October 26th, 2023 6:30am
Week Nine in the PSAC is coming up and two weeks of divisional play remain in this 2023 season before teams from the West crossover to teams in the East in Week Eleven. Two teams from the PSAC remain ranked in the D2Football.com Top 25 poll. #6 Slippery Rock (8-0, 5-0 PSAC West) beat California (PA) last week and moved up two spots. #21 Shepherd (7-1, 4-1 PSAC East) beat West Chester but slid down two spots. #6 Slippery Rock in the West and Kutztown (6-2, 5-0 PSAC East) in the East are in the driver’s seats to represent their division in the PSAC Championship Game on November 11, 2023. Ironically, the Rock is already scheduled to visit the Golden Bears in Week Eleven’s crossover action. Possibly no shuffling of the schedule may be needed in this year’s last week of the PSAC season. For my PSAC Power Ranking heading into Week Nine, the five teams that remain on the list are the teams left in the PSAC with two or fewer losses and aspire to secure a spot on the Super Region One playoff bracket after the regular season is over. Every other team in the PSAC has three or more losses meaning they have three more games left in this 2023 season. Here is my PSAC Power Ranking heading into Week Nine:
The first Super Region One Top 10 list for 2023 was released this week by the NCAA football Committee. The teams were not ranked on this list, they were released in alphabetical order. The five teams I have in my PSAC Power Ranking all made the cut meaning five of the 10 teams on the list are from the PSAC. Also on the list was Assumption (NE10, 5-2), Charleston (MEC, 6-1), Fairmont State (MEC 6-2), Frostburg State (MEC 6-1), and Tiffin (GMAC 8-0).
Last week I was correct in predicting the winners in five out of the eight divisional games played. For the season, I have predicted the winners in 55 out of 71 (77%) of the games. Below is my preview for each game this week and my prediction for who will win each contest.
West Chester (4-4, 2-3 PSAC East) at Lock Haven (4-4, 2-3 PSAC East) - 1:00 PM
West Chester lost 59-21 to Shepherd last week. West Chester is averaging scoring 24.1 points a game but they are ranked 15 out of the 16 teams in the PSAC on defense averaging giving up 32.3 points per game. Linebacker Connor Noble leads the PSAC in tackles averaging 10.8 stops per game. He also has five sacks on the season.
Lock Haven lost 7-3 to Kutztown last week. Running back Chris Collier is the top rusher in the PSAC averaging 111.8 yards per game. He also has nine rushing touchdowns which is second in the PSAC. The Bald Eagles offense is currently ranked sixth in the PSAC averaging scoring 25.1 points per game. On defense, Cody Romano leads the PSAC in forced fumbles with three. The Bald Eagles are currently ninth in the PSAC on defense averaging giving up 22.6 points per game.
My Prediction: Lock Haven– The Bald Eagles beat the Golden Rams at home to move into fourth place in the PSAC East.
Shippensburg (2-6, 2-3 PSAC East) at East Stroudsburg (7-1, 4-1 PSAC East) – 1:00 PM
Shippensburg beat Millersville13-7 last week. Two Raiders earned PSAC East Athlete of the Week honors for their performances in the win. Defensive lineman Chisom Ifeanyi had three sacks with six tackles, five of which were solo, and a pass breakup. On special teams, punter Tanner Luther pinned Millersville inside their own 20 four times in the game. He punted 11 times with a 38.7 average with his longest being 49 yards.
East Stroudsburg beat Bloomsburg 21-16 last week. The Warriors have the number two ranked offense in the PSAC averaging scoring 34.9 points per game. Running back Tyriq Lewis is sixth in the PSAC averaging 77.1 yards per game rushing. He has seven touchdowns on the season. The Warriors also have the second ranked defense in the PSAC averaging only allowing 18.0 points per game. Linebacker Sergei Felizor is tied for sixth in the PSAC averaging 8.3 tackles per game. He also has one sack. The Warriors conclude divisional play next week at Shepherd. They are scheduled to wrap up the regular season the following week at home against California (PA).
My Prediction: East Stroudsburg – The Warriors get the win at home.
