Crimson Hawks set to face Slippery Rock in Homecoming game
Published: Friday, October 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2012 12:10
The 22nd-ranked Crimson Hawks are looking to pass their next test Homecoming weekend as they host Slippery Rock.
“We’re excited to play them at home,” Head Coach Curt Cignetti said. “We have three tough ones in a row.”
The Hawks come into this game riding high from an impressive 41-7 victory on the road last week against Millersville, where Mike Box took over as the starting quarterback and had 278 yards passing and one touchdown as he went 15 of 24.
It wasn’t just Box that had a big day; so did the Hawks defense who had two interceptions.
“They were really over playing the run,” Cignetti said. “We just took advantage of it and the more balance you can be the better.”
Those two interceptions continued the defense’s domination when it came to turnover differential. They are tied for 10th in the country in that category. They also rank third in the country in total defense by allowing 211 yards per game. Finally, they rank first in the country in points allowed per game at 7.50.
With a dominating defense, the Hawks should be confident going against a team that has had success putting points on the board.
Slippery Rock is fifth in the PSAC in points scored at 39 points per game, just behind the Hawks who average 39.2 points per game.
The offense starts with returning running back Akeem Satterfield, who is seventh in the PSAC rushing yards per game at 92. Last year at Slippery Rock, Satterfield had 115 yards on 23 carries and added a late touchdown that sealed the win for the Rock.
With the Rock’s high-potent offense, it puts a lot of pressure on its defense to keep up with it and so far this year they haven’t. The Rock’s defense is 12th in the PSAC in points allowed per game at 34.6.
Even with the amount of points they have allowed, the Rock’s defense is still good at stopping the run. They rank fifth in the conference in rushing defense at 113 yards per game.
That will be a matchup to watch, as the strength of the Hawks offensive line goes up against the Rock’s running defense.
That defense will be tested with a healthy core of running backs that included Harvie Tuck, who is second in the PSAC in rushing. Tuck has 762 yards rushing and nine touchdowns so far this season. After resting in the second half against Millersville, Tuck should be well rested for the game this weekend.
Joining Tuck in the backfield is De’Antwan Williams and Montay Green, who both saw significant time the last few games to give Tuck a breather.
If the backfield can continue the success that they have had throughout this season, and Box can continue to provide a powerful passing game, they should be able to pass this test with flying colors.
Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at George P. Miller Stadium.