Fresh off First Win of the Season, Clarion U. Football at California (Pa.) Saturday

CLARION, Pa. – Coming off its first win of the year, the Clarion University football team travels south Saturday to take on California (Pa.) in a PSAC West matchup.

(Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

The Golden Eagles, who beat winless Seton Hill Saturday, are 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the PSAC West while Cal, which lost to IUP last week, is 4-2, 1-2.  Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Adamson Stadium. It can be heard on 92.7 FM and 96.3 FM and via the Golden Eagles website.

Clarion Game Notes

Two-Minute Drill

  • This will be the 87th meeting between the two teams, with the Vulcans holding a 45-38-3 advantage in the all-time series with the Golden Eagles. Clarion’s last win came during the 2004 season, a 35-34 victory
  • The Golden Eagle defense forced five turnovers en route to a 33-28 victory over Seton Hill last week including three interceptions and two forced fumbles. The defense has forced eight turnovers in the last two games alone
  • Sophomore safety Sam Fareri was named the PSAC West Defensive Athlete of the Week after recording five tackles, an interception and a forced fumble against the Griffins
  • Safety Colton McKay recorded an interception and a fumble recovery against Seton Hill
  • Linebacker Samuel Payne recorded the Golden Eagles’ first defensive touchdown of the year when he recovered a fumble in the end zone against Seton Hill
  • Running back Kyle Evans had his first 100-yard game of the season, posting 103 yards on the ground against Seton Hill. Evans ranks seventh in the PSAC in all-purpose yardage with 136.5 yards/game
  • Receiver Mason Standard had his best game as a Golden Eagle last week recording eight catches for 117 yards and three touchdowns against Seton Hill. Standard now has four touchdowns in his last two games
  • Quarterback Asiantii Woulard had his best game of the season on Saturday, going 19-of-35 with two touchdowns and no interceptions
  • The Golden Eagles have rushed for 435 yards in their last three games, an average of 145.0 yards per game

Scouting the Vulcans

California enters this weekend’s game with a 4-2 overall record but just a 1-2 record in PSAC West play, having edged Seton Hill 44-41 but falling on the road at Slippery Rock and IUP.  The Vulcans are capable of putting up scads of points, averaging 36.2 points per game.

Running back Nick Grissom is part of a combined rushing attack and ranks eighth in the PSAC in yards per game at 74.0 but is also rushing at 5.0 yards a carry.  Quarterback Michael Keir is fourth in the league in passing yards and favorite target Tom Greene is averaging 101.2 yards per game through the air.  On defense, Lamont McPhatter II has four interceptions this year, including one returned for a touchdown.

Series History

This will be the 87th meeting between these two teams, with California owning a 45-38-3 advantage in the all-time series.  Much of that edge has been built up over the last decade and change, as Clarion has not defeated the Vulcans since the 2004 season, a span of 12 straight games.

In last year’s game, the seventh-ranked Vulcans pulled away in the fourth quarter in a game they ultimately won 48-20.  The difference was just 11 points entering the final quarter as Clarion hung around, with Matt Lehman notching two touchdown grabs.  Tyrone Cromwell had seven tackles and an interception, while Robert Zilhaver finished with eight stops and 1.5 sacks.

About the Coach

Chris Weibel enters his third season as the program’s head coach after spending many of the previous years as an assistant.  Weibel has an overall record of 12-16 at Clarion, including an 8-9 record in PSAC West play.  A 2010 inductee into the Clarion Sports Hall of Fame, Weibel graduated with every major Clarion passing record to his credit.

Last Week

The Golden Eagles claimed their first win of the year in hard-fought fashion, defeating Seton Hill 33-28 in front of a packed house at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The defense was at its ball-hawking best, intercepting three passes and recovering two fumbles to post a +5 turnover margin against the Griffins.  Those takeaways proved to be the difference as Clarion outscored Seton Hill 14-0 off turnovers.  Sophomore safety Sam Fareri factored in two turnovers, forcing a fumble and picking off a pass.  The forced fumble came at a crucial time in the game as it ended the Griffins’ final offensive drive of the day and ensured the victory.

Asiantii Woulard got into a rhythm on offense, completing 19-of-35 passes for 267 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.  Jeff Clemens also saw time at quarterback, going 3-of-6 for 57 yards and a touchdown of his own.  All three scoring passes went to Mason Standard, who finished the day with eight catches for 117 yards.

The ground game was effective in wearing the Griffins down as the day went on, with 45 carries going for 165 yards.  Kyle Evans had the bulk of that, rushing 27 times for 103 yards.

Ground Game Picking Up Steam

The Golden Eagles seem to have gotten things moving on the ground in each of the last three weeks, leading to a potentially more balanced offensive attack.  After 141 yards against Mercyhurst and 129 against Edinboro, Clarion went off for 165 yards on the ground against Seton Hill.  With 430 yards in their last three games, that comes out to 145.0 yards per game.

Leading the charge on the ground has been freshman Kyle Evans, who has totaled 208 yards and is averaging 69.3 yards per game in that span.  He had his first 100-yard game of the season last week, racking up 103 yards against Seton Hill.

Jack of All Trades

Kyle Evans is once again showing his ability to contribute in multiple facets of the game.  He is averaging 130.3 all-purpose yards per game in PSAC competition this year, ranking seventh in the league as a result.

Setting the Standard

Freshman receiver Mason Standard has played a bigger role in the offense over the last two weeks and has blossomed into one of the Golden Eagles’ top targets.  In his last two games, Standard has caught 11 passes for 163 yards and four touchdowns.  Last week against Seton Hill he had his best game of the year, setting career highs in catches (8), receiving yards (117) and touchdowns (3).  Standard’s four touchdown receptions in PSAC West play are tied for second among receivers in conference games.

Standard also holds the distinction of throwing a successful two-point conversion attempt, Clarion’s first two-point conversion since the 2014 season.

Field Flipper

New kicker/punter James Metzgar has acquitted himself quite well in his new roles this year, proving dependable both in putting the ball through the upright as well as pinning the opponent deep.  Metzgar is tied for first in the PSAC with 14 punts downed inside opposing 20-yard-lines while kicking just two touchbacks in a league-high 42 attempts.

On the Road Again

Clarion will play three straight games away from home to end the season, starting with an Oct. 28 showdown at Slippery Rock.  They then travel to take on Gannon and West Chester, respectively, to close out the slate.

What’s Next

The Golden Eagles return home to honor their seniors in the final home game of their careers, when they host IUP at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21.  Kickoff is scheduled for noon.

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