For 51 straight years, the Slippery Rock University and the University of Lock Haven football teams would play one another in an annual game. However, since Lock Haven moved to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division in 2012 the two schools have not played once.
Slippery Rock has owned this series, winning each of the last 24 meetings with Lock Haven and owns a 44-12-1 record all-time against the Eagles.
Last week Slippery Rock (2-0) knocked off the West Chester University Golden Rams on their home turf 36-28.
Graduate-transfer quarterback Don King III passed for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the game, only his second ever collegiate start.
SRU head coach Shawn Lutz believes King is becoming more comfortable in the Slippery Rock offense.
“I think it’s just a matter of time,” Lutz said. “He’s got to get really in sync with those receivers. He’s not there yet, but it’s coming.”
King’s primary targets in the passing game so far this year have been junior Marcus Johnson and senior Cornelius Raye. Johnson has six catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns on the season and Raye has six caught for 85 yards.
The strength of The Rock team this year has been its defense, and it will get a big boost this week with the return of senior defensive tackle Joe Philips, who missed last week’s game due to injury. Philips, along with seniors Tony Twillie II and Cody Conway and junior Marcus Martin, have made up on of the most dominant defensive lines in the nation.
Those four players have combined for 5.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss so far this season. They also spearhead a defense that allows a paltry 64 rushing yards per game to their opponents.
Lock Haven is off to a disappointing 0-2 start to the season and has been outscored by their opponents 85-62. The main weakness of this Lock Haven team has been its defense. Offensively, Lock Haven is second in the nation in passing yards with 815 yards from senior quarterback Caleb Walton.
Lutz believes his team has a good chance to win this game, emphasizing that they need to play hard in all four quarters of the game.
“Offensively we show signs of getting better,” Lutz said. “We’ve just got to be more consistent on offense. I want to still play a four quarter game. We haven’t done that yet so I’m hoping we can do that against Lock Haven.”