September 21st, 2023 7:00pm
Week Four in the PSAC is coming up and for the first time this season we will see East at East and West at West matchups as divisional play starts. Three teams from the PSAC have been ranked in the D2Football.com Top 25 all season so far. With each of them winning last week, they all moved up. Climbing two spots is #12 Slippery Rock (3-0, 0-0 PSAC West). #14 Shepherd (3-0, 0-0 PSAC East) also moved up two spots and #19 IUP (2-1, 0-0 PSAC West) moved up three spots. East Stroudsburg (3-0, 0-0 PSAC East), who beat IUP in Week Two, has not cracked the Top 25 yet. My PSAC Game of Week for Week Four will be in the East. Kutztown, who had some set-back in weeks one and two is headed to #14 Shepherd to take on the Rams. In the PSAC East Preseason Poll, Shepherd was picked to finish first and Kutztown second the PSAC East. Here is my PSAC Power Ranking heading into Week Four:
Last week I was correct in predicting the winners in all eight of the eight Crossover Games played. For the season, I have predicted the winners in 24 out of 31 (77%) of the games played. Below is my preview for each game this week and my prediction for who will win each contest.
West Chester beat Gannon 38-31 last week. There were 42 points scored in the second half and the Golden Rams went on top late in the fourth quarter and sealed the game with a pick from defensive back Kaleb Brown. Quarterback Jordan Cooper was 14 of 22 for 249 yards. He threw three touchdowns and one interception in the contest. He was also the leading rusher again for the Golden Rams with 64 yards on 14 rushes. Running back Trey Blair had two rushing touchdowns. Wide receiver Rahiem Powers had five catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, linebacker Connor Noble had 10 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. Noble leads the PSAC in tackles with 32 on the season and he also has 1.5 sacks.
Millersville lost to Slippery Rock 42-21 last week. The Marauders got out to an early lead before giving up 35 unanswered points to the Rock. Quarterback Robert Footman Jr. was 10 of 23 for 83 yards with one touchdown. Running back Jaquan Howard ran 13 times for 65 yards and had a touchdown. On defense, linebacker Garrett Cox once again led the way with 14 tackles and two tackles for loss.
My Prediction: Millersville – The Marauders have the edge in this one at home. Regardless, this should be a fun game to watch with two quarterbacks who can make things happen both throwing and running the ball.
*PSAC Game of the Week*
Kutztown (1-2, 0-0 PSAC East) at #14 Shepherd (3-0, 0-0 PSAC East) – 12 Noon
Kutztown beat Mercyhurst 47-14 last week. It was the first home game and first win for the Golden Bears this season. Quarterback Judd Novak was 12 of 20 for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Darryl Davis-McNeil rushed 13 times for 56 yards and had three touchdowns. Wide receiver Mekhi Gibson had 4 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown. Defensive lineman Freddie Retter had six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks in the game.
#14 Shepherd beat California (PA) 44-34 last week. Quarterback Seth Morgan was 26 of 33 for 326 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had a rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Cameron Dorner had nine catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns. On special teams, as a return specialist, Dorner earned PSAC East Special Teams Athlete of the Week. He sparked the Rams comeback, after being down 28-17 in the third quarter, with a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. The Rams have the top passing offense in the PSAC averaging 324 yards through the air per game. On defense, Enello Pena led the way with eight tackles and an interception.
My Prediction: #14 Shepherd – The Rams get the win at home and establish themselves early in the season as being in the driver’s seat in the East. When these two teams played last season in Kutztown it was the tale of two halves. Kutztown was out in front going into the half and Shepherd came roaring back in the second half to win. This season Shepherd has had to step up in the second half of their games including last week against California (PA) when they were down 21-17 at the half and scored 27 in the second half, including 14 in the fourth quarter to secure the 44-34 win. In Week Two, the one common opponent these two teams have had so far this season, California (PA), was losing to Kutztown 20-7 heading into the fourth quarter. California (PA) scored 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat Kutztown 31-20. Something to watch for in this game is special teams and specifically Shepherd’s kickoff return unit. The Rams had a kickoff return for a touchdown last season against Kutztown and Shepherd has had kickoff returns for a touchdown each of the last two weeks heading into this week’s game.
Bloomsburg (1-2, 0-0 PSAC East) at Shippensburg (0-3, 0-0 PSAC East) – 1 PM
Bloomsburg lost to Edinboro 23-13 last week. Quarterback KJ Riley was 16 of 23 for 134 yards and a touchdown. Running back Kaleb Monaco rushed 16 times for 149 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Nas Jones had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. The Huskies offensive line has only given up one sack all season. On defense, linebacker Quamire Green had 11 tackles and two tackles for loss and linebacker Tom Goetz had 11 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss.
Shippensburg lost to IUP 49-14 last week. Sam Stoner and Sam Johnson both saw time at quarterback. On the ground, Shippensburg had 84 yards rushing as a team and 241 yards receiving. Mike Brewer led the defense with seven tackles.
My Prediction: Bloomsburg – The Huskies get the win in this one at home.
East Stroudsburg (3-0, 0-0 PSAC East) at Lock Haven (2-1, 0-0 PSAC East) – 1 PM
East Stroudsburg beat Seton Hill last week 55-21. Quarterback Charlie McKee was 11 of 17 for 181 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for two touchdowns. Running back Tyriq Lewis had 10 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown. The offense had 344 rushing yards as a team in the win over Seton Hill. The Warriors have the number one scoring offense in the PSAC averaging 43.3 points per game. That includes their season low 13 points in 13-12 win when they beat ranked IUP in week two. They also have the top rushing game in the PSAC averaging 226.3 yards per game. On defense, safety TJ Harris had eight tackles and a 35-yard pick six and was a big part of the Warrior defense holding Seton Hill to 20 yards rushing and only 242 total yards. His performance in the game earned him PSAC East Defensive Athlete of the Week honors.
