LOCK HAVEN – Reigning Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion and NCAA Division II Football Semifinalist Slippery Rock has been picked as the favorite to win the PSAC Western Division as selected by the league’s head coaches, the league office announced Wednesday.
Slippery Rock earned four of the eight possible first-place votes from the head coaches after an outstanding 2019 campaign. The Rock returns 34 letter winners from its 2019 season in which it went 13-1 falling to Minnesota State in the NCAA semifinals. The Rock ended the year as the sixth-ranked team in DII football by the AFCA. SRU will aim to continue its impressive run in the PSAC West having won six of the last nine PSAC West regular season titles.
Second in the PSAC West poll was IUP. The Crimson Hawks are coming off a 10-2 campaign and 6-1 record in PSAC divisional play. IUP fell in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Playoffs. They bring back three Lindy’s Preseason All-Americans in Josh Dauberman, Duane Brown and Nazir Streater.
Picked third in the West is Cal U. The Vulcans were 7-4 in 2019 and is returning 11 starters from the 2019 season. The Vulcans have posted at least seven wins in every playing season since the 2005 campaign, which is the longest active streak of all PSAC members. They have also earned seven appearances to the NCAA Playoffs in that span.
Right behind Cal U is Mercyhurst. The Lakers are coming off a 6-5 season in 2019 where they were 4-1 on the road. Head Coach Marty Schaetzle announced his retirement from Mercyhurst Football following the conclusion of the 2021 season. Schaetzle has been the Lakers’ only coach during their time in the PSAC.
Picked fifth are the Edinboro Fighting Scots. Boro was 3-8 in 2019 and have a new head coach at the helm, Jake Nulph. A graduate of Robert Morris, Nulph was selected to coach Edinboro in January 2020.
Sixth are the Seton Hill Griffins. Head coach Dan Day returns for his second football season and will look to build off a year in 2019 where they won two contests.
Gannon comes into the western preseason poll picked seventh. Gannon was one of the few teams that played football in 2020 following an independent schedule in which they went 1-3.
Rounding out the poll is eighth-ranked Clarion. The Golden Eagles were 3-8 in 2019 and have plenty of returners for the 2021 campaign including All-PSAC West running back, Mylique McGriff.
WEST (# of 1st Place Votes)
1. Slippery Rock (4)
2. IUP (3)
3. Cal U (1)
6. Seton Hill