Three games to watch in district college football for Saturday, Oct. 27

November 14, 2018

One conference title race was thrown into chaos last week when Westminster defeated Washington & Jefferson, 27-20, in a Presidents’ Athletic Conference matchup.

This week’s district football schedule features two more games that could affect conference championship contenders -- including one that could redeem the Presidents’ loss -- and one matchup with a milestone at stake.

1. Slippery Rock at Cal (Pa.)

Next up for Slippery Rock in its bid to be king of the PSAC West is a trip to Cal. The Rock enters the game 5-0 in the division, and the Vulcans (4-1) trail by a game.

The Vulcans took a potentially costly loss to Gannon two weeks ago before bouncing back with a win over Mercyhurst. But the common denominator in both games was Cal’s inability to stop the run. Mercyhurst piled up 199 yards on the ground, and Gannon’s Marcus Jones gashed them for 276.

That could be problematic as The Rock has found a ground game to complement quarterback Roland Rivers (1,665 yards, 19 TDs). Wes Hills trampled Clarion’s staunch defense for 206 yards last week.

2. Case Western Reserve at Bethany

So why the interest in two out-of-district teams? No. 19 W&J (7-1, 6-1) could do what the Pittsburgh Steelers did last week: take sole possession of first place without playing.

The Presidents are off after the loss to Westminster left them tied atop the PAC with Case Western Reserve (6-1, 5-1). A loss to Bethany would drop the Spartans behind W&J in the standings and, perhaps, improve the Presidents’ playoff seeding should they go on to win the PAC title outright.

Led by freshman quarterback Drew Saxton (South Fayette), No. 20 CWRU averages 40.7 points. Bethany (3-4, 3-3) counters with a defense -- led by Penn-Trafford grad Joseph Fiasco (8.3 tackles per game) -- that allows only 19.9 points.

3. St. Francis (Pa.) at Robert Morris

New Robert Morris coach Bernard Clark Jr. is looking for his first Northeast Conference win -- the Colonials are 0-3 in the NEC (2-5 overall) -- and his first winning streak after RMU beat nonconference foe Central State last week.

Robert Morris’ offense has been stellar, averaging 30.1 points, thanks largely to the running back combination of Alijah Jackson (568 yards, 5 TDs) and Teren Stephens (559, 3 TDs). But the defense gives up an average of 561 yards and 48.4 points per game.

St. Francis (2-5, 0-2) boasts the conference’s best defense (league lows of 303 yards per game and 16 TDs allowed), led by linebacker Ben Bruni (Mt. Lebanon), who averages 8.3 tackles and has 2½ sacks.

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