Millersville (3-5, 1-4 PSAC East) at Kutztown (6-2, 5-0 PSAC East) – 2:00 PM
Millersville lost 13-7 to Shippensburg last week. Running back Jaheim Morris is fifth in the PSAC in rushing averaging 78.7 yards per game. Morris has three rushing touchdowns through eight games. On defense, linebacker Garrett Cox continues to have an outstanding season. He is second in the PSAC in tackles, averaging 10.3 per game, first in tackles for loss, averaging 2.0 a game with 16 on the season, and leads the PSAC in sacks with 7.5.
Kutztown beat Lock Haven 7-3 last week. The Golden Bears have the number one defense in the PSAC averaging only giving up 14.8 yards per game. Punter Nate Millard continues to lead the PSAC with a 44.5 yards per punt average. He has dropped eight inside the opponent’s 20 this season, has nine punts over 50 yards, and has a long of 66 yards. Kutztown concludes divisional play next week on the road at West Chester.
My Prediction: Kutztown – The Golden Bears remain undefeated in PSAC East divisional play.
#21 Shepherd (7-1, 4-1 PSAC East) at Bloomsburg (1-7, 0-5 PSAC East) - 2:00 PM
#21 Shepherd beat West Chester 59-21 last week. Running back Malaki Brown was named PSAC East Offensive Athlete of the Week for his performance. He rushed for 159 yards on 11 carries with an average of 14.5 yards per run. He also had two touchdowns. Brown is currently second in the PSAC in rushing with a 91 yards per game average. He has five rushing touchdowns on the season. Quarterback Seth Morgan is currently the third ranked quarterback in the PSAC, and highest from the East, averaging 252.8 yards per game passing. He is second in touchdown passes with 15. Shepherd’s offense is currently third in the PSAC averaging 32.3 points scored per game. On defense, the Rams are seventh in the PSAC averaging giving up 22.4 points per game. On special teams, Malaki Brown, last week’s standout at running back on offense, is second in the PSAC averaging 29.9 yards per kickoff return. Miles Greer is the top punt returner in the PSAC averaging 16.0 yards per return with a long of 86 yards and one touchdown. Shepherd has a huge game coming up next week as East Stroudsburg visits Ram Stadium to wrap up divisional play.
Bloomsburg lost 21-16 to East Stroudsburg last week. The Huskies have the number three defense in the PSAC only allowing an average of 20.1 points per game but they also have the last ranked offense in the PSAC only averaging scoring 14.6 points per game. Running back Kaleb Monaco is currently third in the PSAC in rushing averaging 91 yards per game. He has four rushing touchdowns on the season so far.
My Prediction: #21 Shepherd – The Rams get the win on the road.
Edinboro (2-6, 1-4 PSAC West) at Seton Hill (3-5, 2-3 PSAC West) – 12 Noon
Edinboro lost 34-20 to Clarion last week. CJ Waldier is third in the PSAC in tackles averaging 9.9 stops per game.
Seton Hill beat IUP 35-28 last week. Running back Ky’Ron Craggette rushed for 143 yards and had two touchdowns on the ground against IUP. He also had four catches for 43 yards and a receiving touchdown. Craggette’s performance in the win earned him PSAC West Co-Offensive Athlete of the Week honors. On defense, Ben Weaver has six sacks on the season which has him third in the PSAC in that category.
My Prediction: Seton Hill– The Griffins get the win at home.
Mercyhurst (2-6, 1-4 PSAC West) at California (PA) (5-2, 4-1 PSAC West) – 12 Noon
Mercyhurst lost 31-28 to Gannon last week. Mercyhurst’s defense is ranked last in the PSAC averaging giving up 42.6 points per game.
