LOCK HAVEN, Pa. – Receiving three first-place votes each, IUP and Slippery Rock were voted co-favorites in the PSAC West Preseason Poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches, the league office announced Thursday.
IUP finished the year with a 7-3 overall record and 5-2 conference mark. The Crimson Hawks bring back Duane Brown — No. 2 receiver in the league (89 yards per game) and Lindy’s Preseason All-American—as they aim to build on an offense that ranked third in the 2021 season.
Slippery Rock earned three of eight possible first-place votes following a successful 9-3 overall record and a 6-1 conference mark. Despite defeat in the conference championship game, The Rock did earn the top regular season finish of the Western Division for the third year in a row. The Rock will look for continued success on both sides of the ball after recording the No. 2 overall offense in the conference (averaging 38.9 points per game), as well as the No. 1 pass defense (allowing only 143 yards per game) in 2021.
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Coming in third is California (Pa.). The Vulcans earned two first-place votes after finishing second in the PSAC West by going 9-2 overall and 5-1 in conference action. Cal hopes to expand on their defensive success after being first on last season’s defensive leaderboard. In 2021, the Vulcans also extended their streak of at least seven wins for the 17th consecutive season—the longest active streak among PSAC institutions.
The Gannon Golden Knights were picked fourth in the poll following a 5-6 overall mark and 3-4 PSAC West record in 2021. Gannon will look to build their program after rising to fourth place in 2021 divisional standings following an eighth-place finish in 2019.
In another tie, Edinboro and Seton Hill sit beside each other at fifth place in the PSAC West preseason poll. The Fighting Scots landed fifth in 2021’s divisional standings and look to improve upon an overall 4-6 record. With a 5-6 overall record in 2021, the Seton Hill Griffins recorded the third-best defense in the league after racking up the most interceptions (17) and the second-most sacks (35) for the year.
Selected seventh is the Mercyhurst Lakers. Following a four-win season in 2021, the Lakers will look to improve under new head coach Ryan Riemedio.
Rounding out the poll is eighth-ranked Clarion, which also welcomes a new head coach in Raymond Monica.
WEST (# of 1st Place Votes)
T1. IUP (3)
T1. Slippery Rock (3)
3. California (2)
T5. Seton Hill