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Small College Preview: IUP, Shepherd Set for PSAC Championship Tilt

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IUP, Shepherd Set for PSAC Championship Tilt

No. 19 Indiana (Pa.) hosts Shepherd for the PSAC Championship game at Miller Stadium on Saturday as the Crimson Hawks aim for their first title since 2017.

IUP enters the game after finishing the regular season 8-1 with its lone loss coming against a much-improved Gannon team. The Crimson Hawks responded well last week with a 45-0 blanking over Clarion.

Much of the Crimson Hawks’ success can be credited to Pittsburg State transfer quarterback Mak Sexton. Sexton is second in the conference in both completion percentage and touchdown passes. On the receiving end, Duane Brown has balled out, collecting 16 touchdown receptions. The Crimson Hawks also boast the second-best offense in the conference.

The one team ahead of Sexton and the Crimson Hawks on offense – Shepherd. The Rams are riding into the title game with a perfect 10-0 record as they are seeking their first conference title since joining the PSAC in 2019. 

Senior quarterback Tyson Bagent has been stellar all season. He has thrown for 3,273 yards with 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The running game has also complemented the air attack well for the Rams. Ronnie Brown leads the conference with 1,089 yards.

No. 9 Slippery Rock Hosts Former Championship Foe, Kutztown

For the first time in three years, Slippery Rock and Kutztown will not be vying for the PSAC crown.

On Saturday, it will be a rematch of the last two conference title games as Kutztown edged out Slippery Rock 38-32 last year to clinch the championship. In 2019, it was Slippery Rock who claimed a 37-35 victory. 

This season, The Rock clinched a share of the PSAC West title but did not reach the championship game due to a head-to-head loss against IUP. Slippery Rock still owns the best scoring defense in the conference, whereas Kutztown sits above them allowing 252.4 yards per game.

Kutztown currently sits with a 5-2 conference record as the Golden Bears are looking to bounce after a 28-9 defeat last week against West Chester.

Gannon Aims to Tie Program Record

For the first time since 2003, Gannon has its eyes set on a program-tying ninth win when Shippensburg visits McConnell Family Stadium. 

The Golden Knights have seen a big improvement in year three under Erik Raeburn with a jump from five wins last season. The production has come from an all-around offensive system with quarterback Kory Cutis leading the way.

As for Shippensburg, the Raiders enter the matchup with a 4-6 overall record. Last week, the Raiders snapped a three-game losing skid with a 44-7 win over Lock Haven.

RMU To Face One-Win Murray State

It has been a tough season for Robert Morris as the Colonials still are in search of their first win of the season and they have another golden opportunity to do that when they hit the road to face a 1-8 Murray State team.

Last week, RMU once again went down early as the Colonials trailed 20-0 in the second quarter. With a change in quarterback to freshman Zach Tanner, the Colonials started a comeback, but it was not enough. 

Murray State finally clinched its first win of the season with a 19-3 win over Tennessee State during its homecoming game. Just like Robert Morris, Murray State also sits near the bottom in the FCS in several categories, including total offense as the Racers average 291.3 yards of offense a game.

Carnegie Mellon Finishes With Tough Test Against Case Western

After collecting its second consecutive Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship during its bye week, Carnegie Mellon will finish with a tough task against Case Western Reserve.

In Ryan Larsen’s first season at the helm of the Carnegie Mellon program, the Tartans have put together a 9-0 overall record and boast one of the top defenses in the conference. The Tartans have limited teams to 11.3 points per game. 

After suffering a one-point loss against Westminster a week ago, Case Western Reserve is looking for a bounce-back win. Spartans quarterback Drew Saxton has been one of the most complete signal callers in the conference this season and will look to pose a threat against a stingy Carnegie Mellon defense.

Cal U Looks to Finish Season Above .500

California (Pa.) concludes its topsy-turvy season with a home tilt against East Stroudsburg.

