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Small College Football Preview

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Cal U Looks to Bounce Back Against No. 4 Shepherd

After dropping out of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) poll, California (Pa.) will face one of the toughest Division II teams in the country – No. 4 Shepherd (W.Va.) on Saturday.

The Vulcans will look to return to the win column after they fell to Kutztown last week, 24-19. Entering that matchup, Cal U was ranked No. 17, but has since dropped outside the top-25 only receiving 18 votes.

It will be a quarterback duel in Shepherdstown, W.Va. as Rams quarterback Tyson Bagent leads the PSAC with 583 passing yards and seven touchdowns through the air. Vulcans quarterback Noah Mitchell is not far behind Bagent as he has thrown for 447 yards and five touchdowns.

Shepherd also has the advantage in the run game with Ronnie Brown paving the way with 391 rush yards and five touchdowns for the best rushing unit in the PSAC. The Rams also boast the best run defense in the conference, which will be a tough test for the Vulcans offense.

No. 11 Slippery Rock Seeks 10th Straight Win Over Millersville

With two wins already secured, No. 11 Slippery Rock seeks its third consecutive 3-0 start to a season against Millersville.

In back-to-back games to begin the season, The Rock won by a margin of 32 and 21 points, respectively. Slippery Rock’s offense has been dominant and consistent throughout 60 minutes in the first two games of the year. 

Millersville is looking to dig itself out of an 0-2 start to the 2022 season, but the Marauders draw a potent opponent in The Rock. Slippery Rock leads the all-time series 19-4-1, along with a nine-game winning streak against Millersville

IUP Aims for 2-0 Start

Following an emotional season-opening win at home against East Stroudsburg, Indiana (Pa.) travels to Shippensburg.

The Crimson Hawks clawed out a win on home turf as Nick Andrasi kicked a 32-yard field goal to clinch the victory. Transfer quarterback Mak Sexton showcased what he can bring to the table for IUP as he tossed for 360 yards and three touchdowns.

Shippensburg is looking to notch its second win of the season after defeating Seton Hill last week at home, 36-17. The Raiders received a 75-yard interception for a touchdown and 100-yard kick return in the win against the Griffins.

Elevated Running Attack Needed Against Bloomsburg

For the first time this season Edinboro returns to Sox Harrison Stadium to take on Bloomsburg after a two-game road swing to start the 2022 campaign.

Edinboro squeaked out a 10-7 win in the season opener against Franklin Pierce (N.H.) and then fell by 34 points to Shepherd last week. The passing game has accumulated 515 yards over the first two games whereas the run game has been quiet. This time around, the Fighting Scots hope for a better performance on the ground after a mere 16 rushing yards were collected against Shepherd.

Clarion Pass Game Searches for Improvement Against Lock Haven

It has not been the start Clarion has wanted but the Golden Eagles have an opportunity to claim their first win of the season on Saturday against 1-1 Lock Haven.

Lock Haven pulled out a gutsy one-point victory against Post (Conn.) to start the year, but only scored one touchdown in a 49-7 rout against Mercyhurst last week. 

On the other hand, Clarion has scored a combined 17 points over its first two games to start the year. While Clarion’s running game has been sufficient, the passing game has been nowhere to be found. Quarterback Zach Benedek has the chance to show out against Lock Haven as the Bald Eagles own one of the worst pass defenses in the PSAC.

Gannon Battles West Chester for First 3-0 Start Since 2016

As the PSAC crossover schedule continues, West Chester will travel across the state to face Gannon in Erie, Pa.

While West Chester looks to score over 20 points for the first time this year, Gannon’s tough defense expects to put pressure on the Golden Rams. Gannon’s defense is first in the PSAC in total defense, holding teams to 231 yards per game. The Golden Knights also get to the quarterback more than any other team in the PSAC as they have recorded 12 sacks to start the season.

