Three things to watch in district college football
The college football regular season is nearly halfway over, and the top teams are beginning to separate themselves.
That process continues this weekend as the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and Presidents’ Athletic Conference feature games matching league unbeatens.
Here are three things to watch:
1. Who will stay perfect?
Washington & Jefferson finally played a close game last week, holding off Bethany, 27-20. A tougher test awaits Saturday, when the No. 10 Presidents (5-0, 4-0) host No. 16 Case Western Reserve (4-0, 3-0) at 1 p.m.
Both teams have outscored their opponents by about 30 points per game and rank 1-2 in the conference in points scored and allowed.
The game also features the PAC’s top two quarterbacks: W&J junior Jacob Adams (1,451 yards, 17 touchdowns, four interceptions) and Case Western’s Drew Saxton (1,183, 14 touchdowns, two interceptions).
Presidents sophomore Andrew Wolf’s breakthrough season continued last week with 12 catches, 138 yards and a touchdown. Wolf leads all divisions with 849 yards and 13 touchdowns.
2. Who’s best in the West?
Now is when things get really interesting for Clarion (4-1, 2-0 PSAC West). The Golden Eagles, whose four-game winning streak is their longest in three years, host Cal (Pa.) (3-2, 2-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday for their homecoming game.
The teams are tied for first place in the division with Slippery Rock, and Clarion can prove how far it has come from last year by beating the Vulcans, who knocked off then-No. 2 IUP last week.
Clarion’s run defense ranks third in the nation, allowing 63 yards per game. Seniors Alec Heldreth and Layne Skundrich (North Allegheny) lead the team with 32 tackles apiece. The Golden Eagles are giving up 17.6 points per game, third in the PSAC.
They’ll be opposed by a Cal team that features the conference’s top passer in freshman Noah Mitchell (1,625 yards) and top rusher in junior Nelson Brown (544 yards, 11 touchdowns).
3. IUP eyes bounceback vs. SRU
The No. 14 Crimson Hawks (4-1, 1-1 PSAC West), who saw their 21-game regular-season winning streak end last week, host The Rock (4-1, 2-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday.
IUP’s offense hasn’t been as prolific as last season. Part of it is because three of the Crimson Hawks’ wins have been blowouts, but IUP ranks third worst in the PSAC in passing. Senior quarterback Lenny Williams (Sto-Rox), who threw two interceptions last week, leads the team with 298 rushing yards.
Junior Samir Bullock, who led the team with 1,252 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season, is out with an injury. That means bigger roles for sophomore Justice Evans and redshirt senior Chris Temple, who are both former 1,000-yard rushers.
Slippery Rock leads the conference in scoring at 41.2 points per game and is paced by junior quarterback Roland Rivers, who entered the season as the third-stringer.
In three games, Rivers has thrown for 747 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception.
However, those previous three opponents have a combined record of 2-13.