Losers of Four Straight, Clarion Travels to Mercyhurst Saturday

Chris Rossetti

Chris Rossetti

Published November 1, 2018 4:17 am
Losers of Four Straight, Clarion Travels to Mercyhurst Saturday

ERIE, Pa. (EYT) — Losers of four straight and with a struggling offense, Clarion goes north to Erie Saturday to take on Mercyhurst with a Noon kickoff.

(Photo of Dana Jackson. Photo by Bri Nellis. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)

Coming off a 14-7 loss at home to Edinboro, Clarion’s 4-1 start is a distant memory with the Golden Eagles now sitting at 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the conference.

Mercyhurst enters the game at 3-6 overall and 2-4 in conference play, although the Lakers are coming off a 38-21 win over rival Gannon that saw Garrett Owens earn PSAC West Offensive Player of the Week honors after putting up a school-record 419 all-purpose yards including 268 yards rushing with three touchdowns.

Owens is nearing 1,000 yards on the season with 883 yards and six touchdowns and goes against a Clarion rush defense that is starting to leak like a broken dam.

After a three-game stretch earlier in the season that saw them allow just 26 total yards on the ground including back-to-back games of limiting opponents to negative yards rushing, the Golden Eagles run defense has been porous, to say the least, lately giving up an average of 208.8 yards per game on the ground during the four-game losing streak including 537 yards over the past two weeks making Clarion’s sixth-place ranking in the PSAC rushing defensive stats look a bit hollow.

The good news for Clarion is for the second straight week they face a team that has some quarterback issues.

Doug Altavilla has more interceptions (10) than touchdown passes (9) and is completing 130 of 225 passes for 1,431 yards.

Top receivers are Ownes (23 catches, 200 yards, 2 TDs), Clay Waldron (22 catches, 358 yards, 1 TD) and Austin Hence (23 catches, 311 yards, 2 TDs).

The Lakers defense ranks in the middle of the pack in the PSAC allowing 23.0 points per game and gets to go against a Clarion offense that has managed just 23 points over its past 11 quarters and averages 21.1 points per game despite twice scoring over 30.

QB play is a problem for the Golden Eagles with Jeff Clemens completing just over 50 percent of his passes (100 of 194) for 1,278 yards and six touchdowns while tossing nine picks.

The running game has picked up some with the return of Mylique McGriff a few weeks ago from injury. McGriff leads Clarion with 572 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground and is tied for second on the team with 16 catches for 166 yards.

Dana Jackson is one of the better receivers in the PSAC and ranks 15th in the conference with 451 yards receiving on 24 catches with four touchdowns despite the poor quarterback play.

This is the PSAC West finale for Clarion, who will close out the season when it hosts East Stroudsburg at Noon Saturday, Nov. 10.

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