December 12th, 2019 12:00pm
PSAC National Semi-Final Preview
This season the PSAC will be represented in the National Semi Final by the undefeated 13-0, PSAC West Champion, PSAC Champion and Super Regional 1 Champions from Slippery Rock University. Last Saturday the Rock punched its ticket out of the regional with a 65-59 shootout victory over the Falcons of Notre Dame College of the Mountain East. Slippery Rock will look to build on what has already been the best season in school history. This will be only the second time The Rock has played in the National Semi Finals and the first time since 1998 when they fell 47-21 on the road against Carson Newman.
This season Slippery Rock will look to use home field advantage to continue their magical season as they welcome the Mavericks from Minnesota State Mankato. The Mavericks were also a number seed and come into the game with an unblemished 13-0 record. Last week the Mavericks won their region with a 42-21 victory over Texas A&M Commerce. The Mavericks were led by Harlon Hill Finalist Nate Gunn at running back, last week Gunn had 174 yards rushing.
This matchup has two of the Harlon Hill Award finalist facing off, Slippery Rock is led by quarterback Rolland Rivers and Minnesota State is led by running back Nate Gunn. These are the only two finalists left in the playoffs.
Minnesota State (13-0) NSIC Champions at Slippery Rock (13-0) PSAC Champions
12:30 pm, Thompson Stadium, Slippery Rock PA
These are two of the highest scoring teams in not only their conferences but all of D2football. Slippery Rock enters as the number one scoring offense at 48.6 points per game and Minnesota State comes in second averaging 47.2 points per game. The big discrepancy is on the other side of ball as national ranking show us Minnesota State with the large advantage as they enter ranked number one in overall defense only giving up 242.2 yards per game. On the other sideline Slippery Rock is giving up 339 yards per game. With most of the stats pointing towards an advantage for the Mavericks, Slippery Rock will look to lean of what has become one of the best home field advantages in the PSAC. The Rock has a 38-3 record at home over the last six seasons and will need to have the support of one of the top fan bases in the league this weekend. Slippery Rock will be a bustling campus on Saturday, early in the morning the school will honor their newest alumni with the fall graduation and then the excitement will head to the far end of campus as the alumni, fans and parents will gather to cheer on the Rock. Most of the attention of the fans and coaching staff will be on Minnesota States Nate Gunn. Gunn enters the game with 1584 yards rushing this season. Stopping or at least slowing Gunn down will be the key for Slippery Rock in this matchup. The Minnesota State focus will be on Quarterback Rolland Rivers III, Rivers enters the game leading D2Football in total offense with 4,892 yards of offense. If the Rock can slow down Nate Gunn and put up their regular scoring they will move on to the National Championship Game next weekend. The Pick Slippery Rock 35 Minnesota State 33
This is a great opportunity to show the entire nation how great of a league the PSAC is, from our teams to the stadium to the fan bases. The weather forecast for this weekend is not looking like the best but this is western Pennsylvania and we have some of the most hardnosed fans across all of D2. I hope we can put aside conference allegiances and pull for one of our own as they look to show the country that we are in fact on par with them on the football field. I hope that next we are previewing a national title contest and not just reflecting on the season. Enjoy this last college football game being played inside the Commonwealth and safe travels to everyone as they travel to the biggest home game in Slippery Rock history.
Follow along on game day on twitter @zsimpson_d2 for live updates from the game.