November 18th, 2022 5:00am
The first round of NCAA Division II Super Region One Playoffs is here. #15 IUP (PSAC West) beat #9 Shepherd (PSAC East) in the PSAC Championship Game 24-21 last Saturday. Sunday night we found out that #9 Shepherd (10-1), #15 IUP (9-1), and #20 Slippery Rock (9-2) all made the Super Region One Playoffs. IUP is ranked number one and gets a bye in the opening round. Shepherd and Slippery Rock will both be in action this weekend coming up. I ran a poll on Twitter this week asking if we will see an all PSAC Super Region One title game. 60% of the responses said yes, Shepherd at IUP, 22% said yes, Slippery Rock at IUP, 17% said no, one team from the PSAC, and 2 % said no, zero teams from the PSAC in the title game. Keep reading below to find out team news from the week for each PSAC team playing in the Super Region One Playoffs, previews for this weekend, and my predictions for the games. I was five of eight on my predictions last week, Week Eleven and the end of the regular season in the PSAC, and I was 71 of 95 for the entire regular season (74.7%).
Super Region One Playoffs – Round One – Saturday 11/19/22
#15 IUP (9-1, 6-1 PSAC West) – Bye Week
#15 IUP: Last week, the Crimson Hawks beat Shepherd 24-21 in the PSAC Championship Game. QB Mak Sexton was named the Player of the Game and he was also named the PSAC West Offensive Athlete of the Week. He was 16 of 29 for 169 yards and had three touchdown passes in the win. On Sunday night, IUP was named the number one team in Super Region One. Midweek, the PSAC West post season honors were released. Head Coach Paul Tortorella was named the PSAC West Coach of the Year and wide receiver Duane Brown was named Offensive Athlete of the Year. IUP had five first team selections on offense and three on defense. The Crimson Hawks had 12 student-athletes in all named to the First or Second teams in the PSAC West. They will have a bye this week, as the number one seed, and will play at home next weekend on Saturday 11/26/22. They will face the winner of the Notre Dame (OH) (9-2, 9-1 MEC) at #12 Ashland (9-1, 7-1 GMAC) game being played this week. Ashland beat Notre Dame (OH) 31-14 in week one of the regular season.
New Haven (8-2, 6-1 NE10) at #9 Shepherd (10-1, 7-0 PSAC East) – 12 Noon
New Haven: Last week, the Chargers beat Southern Connecticut 54-14. New Haven rushed for a season high 374 yards in the win. Quarterback Connor Degenhardt, a transfer from Holy Cross, was named the NE10 Offensive Player of the Year. He threw 28 touchdowns on the season. Running back Christopher Ais led the NE10 in rushing with 1,028 yards. Wide receiver Des Holmes led the conference in receiving with 765 yards and nine touchdowns. Linebackers David Onyemem, 13 tackles for loss, and Damon Burton, Jr., six interceptions, lead the defense. Combined they have 130 tackles on the season. All in all, the Chargers had 14 players named All-Conference.
National Defensive Rank: T-17th (16.3 points per game)
#9 Shepherd: Last week, the Rams lost the PSAC Championship Game to IUP 24-21. On Sunday night, Shepherd was named the number two team in Super Region One and found out they will open the playoffs at home in Round One. Midweek, the PSAC East post season honors were released. Head Coach Ernie McCook was named the PSAC East Coach of the Year and quarterback Tyson Bagent was named Offensive Athlete of the Year. The Rams had 17 players in all named to the All PSAC East First and Second teams. On the PSAC East First Team Offense, Bagent was joined by running back and return specialist Ronnie Brown, tight end Brian Walker, wide receivers Marlon Cook and Ryan Beach, and offensive linemen Joey Fisher and Ty Lucas. First Team members on defense included defensive ends Mark Holloway and Kyle Smith, linebacker Dewayne Grantham, and defensive backs Keyshawn Hailey and Klayton Batten.
National Offensive Rank: 5th (43.1 points per game)
National Defensive Rank: 14th (15.6 points per game)
My Prediction: Shepherd – The Rams were my preseason pick to win Super Region One. After last week’s loss in the PSAC Championship Game I fully expect Shepherd to take care of business at home against New Haven.
#20 Slippery Rock (9-2, 6-1 PSAC West) at #21 Assumption (8-2, 6-1 NE10) – 12 Noon
#20 Slippery Rock: Week 11, the Rock lost to Kutztown 23-21. Several key playmakers on offense for the Rock did not play in the game. Slippery Rock found out Sunday night they made the Super Region One bracket and they will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs. They will travel to number three seeded Assumption on Saturday. The last time Slippery Rock played in the state of Massachusetts was in 1937 against Boston University on the grounds of Fenway Park. Midweek, the PSAC West post season honors were released. Slippery Rock led the PSAC West with 14 selections. Defensive tackle Jeff Marx made the team for the third time. Joining Marx on defense were defensive end D.J. Adediwura, and defensive back Jalen Dangerfield. First teamers on offense were running back Chris D’Or, tight end Max Maciejewski, and return specialist Jawon Hall. Quarterback Noah Grover was one of five players named second team on offense. On defense, 3 players including punter Kyle Butts were named to the second team.
National Offensive Rank: 39th (32.5 points per game)
National Defensive Rank: 9th (14.5 points per game)
#21 Assumption: Last week, Assumption beat Post 65-21. They have won their last four games. Head coach Andy McKenzie was named the NE10 Coach of the Year and 12 Greyhounds earned post season honors. First team honors on offense went to lineman Tom MacDonald. On defense, lineman Brandon Santell, linebacker Lorenzo Valencia, defensive back Isiah Huff, and punter Gabriel Bertolazzo were all first team selections.
National Offensive Rank: 104th (22.9 points per game)
National Defensive Rank: T -7th (14.4 points per game)
My Prediction: Slippery Rock – Of course we will need to see if the playmakers on offense for the Rock who sat out to nurse injuries are all back. Regardless, Assumption with an offense that only averages 22.9 points a game will have it’s hands full trying to score on the number one ranked defense from the PSAC.