As far as season openers go, Slippery Rock's football team could not have asked for a much better one.
On the road against Northwood, The Rock scored on the first offensive play of the game, a 73-yard touchdown pass from Nigel Barksdale to Ken Amos, en route to putting up 675 total yards in a 51-36 victory. Barksdale, a senior coming back from a torn ACL, threw for 465 yards and a school-record six touchdown passes.
Three Slippery Rock wide receivers -- Amos, John Schademan and Jaimire Dutrieuille -- had at least 100 receiving yards. With that offensive performance, The Rock has averaged 49.8 points per game in its past four season openers.
The debut was an impressive one for a Slippery Rock team picked to finish third in the PSAC West, but its first true test of the season comes today against Shippensburg at home.
The Red Raiders, preseason favorites in the PSAC East, are coming off a 33-0 loss at Shepherd in their first game without offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who now holds the same position at Oklahoma State. Under Yurcich in 2012, Shippensburg averaged 46.1 points per game.
The loss dropped the Red Raiders out the top 25 of the AFCA Division II coaches poll after beginning the season at No. 7.
Robert Morris (1-1) vs. Dayton (1-1), noon, Joe Walton Stadium -- The Colonials responded from a 32-point loss to Eastern Kentucky by handily beating Morgan State last Saturday. In his home debut, Penn State transfer and Sto-Rox graduate Paul Jones threw for three touchdowns while the Robert Morris defense held the Bears scoreless until the fourth quarter.
Washington & Jefferson (1-0) at St. John Fisher (1-0), 1 p.m., Growney Stadium -- The Presidents legitimized their status as the PAC preseason favorite with a convincing 58-21 victory against Wooster. For their efforts in the win, running back Dion Wiegand, a Keystone Oaks graduate, was named the PAC offensive player of the week and wide receiver/kick returner Alex Baroffio, a Bethel Park graduate, was the conference's special teams player of the week.
IUP (1-0) vs. Cheyney (0-1), 4 p.m., George P. Miller Stadium -- After a 30-20 victory against Southern Connecticut State, the Crimson Hawks moved up to No. 8 in the AFCA Division II coaches poll. In the victory, De'Antwan Williams rushed for a team-high 135 yards and averaged 7.5 yards per carry.
California (1-0) vs. Kutztown (0-1), 3:30 p.m., Adamson Stadium -- After a narrow victory last week against Hillsdale, the Vulcans return home to face a Golden Bears team they defeated last season in a game in which the teams combined for 93 points.
Clarion (1-0) vs. Lock Haven (1-0), 6 p.m., Memorial Stadium -- Both the Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles are coming off victories last week. Clarion has won the past five meetings.
Geneva (1-0) vs. Bethany (0-1), 8 p.m., Reeves Field -- The two schools picked to finish tied for fifth in the PAC preseason poll meet for the first time since Bethany's 42-36 overtime victory last season.sportscollegedistrict
Craig Meyer: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG.