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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | November 16, 2019

Slippery Rock beats Kutztown: The Rock wins PSAC championship game in thrilling fashion

DII football plays of the week

Slippery Rock prevailed in a thriller from Andre Reed Stadium in Kutztown, Pennsylvania on Saturday. The Rock won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference championship, taking their first lead of the game with 25 seconds left in the game to defeat Kutztown 37-35.

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It was a back-and-forth battle in the early going, as Kutztown and Slippery Rock exchanged blows, putting up 49 combined points in the first half. Kutztown entered the second half with a 28-21lead, but The Rock quickly took over. Slippery Rock held Kutztown to six yards on just nine plays in the fourth quarter and scored 16 unanswered points to clinch the PSAC championship.

Be sure to relive the game with the highlights below.

The PSAC Championship: Live updates, scores, and stats

FINAL | Q4 | Slippery Rock 37, Kutztown 35

Slippery Rock wins a shootout, completely taking over in the fourth quarter. The win could very well lock up the No. 1 seed in Super Region One, as predicted here on NCAA.com on Friday. The win moves Slippery Rock to 11-0 and Kutztown picks up its first loss of the season, moving to 10-1. 

Both teams are almost-certain locks for the DII tournament.

FINAL | Q4 | Slippery Rock 37, Kutztown 35

FINAL STATS

Slippery Rock Kutztown
Roland RIvers III, QB: 302 pass, 53 rush, 4 TD Collin DiGalbo, QB: 227 pass, 92 rush, 3 TD
DeShaun Dinkins, RB: 76 rush, 7 rec., 1 TD Abdul-Hassan Neblett, RB: 141 rush, 49 rec., 2 TD
Henry Litwin, WR: 105 yards, 2 TD Jack Pilkerton, TE: 129 yards, 2 TD

FINAL | Q4 | Slippery Rock 37, Kutztown 35

Field goal is no good! Slippery Rock is your 2019 PSAC champions! Stats to come, stay tuned!

0:02 | Q4 | Slippery Rock 37, Kutztown 35

Scratch that. Kutztown is now lined up for a 51-yard field for the win!

HERE WE GO!

0:02 | Q4 | Slippery Rock 37, Kutztown 35

Kutztown will take a shot at the end zone from the 34. 

HERE WE GO!

0:25 | Q4 | Slippery Rock 37, Kutztown 35

The Rock gets in the end zone, but Chapla misses the extra point. Kutztown will have 25 seconds to try and win. 

Snorweah punches in the score for The Rock. 

0:39 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 31

Rivers III to Wynn, Jr. on a huge third-down conversion. Slippery Rock in the red zone.

2:06 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 31

The Rock holds Kutztown and will take over at the 35 with two time outs remaining. 

3:58 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 31

The Rock can't find the end zone, but the PSAC's all-time leading scorer makes it a four-point ballgame with a 31-yard field goal. Kutztown has to get some offense going as it has disappeared since the early thrid quarter. 

4:48 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 28

Wilford Clark takes down DiGalbo on third down forcing a big Kutztown punt. Jermaine Wynn, Jr spins out and takes the punt return 59 yards to the Kutztown 11! The Rock is back in business.

6:27 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 28

Slippery Rock goes for it on 4th and 10. Rivers III escapes some pretty intense pressure, pulls it down and takes off, but fumbles as he nears the first down marker. Kutztown takes over late in the fourth quarter!

What a finish here at Andre Reed Stadium.

10:22 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 28

A strong three-and-out stand by Slippery Rock. Kutztown gets off a pretty solid punt considering the wind is blasting in its face. Here comes The Rock looking to tie it starting on their own 30.

11:52 | Q4 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 28

It took them quite a few tries, but The Rock finds the end zone. A big 30-yard pass from Rivers to Max Maciejewski got The Rock to the five. Kutztown's D stepped up and stuffed The Rock on four downs, but a pass interference call on fourth gave The Rock new life.

Rivers III gets his fourth TD pass of the day, hooking up with DeSean Dinkins on a two-yard fade. We have a one-score ballgame, folks!

END Q3 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 21

Slippery Rock's defense responds by holding Kutztown and forcing a turnover on downs. RIvers III has The Rock on the go, looking for a much-needed score on the 35-yard line of Kutztown to open the fourth.

6:43 | Q3 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 21

After a great 32-yard catch by Litwin, Rivers makes an ill-advised deep throw into the wind and Kutztown comes up with its 17th interception of the year. The ball definitely got hung up in the wind. Wonder if Rivers was pressing down two scores? 

8:20 | Q3 | Kutztown 35, Slippery Rock 21

Option. DiGalbo. Touchdown.

The Kutztown offense looks like a fine-tuned machine and Slippery Rock is struggling to find an answer. Whether it's through the air or on the ground, the Golden Bears are spread and making it hard to stop their momentum. Slippery Rock needs a score here, but there is too much time left for Kutztown to take the pedal off the metal. 

