CMU quarterback's run for record book takes back seat

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By the end of the 2013 season, Rob Kalkstein's name likely will go down in Carnegie Mellon football history, if it doesn't already.

The Tartans senior quarterback, a four-year starter, is one game into the final season of his college career and will play the rest of the year with many of the program's records well within his grasp.

Kalkstein is 1,308 yards short of the program's passing yardage record of 5,377 and needs 92 more completions to set the school record in that category.

Although the numbers needed to reach those marks are attainable, Kalkstein has other priorities.

"It's hard to think about that now that we're getting the season started," he said. "That stuff is in the back of my mind. I'm going to try to focus on winning on Saturdays."

Winning is a top priority for Kalkstein, who threw for 136 completions and 2,148 yards in 2012, both program single-season records, but saw the Tartans lose four of their final five games to finish 6-5.

Along with Kalkstein, the team returns a strong core of players from last season, giving the Tartans hope as the rest of the season unwinds.

"I think we're all pretty confident going into the season that we can open up some people's eyes and really have a season that we're all proud of," Kalkstein said.

Kalkstein had plenty of reason to be proud before his arrival at Carnegie Mellon. He was a four-year starter at Gateway, where he helped lead the Gators to three WPIAL Class AAAA championship game appearances.

He certainly hasn't disappointed since then, on and off the field. He has a 3.63 grade-point average as a finance major in the school's Tepper School of Business. He also has been nominated this season for the William V. Campbell Trophy, an award which is considered the "Academic Heisman."

In all, whether or not the records are broken, Kalkstein will leave Carnegie Mellon as one of the best quarterbacks the program has seen.

"He's certainly one of the top quarterbacks we've had here at Carnegie Mellon," longtime Tartans coach Rich Lackner said. "Whether he's one, two, three or four, it's hard to say. We've had a couple of good ones and certainly Rob ranks up there with the best ones."

A record-setting performance

With his team beginning the season on the road, Slippery Rock senior quarterback Nigel Barksdale threw for 465 yards and a program-record six touchdowns in a 51-36 victory against Northwood.

A junior college transfer in his second season as The Rock's starter, Barksdale had an impressive return after spending all offseason rehabilitating from a torn ACL that came late in the 2012 season.

"I wasn't even thinking about the first game until our first week of school," Barksdale said. "The whole time I was just thinking of getting my spot back. That was my work ethic -- to remain the starting quarterback for this football team."

A special honor

Dean Cottrill, a former IUP linebacker, will be inducted into the school's Football Hall of Fame in a ceremony at halftime of the Crimson Hawks' game Saturday against Cheyney.

An Upper St. Clair High School graduate, Cottrill was voted as an AFCA Division II first team member in 1988.

Goalkeeper draws acclaim

Brandon Daughtry, a junior goalkeeper on the Waynesburg men's soccer team, was honored as the PAC defensive player/goalkeeper of the week.

Daughtry, a Burrell grad who was an all-PAC goalkeeper in 2012, allowed one goal in the Yellow Jackets' past two games, making nine saves in the process.

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Craig Meyer: cmeyer@post-gazette.com and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG


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