District College Football Preview for Saturday, October 18th

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 9:46 PM

Week seven of the local college football season has a little of everything this week. A Thursday night game, battles for first place in the NEC, PSAC West and PAC and two local teams making a trip to Michigan to play in the Big House.

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

Gannon (4-2) at Edinboro (1-5)     Thursday 7pm
Thursday night football comes to Erie County. Gannon has lost two straight and is now 3-2 in the West Division. RB Brock Jones leads the offense, he is seventh in D-II at 142 rushing yards per game, he has scored eight touchdowns. QB Liam Nadler has thrown for over 14 hundred yards and has eleven touchdown passes.

Edinboro picked up their first win last week, the Fighting Scots are 1-4 in the division. QB Cody Harris leads D-II with a 73 percent completion percentage. Harris had connected with WR Darren Massey for eight touchdowns this season.

Gannon won last year’s meeting 55-14, but Edinboro had won the first seven meetings, including four at Sox Harrison Stadium.

Slippery Rock (5-1) vs. Mercyhurst (2-4)   1pm in Ann Arbor, Michigan
It’s the Battle of the Big House this week as the Rock and Lakers head to the University of Michigan to square off in a key divisional match up. The game will celebrate the 35th anniversary of Slippery Rock’s first trip to Michigan Stadium. The Rock and Shippensburg, played before 61,143 to set the NCAA D-II attendance record.

SRU is now 4-1 in the PSAC West after falling at Cal last week. The Rock rushing attack was held to just 66 yards by the Vulcan defense. Despite that, RB Shamar Greene of West Mifflin is the fifth best rusher in D-II at 147 yards per game. RB Teddy Blakeman has six touchdowns this season, he has scored at least one touchdown in 12 of 18 career games. The Rock leads the PSAC in scoring offense at 48 points per game.

Mercyhurst is now 2-3 in the West and has won two straight, including last week’s win over Gannon 45-38. QB Brandon Boylan was named PSAC West Division Offensive Athlete of the Week for his effort. The junior threw for a career high 446 yards and four touchdowns. RB Brandon Brown-Dukes has been held in check this season with only 371 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

The brief series between the teams is tied at three.

W & J (5-0) at Bethany (5-1)   1pm on WJPA 1450-AM and the MSA Sports Network
A battle for first place in the PAC takes place this week. W & J is 3-0 in the conference, Bethany is 4-0.

The Presidents are ranked 18th in the latest AFCA Division III poll, released on Monday. W & J comes off a 55-14 win over Grove City last week, the fourth time in five games that the Presidents have cracked the 50 point mark.

W & J leads the PAC in scoring offense at 52 points per game and total offense at 556 yards. The Presidents lead the conference at plus 8 in turnover margin. W & J also leads the conference in red zone offense at 30 for 34 with 28 touchdowns.

RB Ryan Ruffing scored four more touchdowns last week, giving him 17 for the season to lead the PAC. The junior from Thomas Jefferson ran for 145 yards on 19 carries and is second in the PAC at 155 yards per game.

QB Pete Coughlin has thrown for over 300 yards in three straight games, the sophomore from Upper St. Clair continues to lead the PAC in passing at 297 yards per game with 18 touchdowns and just one interception. 

Freshman WR Jesse Zubik had five catches for 115 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Max Creighan leads the team with 36 catches, junior Daniel Lis has 27.

Bethany defeated Carnegie Mellon 19-7 last weekend for their fifth straight win.

WR Eric Blinn of Western Beaver continues to add to his career totals at Bethany. The junior went over the 200 reception mark with 15 catches for 135 yards and a score last week. Blinn is the all time leader in both catches and receiving yards, he also leads the PAC with 66 catches and 673 yards.

Sophomore Jalen Holmes of New Castle has ran for 360 yards this season, he has scored three touchdowns in the last two games.

Sophomore Brian Vales is the sixth leading passer in the PAC at 188 yards per game. Vales has eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

Bethany is third in the PAC at a plus 5 in turnover margin.

W & J leads the series 69-21, but Bethany won last year’s match up 24-19 on their home field.

