Clarion Looks to End Two-Game Slide; Claim Milk Jug When it Hosts Slippery Rock Saturday

CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – The Milk Jug will be on the line when Clarion hosts Slippery Rock at Noon Saturday, Oct. 21, in a PSAC West clash.

(Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

Clarion has taken home the Milk Jug just once in the first seven years it has been played for taking the trophy in 2016 with a 27-23 win at Memorial Stadium. That was the Golden Eagles lone win over The Rock this decade.

To reclaim the Jug, Clarion (4-3 overall, 2-2 PSAC West) will have to overcome a Slippery Rock squad that has won five in a row to go to 6-1 on the season (4-0 in PSAC West play) following a 59-28 win over Edinboro last week.

The Rock offense has been on fire since Ronald Rivers III took over as the starting quarterback in Week Three. Rivers was named the PSAC West Offensive Athlete of the Week after his 485 yards of total offense in the win over Edinboro. He was 25 of 32 passing for 403 yards and five touchdowns while adding 82 yards rushing and a score on the ground.

Since taking over as the starter in Week Three, Rivers III has led the team to five straight wins and has accounted for 22 total touchdowns with just three turnovers. He is 100 of 165 passing for 1,443 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions while also rushing for 248 yards and six scores.

Rivers III has plenty of help on offense thanks to a deep and talented receiving corps that is led by Harry Litwin (33 catches, 535 yards, 6 TDs), Jermaine Wynn Jr. (23 catches, 327 yards, 4 TDs) and Austin Scott (16 catches, 287 yards, 2 TDs).

Wes Hills leads the ground attack with 452 yards rushing and four scores.

On the year, Slippery Rock is averaging 42.1 points per game and 486.4 yards of offense.

The Rock’s offense, which ranks No. 1 in the PSAC in points per game, should be challenged by a decent Clarion defense that allows the third-fewest points in the conference at 21.9 per game.

Layne Skundrich (58 tackles), Alex Heldreth (46 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks), Paul Blendinger (38 tackles), Brandon Vocco (34 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks) and Sam Fareri (33 tackles, 3 interceptions) leads that defense.

It’s the defense that keeps Clarion in games, as the offense ranks 11th in the PSAC in points per game at 24.3.

Jeff Clemens has had an up-and-down year and is completing just over 50 percent (75 of 146) of his passes for 1,058 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. His costly fumble in the fourth quarter last week at IUP set up the Crimson Hawks winning touchdowns in a 24-23 victory that saw IUP come back from a 20-0 deficit after a quarter and a 23-10 deficit going t the fourth quarter.

Dana Jackson has emerged as the top receiving threat for Clarion with 15 catches for 358 yards and four touchdowns. Marcus McCoy adds 16 catches for 270 yards and three scores.

Mylique McGriff is a dual-threat running back with 420 yards rushing and five touchdowns and 12 catches for 135 yards despite missing two full games and most of a third with an injury.

This week starts a stretch of three homes in the final four for the Golden Eagles, who are 2-1 at home this year. Clarion hosts Edinboro at noon Oct. 27 in its next game.

Slippery Rock remains on the road next week with a 1 p.m. game at California.

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