Gannon is also looking to clinch its first victory against West Chester all-time as the Golden Rams hold a 4-0 lead in the series. Also, the Golden Knights aim to start a season 3-0 for the first time since 2016.

High Scoring Lakers Offense Looks to Continue Trend

One team that has surprised in the early goings of the 2022 slate has been Mercyhurst following a 4-7 season a year ago. As the Lakers hope to make it 3-0, they will host Kutztown on Saturday.

With 47 points scored per game, the Lakers lead the PSAC in scoring. While the passing game has been hit or miss, the running game has stood out thus far. Last week in a 49-7 win over Lock Haven, three different running backs scored a touchdown with Dustin Shoaf (Yough) runnin it in twice.

Kutztown will have a tall test in handling the Lakers’ run game. As the Golden Bears upset Cal U last week they managed to hold the Vulcans to under 100 yards and kept them out of the end zone.

Seton Hill, East Stroudsburg to Fight for First Win

Both Seton Hill and East Stroudsburg are searching for its first win of the season with the two teams facing off in Greensburg, Pa. on Saturday.

Seton Hill is looking for better fortunes compared to its first two games. The Griffins lost to Wheeling to start the year in sloppy fashion and then got outplayed by Shippensburg in week two. Hoping to change its odds on the 2022 season, Seton Hill returns to Offutt field for its home opener.

If there is any advantage heading into this matchup, East Stroudsburg holds the upper hand with a 3-0 lead in the all-time series.

Top PAC Offense Takes on Tough Defense at Carnegie Mellon

Grove City’s offense has exploded to start the season with quarterback Logan Pfeuffer (Peters Township) at the helm. Pfeuffer and company look to continue to onslaught when they travel into Pittsburgh to take on Carnegie Mellon.

Both squads are off to a 2-0 start as they look to start 1-0 in Presidents Athletic Conference play. Grove City boasts the top offense in the conference through two games, scoring an average of 59 points per game. On the other side of the ball, Carnegie Mellon has been stout defensively which will line up to be a great matchup between the Wolverines’ offense and the Tartans’ defensive unit.

Geneva Travels to Waynesburg in Search for First Win

At John F. Wiley Stadium on Saturday both Geneva and Waynesburg will be looking for something to prove.

Geneva has started off 0-2 this season and is hoping to avoid its first 0-3 start since 2012. Waynesburgh on the other hand is searching for its best start in program history since 2014.

In its first two games, Geneva has failed to stop opposing offenses from finding the back of the end zone, which is where Waynesburg has thrived to start the year, scoring 52 and 31 points, respectively.

Thiel Looks for First Offensive Score of Season

While Thiel has scored only twice in two games to begin the 2022 season, both have come from the defensive side of the ball. On Saturday, the Tomcats will seek their first offensive touchdown when they travel to Saint Vincent. 

On top of Thiel looking for its first offensive score of the season, the Tomcats are attempting to break a lengthy losing streak that dates back to September of 2017. The Tomcats have the opportunity to get into the win column as Saint Vincent also enters the contest with an 0-2 record to start the season.

No. 25 W&J Travels to Case Western Reserve

After jumping into the D3football.com top-25 at No. 25, the Washington and Jefferson Presidents look to start the 2022 season off with a 3-0 record. The Presidents will travel to Case Western Reserve (Ohio).

Washington and Jefferson saw a tremendous performance from its running back unit at Saint Vincent, totaling 268 yards on the ground. Case Western Reserve returns home after hanging 45 points against Waynesburg as the Spartans collected their first win of the year. 

Westminster, Allegheny Look for Defensive Dominance Once Again

After dismantling Bethany (W.Va.) at home, Westminster welcomes Allegheny to Memorial Field.

Both teams enter Saturday’s matchup 1-1 after each collecting their first win a week ago. Allegheny’s defense held Thiel’s offense scoreless last week as the Gators scored 34 points in the winning effort. Westminster also played stifling defense, holding Bethany to a field goal in a 42-3 victory.

 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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