Geneva (1-4) at Case Western Reserve (2-3)   1:30pm on WBVP 1230-AM/WMBA 1460-AM and the MSA Sports Network
Geneva is 0-3 in the PAC and has dropped three straight games, including a Homecoming loss to Thomas More 42-3 last Saturday. The Golden Tornadoes led 3-0 but committed three straight turnovers that led to 21 points and a 21-3 deficit after one quarter. 

The Golden Tornadoes had dropped eight straight road games.

Freshman QB Aaron Channing struggled, still suffering from the effects of a hand injury in the Carnegie Mellon game. Channing was 12-21 for just 54 yards, he was relieved by Nick Cook. Channing has thrown for 1,059 yards this year, he is fourth in the PAC in passing at 211 yards per game.

WR Josh Guiser has 35 catches to lead the GT’s and 363 yards, he has scored five touchdowns. Lemuel Fuller has 29 catches.

Case Western is 2-3 in the PAC, the Spartans have dropped two straight after a 35-15 loss at Waynesburg.

The Spartans are second in the PAC in scoring defense at 19 points per game.

Freshman RB Anthony Canganelli ran for 82 yards in the loss on 18 carries.

Sophomore K Nick Bavaro hit a career long 40 yard field goal.

QB Billy Beecher is fifth in the PAC in passing at 204 yards per game. Beecher has 1,020 yards passing with nine touchdowns and five interceptions.

The teams have split two previous meetings, but the last one was 1977.

Central Connecticut State (2-4) at Robert Morris (0-6)    Noon
The Blue Devils fell 28-20 to Duquesne in the conference opener. Rob Hollomon is second in the NEC at 118 yards rushing per game, he is also seventh in receptions with 24. QB Nick Sangiacomo has thrown for over 12 hundred yards, he has five touchdowns and five interceptions. Tyrell Holmes also has 24 catches.

The Colonials were beaten by defending champion Sacred Heart 52-13 to remain winless. Freshman Rameses Owens is a bright spot for RMU, he is third in the NEC in rushing at 83 yards per game. Duane Mitchell is fourth in the conference in receptions with 32, he has scored two touchdowns. Robert Morris is last in the NEC in both scoring offense and defense.

Bryant (4-1) at Saint Francis (2-4)   Noon
The Bulldogs will play their conference opener. Bryant is led by a two pronged rushing attack of Paul Canevari and Ricardo McCray. Canevari has 340 yards, McCray 242, he also has 13 catches. Sophomore QB Dalton Easton has thrown for 810 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Red Flash fell in double overtime 46-39 to Wagner. RB Khairi Dickson leads the FCS in rushing at 173 yards per game, he has 1,041 yards for the season with nine touchdowns. WR Anthony Abeid has 15 catches this season, three for scores. The Red Flash lead the NEC in scoring offense at 35 points per game. Lorenzo Jerome leads the Red Flash with two interceptions.

Sacred Heart (5-1) at Duquesne (4-2)   Noon
Rooney Field will be the spot for the battle for first place in the NEC and the inside track to the conference title and automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. The Pioneers and Dukes both average 30 points per game. Sacred Heart leads the NEC in scoring defense. The game also features the top two passers in the conference.

The Pioneers have won two straight coming in. QB RJ Noel was named NEC Offensive Player of the Week for his play in a 52-13 win over Robert Morris. The sophomore threw for 295 yards and three scores in the win. Noel is second in the NEC at 210 yards per game, with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Sacred Heart scored on their first four possessions in the victory.

Sophomore LB James Rentz was named NEC Defensive Player of the Week, he made 10 tackles, including 3.5 sacks, and forced a fumble. Senior Robert Dim was named NEC Special Teams Player of the Week for his punt block in the opening quarter.

The Dukes have won four straight since a loss to Youngstown State. Duquesne is 3-0 at Rooney Field this season. LB Nathan Stone was named NEC Rookie of the Week, the Greensburg Central Catholic star, made 11 tackles in last week’s win.

Montour’s Dillon Buechel leads the FCS in passing at 315 yards per game. The sophomore had thrown 14 touchdowns with six interceptions. The Dukes are 1-2 in receptions in the NEC, Chris King has 46, Devin Rahming 41. King has nine touchdowns.

