushed for 845 yards but leads the Rock with 19 touchdowns. Greene has added 12 scores.

Senior LB Teven Williams was named PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week with 9 tackles in last week’s win. Williams leads the Rock with 77 tackles. Marcus Martin(West Mifflin) has posted 10 sacks. The SRU defense has 19 interceptions this year.

IUP (9-1) at Charleston (10-1)   Noon
The Crimson Hawks enter into the playoffs off a 62-0 victory over winless Cheyney last week.

IUP is the best scoring defense in the PSAC at 17 points allowed per game and has 20 interceptions on the year. The Crimson Hawks have outscored the opposition 126-21 in the opening quarter this year.

IUP has had much success running the ball in 2015. Chris Temple rushed for 1,035 yards with 16 td’sand 16 td’s. QB Lenny Williams(Sto-Rox) has 994 yards rushing. The Crimson Hawks also got Luigi Lista-Brinza(Pittsburgh Central Catholic) back last week, he scored a pair of touchdowns giving him 5 for the year.

Williams has only 8 td passes on the year. Walt Pegues has 51 catches.

Charleston has won 9 straight game since losing to #1 seed Shepherd 45-25 in week 2. The Golden Eagles average 43 points per game.

Tevion Cappe leads Charleston with 681 rushing yards. Jeremy Johnson has thrown for 1,998 yards and 16 td’s. Johnson has been picked off just 3 times.

Joey Augusin has 45 catches while Rashawn Dickerson has 41. Augustin and Marcus Elam each have 10 touchdowns.

ECAC Division III Bowl Championships @ Central Connecticut State:
Westminster (8-2) vs. Saint John Fisher (7-3)    11am

These two programs meet for the first time ever.

The Titans blanked Geneva 32-0 to post their best record since 2000. It was Westminster’s 6th straight win.

Westminster must avoid the yellow flags to bring home a win, the Titans are the most penalized team in the PAC at 91 yards per game. However, the Titans can play keep away, holding the football for just shy of 34 minutes per game.

The Titans are led by Dominique McKinley(Greensburg Salem) with 1,148 rushing yards. QB Paul Columbo has 8 td passes but 10 interceptions.

Junior LB Mac Quinn made 103 tackles this season. Todd Jeter(gateway) leads the Titans with 5 interceptions.

The Cardinals finished 6-2 in the Empire 8 this season  and are 6-1 all-time in ECAC bowl games. James Chambers has run for 586 yards and 10 touchdowns. QB Matt Naton has thrown for 1,688 yards and 15 td’s. Nathan Nigolian and Bobby Campese each have 44 catches.

St John Fisher has won 6 straight games. The Cardinals defeated Alfred 23-9 last week. Chambers ran for 2 scores.

Carnegie Mellon (7-3) vs. Bridgewater State (7-3)   Sunday at Noon
It is the first meeting between these two schools.

The Tartans come off a 52-42 win over Case Western last week, breaking an 8 year losing streak to the Spartans. Senior WR Graham Schilling(Franklin Regional) set a new career mark with 9 catches for 207 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win. He was named PAC Offensive Player of the Week. Schilling leads the Tartans with 47 catches, 10 for scores.

Sam Benger led the PAC and is atop the D-III rushing leaders at 1,897 yards, with 19 td’s. QB Andrew Hearon has thrown for 1,912 yards with 24 touchdowns in 2015.

CMU leads the PAC with a plus 13 turnover ratio this year. Brian Khoury leads the defense with 13.5 sacks. Drew Fitzmorris led the PAC with 6 interceptions.

Bridgewater State was 6-2 in the MASCAC the season. The Bears defeated Massachusetts Maritime 64-42 last week. QB Danny Higgins threw for 3 scores and ran for 2 more in the win.

Higgins has thrown for 1,371 yards with 13 td’s this year, plus 5 more running the ball. Alex McLaughlin has 879 rushing yards but has 16 touchdowns.

NEC Regular Season:
Saint Francis (6-3) at Duquesne (7-3)   Noon

A NEC Title and spot in the FCS playoffs will be on the line at Rooney Field. Both teams are 4-1 in the conference. Both teams have won 3 straight entering into Saturday.

Something will have to give as Saint Francis is the top scoring offense in the NEC at 29 points per game, Duquesne leads in scoring defense at 15 points allowed. The Dukes also lead the conference with a plus 10 turnover ratio. Duquesne is also the least penalized team at 57 yards per game. 

The Red Flash defeated Robert Morris 21-0 last week to set up the title matchup. Khairi Dickson is 2nd in the NEC in rushing at at 100 yards per game, with 901 on the year. Marcus Bagley has added 589 yards, giving Saint Francis a 1-2 punch.

Duquesne comes off a bye week. Rafiq Douglas leads the Dukes with 812 rushing yards. QB Dillion Buechel(Montour) has thrown for 2,167 yards and 17 td’s. The Dukes have a 1-2 duo of their own with Chris King with 62 catches and Wayne Capers(Char Valley) with 40. 

Bryant (5-5) at Robert Morris (3-7)   Noon
The Bulldogs are 3-2 in the NEC. Bryant come off a 28-19 loss to Sared Heart, ending their title hopes.

Ricardo McCray leads the Bryant offense and the NEC with 1,180 rushing yards. Dalton Easton also leads the conference with 2,475 passing yards and 20 td’s. Chad ward has 42 catches.

Cole Blake has run for 646 yards but only 1 touchdown for RMU. Matthew Barr has 5 td passes and 13 interceptions. Kyle Buss has 45 catches. Jake Tkach(West Mifflin) and Mike Stojkovic lead the NEC with 87 and 84 tackles.

The Colonials are 1-4 in conference. 

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