Slippery Rock University football looks to take on Clarion University (4-3) in the ninth annual Milk Jug game this Saturday.
The Rock is 7-1 in the all-time series with Clarion since the “Milk Jug Trophy” was introduced to the rivalry in 2010 with the Green and White looking for their eighth straight win over Clarion. The past can’t be the focus for The Rock as Clarion has seen improvements in their game this season.
“They definitely got our attention,” SRU football head coach Shawn Lutz said. “We’re playing at their place where they’re tough at home and it’s that milk jug game I mean they want to get that jug back.”
Last season The Rock defeated the Golden Eagles 24-9 at home, where defensive end Marcus Martin broke the All-Division record for career sacks. Clarion comes into the game on a two-game losing skid following losses to top-tier opponents California (Pa.) and Indiana University (Pa.).
Clarion comes into the contest with a defense that gives up the third least points per game in the conference at 21.9 with many returning starters from last season.
“Our toughest test will be this week up front,” Lutz said. “Our offensive line against probably the best defensive line that we’ve faced up to this point. They are good at what they do.”
The Rock is coming off a 59-28 win over Edinboro University on homecoming, where they put up just shy of 600 yards of offense, with six total touchdowns from junior quarterback Roland Rivers.
Last week senior running back Wes Hills collected 88 yards off 12 carries and a touchdown his second game back from injury. The Rock also had two receivers go over the century mark with redshirt sophomore Henry Litwin racking up 131 yards and a touchdown, while fellow redshirt sophomore Jermaine Wynn Jr. totaled 119 yards and three touchdowns. The offense has proven they can carry the team on their shoulders, while the defense has shown problems in recent weeks giving up long plays for big results for their opponents.
“We gotta be better gap sound and the other two was just that guy was better than our guy you know we just gotta do a better job sometimes, but yeah we gotta eliminate those big plays,” Lutz said.
Another area of concern for The Rock would be on special teams, particularly on kickoff with Edinboro able to rip off big returns last week.
“When Chapla has to make tackles on the kickoff we’re in trouble,” Lutz said. “Problem is we were thin at some positions and we don’t want to put starters on there and we’re maybe going to doing that, but that was absolutely ridiculous. ”
Clarion currently sits in fourth place in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West after holding the top spot through the first four weeks. Kickoff at Clarion is set for noon on Saturday as The Rock looks to hold on to first place in the PSAC West and separate themselves from the competition with CalU nipping at The Rock’s heels with a 3-1 conference record.