IUP (5-1) at California (5-1)   1pm
The annual Coal Bowl is a battle for first place in the PSAC West, both teams are 4-1 in the division and tied with Slippery Rock for the top spot. IUP leads the series 55-23-2, Cal had won six in a row, until IUP broke the streak with a 20-7 victory last season.

IUP is led by freshman RB Luigi Lista-Brinza of Pittsburgh Central Catholic, he is third in the PSAC at 97 yards per game, with nine touchdowns. WR Drew Carswell has 28 catches this season, five for scores. IUP is second in D-II in rushing defense.

The Vulcans move into the D2football.com poll at #25 after knocking off then #19 Slippery Rock 48-26 at home last week. Sophomore lineman Jawan Turner of Woodland Hills was named PSAC Defensive Athlete of the Week for his performance. Turner made a career high nine tackles and picked off a pass in the win, the Cal defense held SRU to just 66 rushing yards. QB James Harris has thrown for 13 touchdowns this season with just three interceptions. WR Garry Brown has 35 catches, good for third in the PSAC, he has four touchdowns.

Clarion (2-4) at Seton Hill (1-5)   3pm
The Golden Eagles are 2-3 in the PSAC West. Clarion has to get the offense going. QB Connor Simmons is averaging only 127 passing yards per game, he has thrown for five scores. RB Delrece Williams has six rushing touchdowns on just 66 carries.

The Griffins are 1-4 in the West. QB Drew Jackson has done a good job this season, with 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Jackson is averaging 274 yards per game. WR FJ Williams leads the team with 42 catches, he has three touchdowns.

Grove City (0-5) at Carnegie Mellon (2-3)   1pm
The Wolverines are 0-3 in the PAC. Two freshman contributed to the offense in last week’s loss to W & J. QB Gabe Greco of New Brighton threw his first td pass and RB Joe Swanson scored on a two yard run. LB Brandon Berringer recorded a career high 17 tackles in the loss.  Daniel Folkmire is seventh in the PAC with 28 catches.

The Tartans are 2-3 in their first year in the PAC. Sophomore Augie Luptak made a career high 17 tackles in a 19-7 loss to Bethany last week. Carnegie Mellon leads the series 34-19-2. WR Tim Swanson had just four catches last week for 28 yards, the senior is seventh on the all-time receiving yards list.

Waynesburg (5-1) at Westminster (1-5)   1pm
The Yellow Jackets are 3-1 in the PAC, one game back of Bethany. Senior Willie Leavell was named PAC Special Teams Player of the Week, he returned a kickoff 86 yards for a score in a 35-15 win over Case Western Reserve. QB Carter Hill threw for four more touchdowns last week, two to Bernie Thompson. Hill is second in the PAC at 248 passing yards per game. Thompson has 41 catches and six touchdowns.

The Titans are 1-3 in the PAC after a 40-28 victory over Thiel on Homecoming. Freshman QB Paul Columbo threw for a career high 317 yards and four touchdowns in the win, earning him PAC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Columbo is seventh in the PAC in passing at 188 yards per game, he has 8 touchdowns and five interceptions. The victory was also the first for head coach Scott Benzel.

Westminster leads the series 37-32-3, however Waynesburg has won the last three games.

Saint Vincent (2-3) at Thomas More (4-2)   1:30
The Bearcats are 2-1 in the PAC, coming off the bye week. Saint Vincent has never beaten the Saints in seven tries since 2007. Shavonta Craft is fourth in the PAC in rushing at 96 yards per game with five touchdowns. K Morgan Porter is tied for the most field goals in the PAC with seven.

The Saints are 3-1 in the PAC and will play just their second home game of the year. The Saints racked up just shy of 500 yards of offense in last week’s 42-3 victory over Geneva, while holding the GT’s to just 197 yards. Junior DB Ian Gunn was named PAC Defensive Player of the Week, he made 11 tackles in the win. Freshman RB CT Tarrent took over last week and ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns. RB Domonique Hayden left with just four yards on five carries, he needs 65 yards to hit one thousand for the year. Hayden leads the PAC at 155 yards rushing per game, he is second with 15 touchdowns.

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