California (PA) lost 42-21 to Slippery Rock last week. The Vulcans have the fourth ranked offense in the PSAC averaging scoring 32.1 points per game. Davis Black is the second ranked quarterback in the PSAC averaging 253.9 yards per game. He has 14 touchdown passes on the season. Wide receiver Eric Willis III is the top pass catcher in the PSAC averaging 100.4 yards receiving per game. He has six touchdown receptions on the season. Wide receiver Omari Hopkins is fourth in the PSAC averaging 72.4 yards receiving per game. He has six touchdowns on the season. On defense, Ibrahim Sanogo leads the PSAC in sacks per game average at 1.0, he has seven total on the season. Sanogo is also second in the PSAC averaging 1.79 tackles for loss per game, with 12.5 on the season. Defensive back Keith Charney is third in the PSAC in interceptions, he has four on the season with one returned for a touchdown. The Vulcans are at Gannon next week to wrap up divisional play.
My Prediction: California (PA) – The Vulcans get back in the win column.
Clarion (2-6, 1-4 PSAC West) at #6 Slippery Rock (8-0, 5-0 PSAC West) – 1:00 PM
Clarion beat Edinboro 34-20 last week. Quarterback Anthony Guercio rushed for 155 yards including a 55-yard touchdown run. He was 6 of 10 passing with three touchdown passes. His performance in the win over Edinboro earned him PSAC West Co-Offensive Athlete of the Week honors. On defense, Jake Tarburton is third in the PSAC averaging 1.36 tackles for loss per game, he has 9.5 on the season. He also has five sacks.
#6 Slippery Rock beat California (PA) 42-21 last week. The Rock has the number one ranked offense in the PSAC averaging 45.3 points per game. Quarterback Brayden Long is the top passer in the PSAC throwing for an average of 264.5 yards per game. He also leads the PSAC with 23 touchdown passes. Wide receiver Kyle Sheets leads the PSAC in touchdown catches with 11. He is second in the PSAC averaging 98.4 receiving yards per game receiving. Running back Khalid Dorsey has seven touchdowns for the Rock averaging 74.1 yards a game on the ground which is seventh best in the PSAC, teammate Isaiah Edwards leads the PSAC with 10 rushing touchdowns averaging 44.1 yards rushing per game. On defense, Eddie Faulkner IV led the way in the win over California (PA). He had two sacks, forced a fumble, had a pass break up, forced two quarterback hurries, and had five total tackles. His performance earned him PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week honors. Josh Stokes is second in the PSAC in passes defended with 10 and he is tied for first in the PSAC with five interceptions. Ben Lane leads the PSAC with three recovered fumbles. The Rock is fourth in the PSAC on defense allowing an average of 21.6 yards per game. On special teams, Kylon Wilson leads the PSAC averaging 30.6 yards per kick return. Slippery Rock concludes divisional play next week at Edinboro.
My Prediction: #6 Slippery Rock – The Rock goes to 9-0 on the season.
Gannon (4-4, 4-1 PSAC West) at IUP (4-4, 2-3 PSAC West) – 2:00 PM
Gannon beat Mercyhurst 31-28 last week. Running back Donny Marcus is currently fourth in the PSAC averaging 82.3 yards per game on the ground. He has one rushing touchdown. Donell Mason is third in the PSAC in receiving with an average of 82.3 yards per game. He also has four touchdown catches this season. On defense, Chris Farnsworth is fourth in the PSAC averaging 8.6 tackles per game. Kam Snell is the top defensive back in the PSAC in passes defended, averaging 1.38 a game with 11 on the season and also in interceptions with five, one going for a touchdown. On special team, kicker Eric Scarpino has been having an outstanding season. Last week in the win over Mercyhurst, he hit a 32-yard game winning field goal with six seconds left in the contest. He is the number one kicker in the PSAC in scoring with 55 points on the season. He is perfect on field goals, hitting 11 so far with a long of 41 yards, and on extra points, making all 22 he has attempted.
IUP lost 35-28 to Seton Hill last week. The Crimson Hawks have the fifth ranked offense in the PSAC averaging 25.5 points per game. IUP also has the fifth ranked defense in the PSAC averaging allowing 21.8 points per game. Linebacker Drew Dinuzio-Biss is tied for sixth in the PSAC in tackles averaging 8.3 stops per game. He also has 3.5 sacks on the season.
My Prediction: IUP – The Crimson Hawks get the win at home.