Familiarity seems to breed winning for Carnegie Mellon's football team, which is 3-0 and off to its best start since the Tartans were 11-0 with a victory in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2006.
Coach Rich Lackner, who has a 178-85-2 record in his 27th season to rank sixth among active Division III coaches, credits the continuity of his staff for the long-term success of the program.
Defensive coordinator Terry Bodnar and offensive coordinator Rich Erdelyi both are in their 27th season.
These Tartans also have been together for a while, led by quarterback Rob Kalkstein.
"We have a lot of guys who have been around and know each other," said Kalkstein, a junior from Gateway who is in his third season as a starter. "I'm pretty smooth with our offense and comfortable with the guys around me."
Kalkstein, who passed for a career-high 290 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-17 victory against Catholic University is the University Athletic Association and ECAC Southeast Athletic Conference offensive player of the week. He has completed 27 of 40 passes for 682 yards and seven touchdowns this season and is No. 1 in Division III in passing efficiency.
Carnegie Mellon plays host to DePauw (0-2) at 1 p.m. today at Gesling Stadium.
IUP's nationally ranked defense that has allowed just one touchdown and six points in three games is anchored by the Meisner brothers, defensive ends who both transferred to the Crimson Hawks this season.
Greg is a senior who left Kentucky and Shane is a sophomore who departed Rutgers. They have combined for a total of 20 tackles for a defense that is No. 2 in Division II in points per game allowed (2.0), yards rushing allowed per game (29.0) and total yards allowed per game (150.0).
The brothers hail from Greensburg and graduated from Hempfield.
IUP's defense will be tested when the No. 14 Crimson Hawks play at No. 6 California (3-0) at 3:30 p.m. today in a matchup of Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and Division II powerhouses.
Robert Morris (0-3) has lost a school-record nine consecutive games dating to last season, surpassing the previous longest streak of seven with the final five games of 2005 and first two of '06. The string is intact this week because the Colonials are idle.
Youngstown State, 3-0 and No. 3 in NCAA Division I-AA, is off to its best start since it went 6-0 in 2000. The Penguins play host to No. 8 Northern Iowa (1-2) at 7 p.m. today in each team's Missouri Valley Conference opener.
Northern Iowa's record is deceiving because the losses came on the road against Big Ten teams Wisconsin (26-21) and Iowa (27-16). Youngstown State defeated Pitt, 31-17, in its only game against a Division I-A opponent this season.
Waynesburg (3-0) plays host to four-time defending Presidents' Athletic Conference champion Thomas More (1-1) at 1:30 p.m. today in a key PAC showdown.
Waynesburg junior quarterback Tyler Futigante (Avonworth), who completed 14 of 15 passes for 138 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown in a 35-14 victory against Saint Vincent, is the PAC offensive player of the week.
Two of the most prolific active rushers in I-AA will be on display when Duquesne (2-1) plays at Bryant (0-3) in a Northeast Conference game at 1 p.m. today. Duquesne's Larry McCoy is second in I-AA with 3,823 career yards and Bryant's Jordan Brown is third with 3,493. McCoy is the current NEC co-offensive player of the week.