Geneva College Golden Tornadoes (0-4, 0-2)
Saint Vincent College Bearcats (2-1, 1-0)
Reeves Field – Beaver Falls, PA
Beaver Falls, PA – Homecoming on the campus of Geneva College is always one of the most festive times of the year. Nothing would enhance the mood of Geneva’s campus more than a victory for the Golden Tornadoes this Saturday against Saint Vincent. The Golden Tornadoes have found things quite rocky throughout the first portion of the 2011 season. In fact, Geneva is mired in its first 0-4 record to start a season since 1978. Perhaps the Golden Tornadoes can find some motivation from the 1986 25 year reunion of a Geneva team that finished 4-6 but advanced to the NAIA semi-finals one year later. Never before under head coach Geno DeMarco have the Golden Tornadoes suffered such a slow start.
The Golden Tornadoes will be meeting a Saint Vincent team that it has defeated five straight times including a 27-23 victory a year ago. In fact, it has been exactly 50 years since Geneva lost to Saint Vincent in a 14-7 decision back in 1961. Since Saint Vincent restarted its football program back in 2007, Geneva has defeated the Bearcats four times and have averaged 41 points in those victories. In last year’s victory, Corey O’Patchen scored on a pair of long touchdown receptions as the Golden Tornadoes held off Saint Vincent in a scoreless second half.
While Geneva has been busy looking for its first victory of the season, Saint Vincent is experiencing a revitalization of its program through the early weeks of the 2011 season. With just four victories since 2007 coming into the year, the Bearcats have opened the season at 2-1 including an impressive 36-14 win over Thiel last week. The only loss by Saint Vincent came in overtime against Bridgewater in the first week of the season. Quarterback Aaron Smetanka has completed a ridiculous 75% of his passes for 721 yards and seven touchdowns in the first three games. He is averaging over 240 yards through the air per game. Christian Sutton (16 rec) and Ricky Douglas (15 rec) have been the top two targets. On the ground, Huey Ehredt and Mike Kale have shared the majority of the carries with a combined average of 130 yards per game and four touchdowns.
Geneva’s offense finally enjoyed some success last week with 27 points on the board. Rocco Collevecchia played four different positions throughout the game with the last one coming as Geneva’s quarterback following a Zack Hayward injury. This week’s starter may come down to a game time decision but it was Collavecchia that threw for a pair of touchdowns while also churning out 73 yards on the ground. Geneva’s defense, on the other hand, will have its hands full against a Saint Vincent team that is clicking on all cylinders and has averaged 45.5 points in its last two games. The Golden Tornadoes’ defense has yielded a conference worst 42.2 points per game through the first four tests of the season. One defensive bright spot came in the unlikeliest of sources last week when freshman Jud Hunter picked off his first career interception in the end zone against the Bison. Hunter, who started the season as a wide receiver, has been moved to a defensive back position and should see significant time this week.
In addition to its high powered offense, Saint Vincent leads the PAC with its 12.3 points allowed per game. Anthony Johnson leads the defensive 11 with 26 tackles including four tackles for loss. Geneva’s defense continues to be led by sophomore Dillon Goodell’s 29 tackles and six tackles for loss through the first four games.
Geneva heads back to the road next Saturday for a meeting with Waynesburg University at 1:30 pm. As for Saint Vincent, it heads home for back to back challenges with Washington & Jefferson and Thomas More in the next two weeks.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).