District notebook: Upstart Gannon awaits challenge

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Where some saw a struggling team in 2012, Brad Rzyczycki saw opportunity and a promising future.

Rzyczycki's Gannon football team finished 3-8 last season, at one point losing seven games in a row, but half of those defeats came by 10 points or fewer, all with a relatively young roster.

Four games into the 2013 season, the coach's confidence in his team appears warranted.

The Golden Knights are off to a 3-1 start, their best in a decade, and are set to play the first of a series of difficult games that remain on their schedule with a noon kickoff today at Bloomsburg.

The Huskies are the No. 9 team in the AFCA Division II coaches poll and are in the top 25 among Division II teams in scoring offense and scoring defense.

After adjusting to a new system under a first-year head coach in 2012, Gannon's offense is thriving this season, averaging 40 points per game. Leading the way has been quarterback Liam Nadler, who has thrown 11 touchdowns and three interceptions, and running back Jansen Jones, who has rushed for 657 yards while averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

In just a few days, the Golden Knights will have a better idea of what their early success means, but for the time being, they're excited for the opportunity that awaits.

"We're going to see how good we are," Rzyczycki said. "Right now, we're relevant and we want to stay that way."

Other games

West Liberty (2-2) at Duquesne (1-2), 12:10 p.m., Rooney Field -- The Dukes, who are 0-2 on the road this season, will be playing at home for the first time in more than a month. The two teams have not played since 1996.

Robert Morris (2-2) at Monmouth (2-3), 1 p.m., Monmouth Stadium -- The Colonials picked up a double-overtime victory last week against VMI, but they have yet to record consecutive wins this season.

Millersville (0-4) at IUP (4-0), 2 p.m., George P. Miller Stadium -- Holding steady at No. 7 in the Division II poll, the Crimson Hawks will look to uphold their 10-game regular season win streak against the winless Marauders.

California (3-1) at West Chester (4-0), noon, John A. Farrell Stadium -- The Vulcans won last season's matchup, but the Golden Rams enter the game as the No. 17 team in the Division II poll with an offense averaging 42.8 points per game.

Carnegie Mellon (2-2) at Saint Vincent (0-3), 1 p.m., Chuck Noll Field -- Tartans quarterback Rob Kalkstein, a Gateway graduate, has 4,535 career passing yards, the fourth most in school history. The meeting between the teams is the first since 1962.

Washington & Jefferson (3-1) at Bethany (1-3), 7 p.m., Bison Stadium -- A victory against Grove City gave the Bison their first victory of the season, but the challenge will get decidedly more difficult against a Presidents team averaging 37.8 points per game.

Geneva (3-1) at Thomas More (4-0), 1:30 p.m., Bank of Kentucky Field -- After a surprising 3-0 start to the season, the Golden Tornadoes dropped a game last week against Carnegie Mellon and now have to go on the road to play a Saints team ranked No. 24 in Division III.

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


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