Geneva-Saint Vincent Preview

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Saint Vincent College (0-7) vs. Geneva College (5-1)

October 24, 2009

7:00 pm - Reeves Field

Beaver Falls, PA

For the first time since 1942, the Geneva College football team will be playing the same opponent twice in the same regular season. The Golden Tornadoes lost two games to Youngstown State 67 years ago but in this season Geneva will look to sweep the season series against Saint Vincent College. The Golden Tornadoes got past the Bearcats 31-17 back in week two of the season after spotting them a 14-0 first quarter lead. Geneva rallied from a similar status two weeks ago against Grove City before posting 49 points in defeating Waynesburg last Saturday.

Geneva′s offensive unit continues to evolve into one of the most prolific in the PAC. Averaging over 33 points per game, the Golden Tornadoes have scored 41.5 points per game in the last two weeks. While the offense continues to churn, it was the defensive pressure and opportunistic takeaways that sealed the deal at Waynesburg. Geneva forced five turnovers including four interceptions and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The defense also held the PAC′s top offense to 150 yards less than its season average in winning for the fifth time in six tries. Rich Kolesar picked off his team leading fourth interception and Brian Wilson scored on a fumble recovery and subsequent return. Wilson also pulled in a 12-yard touchdown reception making him the first player to score a touchdown on both sides of the ball in the same game since those numbers have been recorded.

In the first meeting of the year between Geneva and Saint Vincent, the Bearcats looked to be on their way to an upset after posting the first 14 points of the game. Geneva quarterback David Girardi has only thrown three interceptions on the year but one was returned for a touchdown by Saint Vincent′s Tom Quirin to give the Bearcats their 14 point first quarter advantage. Girardi came back to throw a pair of touchdowns as the Golden Tornadoes scored 32 of the final 35 points to pick up the victory. Gerard Muschette rushed for 153 yards and the Geneva defense held Saint Vincent to only 213 total yards of offense.

It has not been an easy go for Saint Vincent in the first three years of its football resurgence. The Bearcats have won just once in 27 games. In 2009, the Bearcats have started 0-7, but may be coming off one of their most promising efforts of the season. Saint Vincent lost to W & J 21-7 last week but held a prolific offense to only three touchdowns in less than perfect conditions in Latrobe. For the season, Saint Vincent ranks last in the PAC in scoring offense (17.1 pts/gm) and next to last in scoring defense (35.1 pts/gm). Recently, the Bearcats made a change at quarterback and it has been sophomore Jake Smith running the show. Smith has thrown for 557 yards and four touchdowns in his time as a starter. Zach Mihalko leads the running attack with 242 yards on 73 carries and a touchdown. David Ribero has been a force on defense with a team leading 56 tackles, including ten tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

The Golden Tornadoes have moved up to third in the PAC in offense with 33.8 points per game. Defensively, Geneva also ranks third having allowed just over 24 points per contest. One of the main reasons for Geneva′s success in 2009 is the fact it leads the conference in turnover margin. Having forced 17 turnovers on defense, Geneva has only given the ball away five times all year. The Golden Tornadoes also have the most efficient offense in the red zone having scored 22-23 times inside the 20 yard line, including 21 touchdowns. Last week was the first time all season Geneva had the ball inside the 20 yard line and came away with no points.

The Geneva - Saint Vincent rivalry dates back to 1930 when Geneva opened the series with a 25-0 victory. Since the Bearcats brought football back in 2007, Geneva has won three straight and has outscored the Bearcats by the count of 130-63. Geneva holds an 8-4-1 edge in the all-time series including the 32-17 victory back on September 12th.