Slippery Rock washes away Gannon

Slippery+Rock+washes+away+Gannon

It might have been Gannon University’s Homecoming football game at McConnell Family Stadium Saturday, but Slippery Rock was the only one doing any dancing.

The Knights saw their Homecoming game get washed away by The Rock in a rainy 41-14 loss.

More than 1,200 soaked fans watched Gannon surrender a 14-6 late first-half lead for its second consecutive PSAC loss. The Knights offense was unable to get anything going, scoring only one touchdown, while the other came off a Jesstin Hamm punt return.

Gannon QB Liam Nadler was sacked seven times Saturday afternoon and Gannon coach Brad Rzyczycki said that was the biggest difference.

“Their defense took it to our offensive line,” Rzyczycki said. “I think they won the battle up front between our offense and their defense [Saturday].”

The loss to The Rock comes one week after a 16-point loss to Clarion at home. Nadler said the unsteady play of the offense from the first two weeks to the last two games is something the team needs to focus on.

“It’s inconsistency all around,” Nadler said. “From our offensive line, to Brock (Jones), to myself, to our wide receivers – it’s just inconsistency. We’re not playing to our capability and we have to do a better job next week.”

Gannon trailed 6-0 after Nadler’s NCAA Division II record of pass attempts without an interception was halted at 312 when his pass was picked off by Alfon Cook, who returned it 70 yards for the score.

However, the Knights would seize the momentum right back. Dezmon Hopkins blocked Slippery Rock’s PAT and ran it 98 yards for the score to cut the lead to four. Gannon seemed to have control when Jones found the end zone on a 3-yard run. The second blocked PAT of the day left Gannon with an 8-6 lead with 13 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Knights kept the momentum going when Hamm returned a punt 71 yards to give them a 14-6 lead, after the third blocked PAT of the afternoon. But the good times for Gannon would stop rolling after that.

The Rock tied the game on a Shamar Greene 21-yard run with 28 seconds left in the half and wouldn’t yield the lead after that. Slippery Rock (4-1, 1-1) scored 35 unanswered points, as the defense clamped down to keep the Golden Knights scoreless in the final 30 minutes.

Slippery Rock coach George Mihalik said Greene’s TD run to end the half gave his squad fuel entering the final half.

“I thought that just gave us some momentum going into the half and we just came out and kept it (going),” Mihalik said.

Gannon moves its focus to Mercyhurst, as the Knights will make the short trip across town to take on the rival Lakers at noon Saturday.

Rzyczycki said the upcoming matchup is good for his squad to get things back into shape.

“We have to get through (Sunday’s) film and correct our mistakes from the last two weeks and make sure they don’t happened anymore,” Rzyczycki said. “The good thing is, we play Mercyhurst (Saturday) and that’s a rivalry game, so our kids will be ready to go.”

Saturday’s “Battle for the Niagara Cup” will be broadcast live on the American Sports Network for select markets throughout the country and locally on the CW.

 

DOMINIC SANSONE

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