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Small College Football Roundup: Slippery Rock, Carnegie Mellon Advance in NCAA Tournaments; RMU Finishes 0-11

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Slippery Rock Advances to Second Round of NCAA Playoffs

With Slippery Rock traveling to Assumption (Mass.), it was expected to be a tight defensive battle and that is exactly how it unfolded with The Rock edging out the Greyhounds, 17-14.

Both teams were in the top tier of Division II defenses as Slippery Rock was able to do just enough to get past Assumption. 

On an opening drive that spanned over 10 minutes, Chris D’Or found the end zone on a two-yard rush for The Rock. The lengthy drive would be a telling sign of how the game would pan out. 

Slippery Rock kept Assumption’s passing offense in check for most of the game, but Greyhounds’ quarterback Jake Cady got his team on the board with a five-yard touchdown connection to Quinn Sieger. Slippery Rock responded with another long drive as Noah Grover tossed a four-yard touchdown to junior Cohen Russell. 

After allowing a two-yard rush touchdown in the third quarter, the Slippery Rock defense locked it down to hold on for the win as The Rock only allowed 23 total yards in the fourth quarter.

As Slippery Rock advances to the second round of the Division II NCAA playoffs, The Rock will travel to Shepherd to take on an 11-1 Rams team on Nov. 26. 

Carnegie Mellon Continues Unblemished Season in Dominating Fashion

Entering the first round of the Division III playoffs, Carnegie Mellon was weary of a threatening DePauw team, but the Tartans took care of business in a big way with a 45-14 victory.

After a fumble on the opening kickoff by Carnegie Mellon and a quick capitalizing drive by DePauw, the Tartans shut down the Tigers. Quarterback Ben Mills guided the Tartans in the first half with three passing touchdowns. Two of those touchdown passes connected with Ethan Reifer on similar 14-yard receptions. Then, it was the run game that complemented a strong air attack. Running back Tre Vasiliadis ran for 167 yards and added two scores. 

The defense polished it off with a 45-yard pick-six by sophomore defensive back Nolan Pitsenberger who now has four defensive scores on the season. With the defense closing the door, the Tartans held the Tigers to 255 total yards of offense.

Carnegie Mellon continues its unblemished season when it travels to No. 1 seed North Central (Ill.) which is coming off a 50-0 win in its opening game of the playoffs.

Robert Morris Concludes Winless Season

On Saturday, Robert Morris had one more opportunity to claim its first win of the season with former NEC foe Bryant (R.I.) in town, but the Bulldogs ended that hope with a 35-6 win.

A common theme was once again on display for the Colonials as they dropped to another large deficit, allowing 28 unanswered points through the first three quarters. Bryant quarterback Zevi Eckhaus carved up the RMU secondary with four touchdowns on 341 yards.

RMU’s lone score came early in the fourth quarter as Zach Tanner connected on a 40-yard pass with Demonte Martin. 

The Colonials end a painful season with an 0-11 record to conclude to program’s first winless season.

W&J Caps Season with Bowl Win Over Hobart

With several key plays igniting the offense in the second quarter, Washington and Jefferson capped off its season with a 35-18 win over Hobart in the ECAC Asa S. Bushnell Bowl.

Back-to-back 30-plus yard touchdowns pushed the Presidents ahead in the second quarter. Quarterback Jacob Pugh (Thomas Jefferson) found John Peduzzi for 38 yards and then moments later Zach Cernuto (Southmoreland) ran one to the end zone on 32 yards. Pugh and Peduzzi also connected on a touchdown pass to start the game on the way to 221 passing yards and three touchdowns for Pugh. 

The Presidents’ defense also stood tall all game long against a team averaging roughly 28 points per game. Hobart failed to move the ball for more than 100 yards on the ground while also throwing an interception.

Washington and Jefferson ends the year with its first nine-win season since 2018.

Grove City’s Defense Stifles FDU-Florham in Bowl Win

While Grove City’s offense took care of business, the defense stepped up big time in a 31-14 win in the ECAC James Lynah Bowl over Farleigh Dickinson University-Florham.

FDU-Florham’s ground game was held to negative yardage while the offense also allowed seven sacks and turned the ball over twice. 

Grove City’s defensive play was represented by a few individuals including senior linebacker Ryan Fleming (South Fayette) who recorded a career-high 3.5 sacks. Fleming was rewarded with the game’s Most Valuable Player award. Freshman linebacker Ben Bladel (Moon) also posted two sacks and collected a fumble recovery.

On the offensive side, the Wolverines found the end zone on the ground three times. Despite not scoring, sophomore running back Nico Flati (West Allegheny) paved the way with 155 rush yards.

The Wolverines finish with back-to-back 8-3 seasons.

 

 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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