When the Slippery Rock football team defeated Gannon Saturday afternoon at the McConnell Family Stadium, history was made.
Senior quarterback Roland Rivers III broke a few records, senior kicker Jake Chapla broke another record and the Slippery Rock football team became the first team in the school’s 121-year history to start the season 10-0.
Slippery Rock head coach Shawn Lutz said that winning the elusive tenth game without a loss was a cool feat, but to him, his team is nowhere near where they want to be.
“10-0 is nice, but that’s not our goal,” Lutz said. “Our goal is to maximize and go as far as we can.”
With an away game against Kutztown for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship coming up, Lutz said this week, Slippery Rock will enter the game 0-0.
A loss to Kutztown, besides being a second straight loss to a PSAC-East team in the PSAC title game, would take away home field advantage and the recipe for a loss would be that much more potent.
“Lose in the PSAC championship, lose in the first round of the playoffs and you’re a 10-2 football team who’s really frustrated with the season,” Lutz said.
So, while 10-0 is nice, Lutz said that the time for reflecting comes once the season is over. With 28 teams vying for the national championship, he questioned how many teams actually have a chance of bringing the trophy back to its stadiums.
“What’re the chances of us winning the national championship?” Lutz asked. “There’s going to be one team that’s going to be excited with their season. Everyone else is going to be disappointed.”
Lutz was complimentary with his team’s ability to improve and adapt each week. He attributed Slippery Rock’s unbeaten run to the ability to run the ball as the season wore on.
“The thing we’ve done that I’m most proud of is we’ve gotten better each week,” Lutz said. “Our two biggest games, California and IUP, we had 200 yards of rushing.”
Two players who have instrumental in the success of this season’s team, Rivers and Chapla, continued their ascent of Rock record books.
In just 22 games, Rivers set the all-time career passing touchdown record with four touchdowns against Gannon. His 64 touchdowns surpassed Nate Crookshank’s record of 60 which was set in 2007.
This season, through 10 games, Rivers set the single-season touchdown record, passing Tanner Garry’s record of 32 set in 2017.
Chapla, already the most prolific kicker in program history, chased down former Bloomsburg kicker Dan Fisher to become the highest scorer in PSAC history.
His 362 points lead all players to ever play in the PSAC, but he still trails Fisher’s all-time field goal mark by nine.
Slippery Rock will have another chance to improve to a program-best 11-0 with a win over Kutztown in the PSAC championship Saturday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.