Lock Haven beat Clarion 21-20 last week. The Bald Eagles won with a flea flicker with 16 seconds remaining in the game. Quarterback Danny Sanchez was 20 of 38 for 260 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Running back Chris Collier ran the ball 20 times for 169 yards and a touchdown. His performance earned him PSAC East Offensive Athlete of the Week honors. Chris Hicks caught the winning touchdown. On defense, Davien Vernon and Raymell Hester each had nine stops. Hester also had 0.5 tackles for loss.
My Prediction: East Stroudsburg – The Warriors have been playing at a high level since opening night of this 2023 season and will remain undefeated with a win in their divisional play opener on the road at Lock Haven.
California (PA) (1-1, 0-0 PSAC West) at Edinboro (1-2, 0-0 PSAC West) – 12 Noon
California (PA) lost 44-34 to Shepherd last week. Quarterback Davis Black was 19 of 31 for 411 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in the game. Running back Bobby Boyd, Jr. ran the ball 21 times for 97 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Eric Willis III had 274 yards receiving with two touchdowns and 380 all-purpose yards in the loss. His performance earned him Co-Offensive Athlete of the Week in the PSAC West. On the other side of the ball, defensive back Rashan Murray and linebacker John Hutchinson both had eight tackles.
Edinboro beat Bloomsburg 23-13 last week. Quarterback Isaac Bernard was 28 of 42 for 284 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Running back Brian Trobel ran 29 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Mike Watkins had nine receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Ty Thorton led the defense with nine tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. On special teams, punter/kicker Reed Martin earned PSAC West Special Teams Athlete of the Week honors. He only punted three times in the game but averaged 42 yards per punt and dropped two of them inside Bloomsburg’s 20. He also hit a 48-yard field goal to have the longest field goal in the PSAC for a second week in a row.
My Prediction: California (PA) – The Vulcans get back in the win column on the road and continue gearing up for showdowns with #12 Slippery Rock and #19 IUP down the road in divisional play.
#19 IUP (2-1, 0-0 PSAC West) at Mercyhurst (1-2, 0-0 PSAC West) – 1 PM
#19 IUP beat Shippensburg 49-14 last week. Quarterback Karst Hunter was 12 of 25 for 199 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Wide receivers Hilton Ridley and Quinn Zinobile each had two touchdown catches. On the other side of the ball, defensive end Cole Weightman was named the PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week. He had six tackles and a strip sack for the Crimson Hawks. IUP recovered four Shippensburg fumbles in the game.
Mercyhurst lost 47-14 to Kutztown last week. Quarterback Adam Urena was 24 of 45 for 279 yards and had two touchdowns and one interception. Christian Taylor had nine stops on defense.
My Prediction: #19 IUP – The Crimson Hawks take care of business on the road as they prepare for their showdown next week at #12 Slippery Rock.
Clarion (1-2, 0-0 PSAC West) at Gannon (0-3, 0-0 PSAC West) – 1 PM
Clarion lost 21-20 to Lock Haven last week. The Golden Eagles lost when Lock Haven ran a flea flicker for a touchdown with 16 seconds left to play. Quarterback Anthony Guercio was 10 of 16 for 166 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 18 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. On defense, defensive back Ryan Stahl had 8 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Jake Tarburton had eight tackles, a tackle for loss, and 0.5 sacks.
Gannon lost 38-31 to West Chester last week. Quarterback Nate Mikell was 17 of 34 for 230 yards with one touchdown and one interception, which happened on their last drive of the game. Running back Todd Braxton was the leading rusher with 71 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Wide receiver Donell Mason had five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. On the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Charles Calhoun lead the team with nine tackles and he also had 1.5 tackles for loss. Calhoun’s defensive line teammate Obi Ezeigbo had eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks in the game.
My Prediction: Gannon – The Golden Knights get in the win column at home in the divisional opener.
#12 Slippery Rock (3-0, 0-0 PSAC West) at Seton Hill (1-2, 0-0 PSAC West) – 3 PM
#12 Slippery Rock beat Millersville 42-21 last week. The Rock was down early but scored 35 unanswered points to finish the game and dominated over a good Millersville team in the second half. Quarterback Brayden Long, who leads all of the PSAC in touchdown passes this season with 11, was 31 of 43 for 390 yards with five touchdown passes. He also had a rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Kyle Sheets, a D2football.com Preseason Elite 100 Watch List Player, had 12 catches for 120 yards and three touchdowns. His performance earned him Co-Offensive Athlete of the Week in the PSAC West. The Rock leads all the PSAC averaging 453.7 yards per game. On defense, linebacker Kyle Kudla had eight tackles and two tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Munchie Johnson had seven tackles, three tackles for loss, and a half sack.
Seton Hill lost 55-21 to East Stroudsburg last week. Quarterback Hayden Teska was 18 of 38 for 222 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. As a team, the Griffins had 20 yards rushing. Wide receiver Mark Bails, Jr. had nine catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, defensive lineman Ben Weaver had nine tackles, five tackles for loss, and three sacks. As a team, Seton Hill leads the PSAC in sacks with nine.
My Prediction: #12 Slippery Rock – The Rock won’t let this be a trap game by looking ahead to next week’s showdown with #19 IUP. The real question is how many points will their explosive offense put up in this game and will the defense hold Seton Hill under the 200 total yards mark.