Nick Stazer knew what had to be done.
The Slippery Rock redshirt senior right guard, who is a Butler native, heard some of the talk before Saturday night’s game against visiting Indiana University of Pennsylvania at Mihalik-Thompson Stadium, which pitted his team’s Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference top-ranked offense against the Crimson Hawks’ conference-best defense.
“Everyone talks about they have a good defense, they said, ‘We’ve got a good offense,’” said the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Stazer, who was a walk-on at Pitt in 2018 before transferring to Slippery Rock. “I know there was some comment about stopping the run.
“They said they want to stop the run? We’ve got to run the ball. We can’t let them do what they want to do.”
For the first time since 2019, Slippery Rock — the No. 12-ranked Division II team in the nation — didn’t let IUP do much of anything Saturday night.
The Rock rushed for 208 yards, scored touchdowns on each of its first four possessions, forced three turnovers on defense and emerged with a 42-21 rout of its arch-rival Crimson Hawks, a team it hadn’t beaten in three years.
Stazer said he was pleased with how the offensive line performed in a victory, which saw Slippery Rock (5-0) score all six of its touchdowns on the ground against IUP (3-2).
“We were together setting the tone,” Stazer said. “I think we’re good and we’ve got good running backs. We’ve got a good offensive coordinator. We’ve got a good quarterback. They make it easy for us. We’ve just got to block together.”
Senior running back Khalid Dorsey did the bulk of the damage for the Rock on the ground, running the ball 15 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Isaiah Edwards also rushed for 33 yards and two scores while quarterback Brayden Long complemented his 277-yard passing performance with a 1-yard, second-quarter touchdown run.
Slippery Rock receiver Kyle Sheets also caught five passes for a game-high 131 yards.
“I just appreciate running behind those guys because they make it easy for us,” said Dorsey of his offensive line. “We make it easy for them. They make it easy for us. They open the holes and we just go down there, being aggressive and doing what we can do.”
Things haven’t been easy for Slippery Rock, however, against IUP over the past couple of seasons.
The Crimson Hawks defeated the Rock, 20-12, last season and 48-21 in 2021 after the 2020 campaign was canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last time Slippery Rock defeated IUP was 2019 when it earned a 45-42 victory. The Rock set a school record for wins with 13 in 2019 and advanced as far as the Division II playoff semifinals before having its record-breaking year end with a 58-15 loss to eventual national-title runner-up Minnesota State.
“It was a great night,” said Shawn Lutz, now in his eighth season as Slippery Rock’s coach. “IUP drew a great crowd. That’s what it’s all about. These moments and experiences, you never forget. I just thought we were dominant in all three phases of the game.
“I hate to say it, they’ve had our number the last two years,” he added. “I think when it came down to special teams, offensively and defensively, we showed up in all phases.”
IUP quarterback Karst Hunter was a catalyst for much of the Crimson Hawks’ offense against Slippery Rock. He threw for 131 yards but also rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Dayjure Stewart also rushed for 89 yards and a score for IUP.
“In this kind of game, you can’t get behind 28-0 midway through the second quarter,” IUP coach Paul Tortorella said. “We knew they were a good first-half team. We talked about getting off to a better start, a good start. We didn’t handle the beginning of the game very well in all phases.”
Despite falling behind 35-6 after three quarters, Tortorella said he was pleased after his team responded with touchdowns by Hunter of 4 and 1 yards to open the fourth quarter and make its deficit 35-21.
“This ain’t us,” said redshirt junior linebacker Drew DiNunzio-Biss, who is a Kiski Area graduate. “We know that we can perform better than this. We didn’t perform to our standard, or the IUP defensive standard tonight. So, we’ll watch film. We’ll learn from this, and we will bounce back.”
California dominates Clarion through the air
Junior quarterback Davis Black completed 23-of-32 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns Saturday to lead California University of Pennsylvania to a 37-7 rout of Clarion in a PSAC West game at Adamson Stadium in California.
Eric Willis III caught eight passes for a game-high 120 yards and a score for Cal (3-1), while Demonte Martin and D’Avay Johnson also caught touchdown passes.
Running back Eric McKan III rushed for a team-high 65 yards and one touchdown for the Vulcans, and Sto-Rox graduate Davonte Williams rushed for 38 yards and a score.
Clarion (1-4) redshirt junior quarterback Zach Benedek, an Elizabeth Forward graduate, rushed for 71 yards and the Golden Eagles’ lone touchdown while also passing for 65 yards.
Seton Hill offense struggles to find end zone in loss to Gannon
Gannon kicked three field goals and found the end zone twice, while Seton Hill managed its only score of the game on a third-quarter, 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Demetri Whitehead in a 23-6 victory for the visiting Golden Knights at Offutt Field in Greensburg.
