District roundup: Defense lifts Robert Morris to first place in NEC
Robert Morris used two interception returns in the first half Saturday to pull away from Central Connecticut State and record a 54-21 victory that vaulted the Colonials into sole possession of first place in the Northeast Conference.
Robert Morris improved to 5-4 overall, 3-1 in conference play. Central Connecticut State is 4-6, 2-2.
Paul Jones passed for 188 yards and three touchdowns. Duane Mitchell caught four passes for 100 yards and a score.
Robert Morris was leading 13-7 in the second quarter when Eric Lowry (38 yards) and Kimani Smith (31 yards) returned interceptions for touchdowns.
Jones threw his second and third TD passes before the half was complete.
Robert Morris' 40-point first half was the most prolific half in program history. The Colonials forced five turnovers, including four interceptions.
Sacred Heart 10, Duquesne 0 — Duquesne (5-4, 3-2) fell out of first place in the Northeast Conference when it was shut out at Sacred Heart (9-2, 3-2).
The game was scoreless until the fourth quarter when Sacred Heart, led by Kashaudas Spence's 181 yards rushing, got all of its points in the final 6:37. Sacred Heart rushed for 299 yards.
Duquesne quarterback Dillon Buechel completed only 15 of 45 passes for 167 yards and was intercepted three times.
St. Francis (Pa.) 23, Bryant 20 — Kyle Harbridge, who entered the game as Division I FCS's third-leading rusher, gained 154 yards on the ground and scored two touchdowns for St. Francis (4-5, 2-2) in its NEC win against Bryant (4-6, 2-3).
Slippery Rock 55, Seton Hill 21 — Slippery Rock (9-1, 6-1) sealed its first outright PSAC West title since 1999 with its victory at Seton Hill (0-10, 0-7). Slippery Rock will play in the PSAC Championship Game on Saturday at Bloomsburg (9-1).
Nigel Barksdale threw for 262 yards and three TDs, and backup Zack Newsock passed for 206 yards and two scores. John Schademan caught nine passes for 125 yards and two TDs.
Seton Hill's Jarvis McClam rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown, and Nick Halfhill threw for 228 yards and two TDs.
Indiana (Pa.) 55, Gannon 20 — Mike Box passed for 378 yards and four TDs to lead IUP (8-2, 5-2) past Gannon (5-5, 4-3) in a PSAC West game. Terrill Barnes caught eight passes for 151 yards and a score, and Erik Finklea rushed for 174 yards and a TD.
Gannon's Liam Nadler passed for 196 yards and a TD.
Mercyhurst 23, California (Pa.) 20 — Steven Wakefield's 22-yard field goal with 40 seconds remaining lifted Mercyhurst (6-4, 4-3) to its fifth win in the past six games and sent Cal (6-4, 4-3) to a narrow defeat. The field goal was Wakefield's third of the game
Mercyhurst's Allen Jones II rushed for 154 yards, and Anthony Vendemia and Richie Sanders scored on 1-yard runs.
Cal never led, but tied the score, 20-20, on Cody Schroeder's 20-yard TD pass to Mike Williams with 3:06 remaining. Schroeder, however, threw three interceptions.
Edinboro 9, Clarion 7 — Jon Girvin's 30-yard TD pass to Marcus Johnson with 1:29 left in the first half gave Edinboro (5-5, 3-5) the lead for good in its PSAC West win against Clarion (4-6, 2-6). Clarion quarterback Darelle Carson rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown.
Kicker Phil Esposito missed a potential game-winning 34-yard field goal for Clarion with 1:25 remaining in the game.
Washington & Jefferson 49, Geneva 34 — Matt Bliss passed for 258 yards and four touchdowns for W&J (7-2, 6-1) in its Presidents' Athletic Conference victory against Geneva (5-4, 4-3).
If W&J defeats Waynesburg next weekend, it will win a share of the conference title and earn the PAC's automatic qualifier bid to the Division III playoffs.
Dion Wiegand rushed for 125 yards and touchdowns for W&J. Dan Lucas and Max Creighan each had two receiving touchdowns.
Geneva's Zack Hayward threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns.
Lemuel Fuller caught two TD passes and threw for an 11-yard score on his only pass attempt. Rocco Colavecchia also accounted for two TDs for Geneva.
Thomas More 49, Bethany (W.Va.) 14 — Domonique Hayden rushed for 152 yards and four TDs to help Thomas More (8-1, 7-1) clinch a share of the PAC title with its victory against Bethany (3-6, 3-4).
Matt Grimard threw two touchdown passes for Bethany, which led 14-7 in the second quarter before giving up 42 unanswered points.
Thiel 45, Westminster 37, 4OT — Andrew Smith's fourth TD pass, a 7-yarder to Josh Potter in the fourth possession of overtime, helped Thiel (3-6, 3-4) defeat Westminster (3-6, 2-5) in a PAC game. Westminster's Dak Britt rushed for 245 yards and four TDs, and he passed for 169 yards and another score.
Thiel forced overtime when Smith threw a 77-yard TD pass to Tim Walker with 1:18 remaining.
Grove City 36, St. Vincent 26 — Steve Maskrey rushed for 117 yards and three TDs for Grove City (4-5, 2-5) in its PAC win against St. Vincent (0-9, 0-7). St. Vincent's Andy Borgen had 274 yards passing and two touchdowns and 63 yards rushing and a score.
Chicago 14, Carnegie Mellon 12 — CMU (3-6, 0-2) got a touchdown with 1:39 remaining, but missed the tying two-point conversion and lost its University Athletic Association game at Chicago (6-3, 1-1).
CMU's Rob Kalkstein passed for 182 yards and a touchdown and became the school's all-time completions leader.
Denison 24, Allegheny 21 — Allegheny (0-9, 0-8) fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter and remained winless, dropping a North Coast Athletic Conference game to Denison (6-3, 4-3).