The Vulcans began the season ranked within the Division II polls but have had an up-and-down season that currently has them sitting with a 5-5 overall record. Cal U is looking to respond after falling 25-13 last week against Gannon. East Stroudsburg holds a 4-6 overall record entering the last game of its season. Four of the losses for the Warriors have come within one score.

W&J, Waynesburg to Meet for ‘PAC Backyard Brawl’

Rivals Washington and Jefferson and Waynesburg will meet for the 50th time on Saturday to partake in the “PAC Backyard Brawl.”

The Presidents have dominated the series against the Yellow Jackets, winning the last seven contests and 17 out of the last 19. Along with that dominance, the Presidents are riding into the game coming off impressive back-to-back wins. 

On the other hand, Waynesburg is looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Despite last week’s big defeat, the rushing unit still ran for 263 yards and a touchdown.

Westminster Travels to Rival Geneva

Westminster will look to add one more win in search of a postseason bowl bid when the Titans take on Geneva.

While Westminster will not collect another PAC title this season, the Titans have strung together an impressive back half of the season, winning their last four games. Geneva is also hoping to end the season on a high note as the Golden Tornadoes have won their last two games with impressive offensive outputs.

Edinboro Seeks 16th-Straight Over Lock Haven

Over the years, Edinboro has had Lock Haven’s number and the Fighting Scots are looking to extend their 15-game winning streak over the Bald Eagles. 

While the Fighting Scots are aiming to extend the long streak over Lock Haven, they are also looking to snap a two-game skid over the past few weeks. Last week, Edinboro fell by one score to No. 9 Slippery Rock. Edinboro will have an opportunity to break the losing streak as Lock Haven has yet to win a conference game this season and sits 1-9 overall.

Clarion Attempts to End Scoring Drought Against West Chester

Points have come sparingly over the past few weeks for Clarion as the Golden Eagles have been shut out in their last two matchups. The Golden Eagles will attempt to end that scoring drought when they face West Chester.

While Clarion’s offense has struggled, the defense nears the bottom in the PSAC conference in points per game and yards per game. West Chester will pose as another tough opponent for the Golden Eagles as the Golden Rams have outscored their last two opponents 86-19.

Seton Hill Looks to Use Recent Momentum Against Millersville

Seton Hill began the season winless through eight games but have since responded with back-to-back solid performances. Now, Seton Hill ends the season with Millersville as the Griffins hope to use that momentum from the previous two weeks.

Two weeks ago, Seton Hill grabbed its first win of the season in convincing fashion over Edinboro and then the Griffins shut out Mercyhurst in a 7-0 defensive game. Millersville on the other hand is looking for its fifth conference win of the season.

Mercyhurst Searches for First Win Since Week Two

Things have not been pretty for the Mercyhurst Lakers across the majority of the season as they currently are riding an eight-game losing streak, but they have an opportunity to end that against Bloomsburg.

Outside of the first few weeks for both Bloomsburg and Mercyhurst, both teams have struggled to score more than 20 points. Both offenses range in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring in the conference. Along with Mercyhurst, Bloomsburg is also looking to put an end to a three-game drought.

Grove City, Thiel Battle in Rivalry Matchup

Grove City will look to retain the Mercer County Cup when it hosts Thiel for the 108th all-time matchup.

In what was a promising start to the season for Grove City as it aimed for a conference title, quickly dwindled after back-to-back losses to Westminster and Washington and Jefferson, respectively. Earlier this season, Thiel snapped its long-lasting drought but has since dropped four consecutive games.

Saint Vincent Caps Season Against Bethany

Saint Vincent will look to add its fifth conference win of the season with the Bearcats host Bethany.

After a sluggish start to the season, Saint Vincent has won its last three out of four games. In those three wins, the Bearcats surpassed 40 points in each contest. Since its season-opening win, Bethany has struggled to find any success. The Bison are coming off of a 20-17 overtime matchup against Allegheny.

 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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