Running back Donny Marcus carried the ball 20 times for 186 yards and a touchdown for Gannon (2-3), which also got a touchdown and 28 yards on the ground from Nate Mikell.
Greensburg Salem graduate Hayden Teska threw for 148 yards and three interceptions for Seton Hill (1-4).
Grove City hangs on to remain undefeated with big victory against Washington & Jefferson
Grove City outscored Washington & Jefferson by 14 points in the fourth quarter before senior safety Dominic Magliocco, a Montour graduate, intercepted a pass on the final play of the game to seal a 31-24 victory for the Wolverines in a critical Presidents’ Athletic Conference victory Saturday at Robert E. Thorn Field in Grove City.
Peters Township graduate Logan Pfeuffer threw for 185 yards and three touchdowns for Grove City (5-0), while Thomas Jefferson product Jacob Pugh passed for 396 yards, three touchdowns and just his second interception of the season for the Presidents (4-1).
Knoch graduate Scott Fraser caught eight passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns to lead Grove City, and Blackhawk product Ryan Heckathorn had three catches for 40 yards and a score.
West Allegheny graduate Nico Flati carried the football 32 times for 120 yards to pace the Grove City ground attack, while Clayton Parrish added eight carries for 29 yards and a touchdown.
Washington & Jefferson receiver John Peduzzi had a game-high 13 catches for 202 yards and three touchdowns, and Peters Township graduate Jacob Macosko contributed 11 catches for 168 yards.
No. 24 Carnegie Mellon bounces back with win against Allegheny
After suffering its first loss of the season last week at Grove City, No. 24 Carnegie Mellon used a 16-point second quarter and held Allegheny to just a field goal en route to a 19-3 PAC victory Saturday night at Frank B. Fuhrer Field in Meadville.
The Tartans held the Gators to just 147 yards of total offense, recorded four sacks and forced a fumble and interception.
Quarterback Ben Mills threw for 163 yards with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Willem Bouma for Carnegie Mellon, while running back Tre Vasiliadis carried the ball 26 times for a game-high 101 yards. Joey McGinnis IV also scored a 2-yard touchdown for the Tartans.
Kicker Justin Caputo, a South Fayette graduate, also converted on field goals for Carnegie Mellon of 37 and 27 yards.
Thiel uses pair of second-half touchdowns to top Waynesburg
Thiel found the end zone twice in the second half Saturday to earn its first victory of the season and hand Waynesburg its fourth-consecutive loss, 15-14, at Alumni Stadium in Greenville.
Quarterback Joseph Fell rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries while also throwing for 141 yards and an interception to lead the Tomcats (1-3) against the Yellow Jackets (0-4).
Sophomore running back Zayne Cawley rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries for Waynesburg, and defensive Back Brandon Tyson returned an interception 27 yards for the Yellow Jackets’ other score.
Peters Township native drills game-winning kick for Duquesne
Duquesne kicker Brian Bruzdewicz, a Peters Township graduate, drilled a 34-yard field goal with just three seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Dukes to a 31-28 victory Saturday against Long Island University at Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium in Bethpage, New York.
After taking a 28-21 lead after three quarters, Duquesne (2-2) held on to knock off Long Island (0-4) in both team’s Division I FCS Northeast Conference opener.
Dukes quarterback Darius Perrantes completed 17-of-29 passes for 254 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Receiver Keshawn Brown led the Duquesne passing attack with four catches for 88 yards and a score, while Tedy Afful caught four passes for 55 yards and two scores.
Dukes running back Edward Robinson carried the ball 10 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Robert Morris offense stifled in loss to Howard
Robert Morris managed just 43 yards on the ground and 178 through the air as the Colonials fell to Howard, 35-10, Saturday at Joe Walton Stadium in Coraopolis.
Quarterback Anthony Chiccitt, a Bethel Park graduate, completed 25-of-39 passes for a game-high 178 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception for Robert Morris (2-3) against a tough Bisons (2-2) defense.
Chaese Jackson caught seven passes for 76 yards and the Colonials’ lone touchdown.
Pitt suffers fourth straight loss
Pitt’s defense conceded 427 yards of total offense as the Panthers dropped a 38-21 decision Saturday night to Virginia Tech at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, Virginia.
The Hokies, fresh off a loss to Marshall a week earlier, rushed for 199 yards as a team against Pitt, which lost for the fourth straight time.
Quarterback Phil Jurkovec, a Pine-Richland graduate, completed 11-of-22 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Panthers offense.