After losing their third consecutive game last week, the Slippery Rock University football team is hoping the end the season on a high note.
Coming into town this Saturday will be the Seton Hill University Griffins, who will be trying to knock off the Green and White for a second straight year. With matching 5-4, 1-3 records, neither team has much to play for at this point other than pride.
“It’s all our own resume, we’ve got to have a winning record,” Rock head coach Shawn Lutz said. “They don’t like to lose and we’ve got to get that winning feeling back. That’s what we’re playing for.”
Seton Hill boasts the second-ranked passing offense in the country, led by their quarterback Christian Strong who has 3,299 passing yards on the season.
The Rock has struggled against pass heavy offenses this year, with Edinboro and Clarion both attempting more than 40 passes against SRU and finding enough success to get victories. Edinboro quarterback Jake Sisson attempted 62 passes, completing 28 for 248 yards and Clarion quarterback Connor Simmons attempted 43 passes, completing 22 for 369 yards.
“We’re going to have to play a little more coverage and give up a few more yards in the run game,” Lutz said. “There’s no secret, we’ve got to make plays. We’ve got our work cut out for us for sure.”
Leading the secondary of the Rock defense are cornerbacks Alfon Cook and Titus Howard. Cook, a senior, leads the team with three interceptions and 12 pass break-ups this year. Howard, a junior, has one interception and six pass break-ups.
They will be covering Seton Hill receivers Ardell Brown and Norman Darden who both have over 40 catches and 500 yards this year. Brown is third in the conference with 931 receiving yards this year.
Starting at quarterback for The Rock will be true freshman Augustus Necastro. Necastro started last week in the loss to Clarion and played in the loss to Edinboro two weeks ago. In limited action, he has completed 31 of 47 passes for 396 yards and five touchdowns.
Necastro will be supported on offense by junior receiver Marcus Johnson and junior running back Isiah Neely. Johnson leads all Rock receivers with 583 yards and eight touchdowns this year, while Neely has 474 rushing yards with three touchdowns.
For the first time in a long time, The Rock is searching for something to play for and they hope to find it for their last two games of the year.