College football district preview

Bill West
| Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Game of the week: St. Francis (Pa.) at Duquesne

When: 1:10 p.m. Saturday

Records: St. Francis 2-2, 1-0 NEC; Duquesne 3-1, 1-0

How St. Francis fares at Rooney Field will suggest a great deal about the state of the Red Flash, who already have matched or exceeded the number of wins they finished with each of the past four seasons.

Both of St. Francis' losses came against nationally ranked opponents: No. 6 James Madison and No. 13 Towson. The Red Flash sandwiched a pair of comeback wins between the setbacks; they rallied with 24 second-half points to defeat Bryant, 39-28, in Week 2 and scored 50 unanswered points in the final three quarters to bury Morehead State, 57-23, the following week.

The Red Flash's point of pride is its multi-threat run game, which ranks sixth in the FCS at 271.3 yards per contest.

Senior running back Keion Wade leads the way at 95.8 yards per game, and senior quarterback John Kelly and freshman running back Khairi Dickson follow with averages of 66.3 and 66.

Defending conference co-champion Duquesne has the second-best run defense in the NEC (133.8 yards per game), and the Dukes also have the conference's top rusher, senior running back Larry McCoy, who ranks 13th in the FCS at 124.5 yards per game.

In the teams' past two meetings, Duquesne prevailed by at least 24 points. The Dukes won 12 of the past 13; St. Francis' only victory came in 2009, when the Red Flash defeated the Dukes, 31-14, at home.Saturday's other games to watch

• Grove City at Westminster, 1 p.m.

Grove City (2-2, 1-1 PAC) enters with the highest-scoring offense (32.0 points per game) in the conference.

Westminster (2-1, 1-1) fields the stingiest defense in points (11.0) and yards allowed (229.3) per game.

• Carnegie Mellon at Wabash (Ind.), 2 p.m.

Carnegie Mellon (4-0) continues to thrive with a potent offense averaging 259.8 passing yards and 455.3 total yards.

The Tartans face a tough test in Wabash (2-1), which is ranked No. 20 in Division III and allows just 11.3 points per game.

• West Chester at California (Pa.), 3:30 p.m.

The Vulcans (4-0) have committed 13 turnovers in four games. They had five during a comeback win over Indiana (Pa.) last week.

California must be more careful against PSAC East foe West Chester (3-1), which leads the conference in interceptions (nine) and is second in turnovers gained (13).


Duquesne senior running back Larry McCoy needs 23 yards to reach 4,000 for his career. He's also 284 yards away from Duquesne's all-time rushing record.

Carnegie Mellon junior quarterback Rob Kalkstein became the first Tartan in 19 years to pass for 300 yards when he finished with 314 in a 51-28 win over DePauw last week.

Indiana (Pa.) senior running back Harvie Tuck fell one carry short of tying the team's single-game record when he ran 43 times for a career-best 256 yards and two TDs in the Crimson Hawks' 26-24 loss to California (Pa.) last week. Tuck ranks second in Division II in rushing yards per game (180.3).

Edinboro senior safety Kenny Pettis leads Division II in tackles per game (14.3). He's averaging six solo stops per contest.

• Slippery Rock (2-2) hosts Kutztown (1-3) on Saturday in a rematch of the PSAC championship game. Both teams' struggles have come as a bit of a surprise: Kutztown was the PSAC East favorite, and Slippery Rock received two PSAC West first-place votes in the preseason coaches' poll.

• Grove City's 44-40 comeback win over Bethany last week marked the first time the Wolverines won a game in which they allowed at least 40 points.

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