Where some might see a midseason game between two teams hovering around .500, those around the Duquesne and Robert Morris football programs see something entirely different: An important conference game between two schools separated by 18 miles.
This season's game between the Dukes (3-2) and Colonials (2-3), which begins at 6 p.m. today at Joe Walton Stadium, could have a long-standing effect on two teams beginning conference play.
After dropping back-to-back games in September, Duquesne has rebounded, winning its previous two games while averaging 30.5 points per game.
"Robert Morris is a local rivalry, it's a healthy rivalry," Duquesne coach Jerry Schmitt said. "We know emotions will be high and our job will to be to play our football game."
For the host Colonials, a team that has shown flashes of promise, the issue has been consistency. They have not won or lost consecutive games this season, which is emblematic of their rivalry with the Dukes. Neither team has won consecutive games in the series since Duquesne did so from 2005-07. Robert Morris won a year ago, 17-13
"We've been such an up-and-down team that you don't know which one is going to show up each week," Robert Morris coach Joe Walton said. "We had two good games, two bad games and then we laid a big egg at Monmouth last week. It's been disappointing."
Edinboro (3-3) at IUP (5-1), 1 p.m., George P. Miller Stadium -- The Crimson Hawks fell 15 spots in the AFCA Division II Coaches poll after a 26-point loss to Slippery Rock last week. IUP is 3-1 coming off a loss under coach Curt Cignetti.
Clarion (3-3) at Slippery Rock (5-1), 2 p.m., Mihalik-Thompson Stadium -- The Rock is in the top five in Division II in scoring offense (49 points per game), passing offense (399.5 yards per game) and total offense (583.8 yards per game).
California (4-2) at Seton Hill (0-6), 3 p.m., Offutt Field -- The Vulcans snapped a two-game losing streak with a 35-7 victory against Clarion, led defensively by Gateway graduate BJ Stevens and his nine tackles.
Bethany (2-3) at Waynesburg (5-1), 1:30 p.m., John F. Wiley Stadium -- The game pits the PAC's top two players in passing yards -- the Yellow Jackets' Carter Hill and the Bison's Matt Grimard -- against each other.
Saint Vincent (0-5) at Geneva (3-2), 4 p.m., Reeves Field -- Golden Tornadoes quarterback and Shenango graduate Rocco Colavecchia is tied for sixth among Division III players with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Washington & Jefferson (4-2) at Westminster (2-3), 7 p.m., Burry Stadium -- The Titans have won two of their past three games after an 0-2 start, but they have not defeated the Presidents since 2000, losing the past 12 meetings.
Carnegie Mellon (3-3) at Mercer (5-1), 1 p.m., Mercer University Stadium -- Tartans quarterback Rob Kalkstein, a Gateway graduate, surpassed the 1,000-yard mark this season in a loss last week against Westminster.
Craig Meyer: email@example.com and Twitter @CraigMeyerPG. First Published October 18, 2013 8:34 PM