10:22 | Q3 | Kutztown 28, Slippery Rock 21

The zone running scheme is giving Slippery Rock absolute fits. Neblett explodes for a 45-yard run, his longest of the day and now has 143 rushing yards on the day. After holding Slippery Rock on the opening drive of the second half, Kutztown is back in business, in the red zone. 

15:00 | Q3 | Kutztown 28, Slippery Rock 21

Welcome back to football. If you weren't here, we had a 49-point first half. Kutztown kicks it out of the end zone into the wind. Slippery Rock will start with the ball, looking to tie the game on the opening drive of the second half.

Here we go.

HALFTIME | Kutztown 28, Slippery Rock 21

This has been an explosive first half. Both teams have 16 first downs and have combined for 525 yards (Kutztown with 285 and The Rock with 240). Time of possession has been pretty even and there have been no turnovers. It's a game of catch-me-if-you-can and whichever team has the ball last, may be the victory.

Looks like my 35-31 final score prediction was a bit shy!

STAT LEADERS

Kutztown Slippery Rock
Collin DiGalbo, QB: 167 pass, 2 TD Roland Rivers III, QB: 128 pass, 3 TD
Abdul-Hassan Neblett, RB: 90 rush, 41 rec., 2 TD Henry Litwin, WR: 49 yards, 2 TD
Jack Pilkerton, TE: 80 yards, 2 TD Jermaine Wynn, Jr., WR: 47 yards, 1 TD

HALFTIME | Kutztown 28, Slippery Rock 21

What a first half. Rivers takes a knee and lets this shootout come to a halt for a little bit. Slippery Rock gets the ball coming out in the second half. 

Stats coming, stay tuned!

0:27 | Q2 | Kutztown 28, Slippery Rock 21

Un...be...lievable!

The Golden Bears score with just 27 ticks on the clock, a beautiful grab by Pilkerton, tip-toeing the backline of the end zone to get his feet in and make the grab. What a half by Pilkerton: 80 yards and two touchdowns.

Don't go anywhere! There are 27 seconds left in this crazy half!

1:30 | Q2 | Kutztown 21, Slippery Rock 21

We need to make sure we have Roland Rivers III's name in every and any conversation about the best quarterbacks in DII football. He showed a lot on that drive: pulled it in and ran when no one was open and then connected with Jermaine Wynn, Jr. for his 11th touchdown catch of the year. 

Rivers has 128 yards passing and three touchdowns in the first half. 

6:30 | Q2 | Kutztown 21, Slippery Rock 14

This is insane. We went from exchanging punts to exchanging touchdowns. Neblett scores his second touchdown of the game and is having a PSAC championship game to remember. The redshirt-senior already has 90 yards rushing and 18 yards receiving with a ton of time left in the first half. 

9:02 | Q2 | Kutztown 14, Slippery Rock 14

The Rock is rolling! Rivers III doing Rivers III things. He connects with Henry Litwin for the tying score. It's Rivers III 38th touchdown pass of the season and Litwin's 16th TD catch, a program record! We got an all-out back-and-forth battle here! How will Kutztown respond?

13:39 | Q2 | Kutztown 14, Slippery Rock 7

Here's the shootout we expected. Neblett punches it in from the two-yard line, his tenth of the year. The score was set up from another big pass play from DiGalbo to Pilkerton. The two connected on a 34-yard hook up to get into the red zone. DiGalbo is now 6-for-7 for 95 yards to start the day.

0:57 | Q1 | 7-7

Now we're cookin'!

Roland Rivers III leads a quick 66-yard drive down the field and it ends with an all-too-familiar sight. Rivers III connects with Henry Litwin for the 15th time in 2019, this one for 22-yards. We're tied in Kutztown!

3:13 | Q1 | Kutztown, 7-0

TOUCHDOWN GOLDEN BEARS!

DiGalbo leads a nice drive down the field, with some nice, hard running from Nesbitt mixed in. DiGalbo connects with Jack Pilkerton for eight yards for the first score of the game. Let's see how The Rock answers.

6:22 | Q1 | 0-0
The teams exchange punts again. Neither Roland Rivers III or Collin DiGalbo look comfortable under center just yet. Golden Bears running back Abdul-Hassan Neblett does, however. He springs his second big run of the day, going 21 yards of first down.

10:10 | Q1 | 0-0
Each team has had a drive and not much offense is going on just yet. You have to expect the frigid temperatures are playing a big part. Chapla pins Kutztown inside its own ten to start its second drive. 

15:00 | Q1 | 0-0
Here... we... go!

Slippery Rock wins the toss and defers to the second half. Jake Chapla ‚ÄĒ the PSAC's all-time leading scorer ‚ÄĒ is set to kick. We already see how strong the wind is as the ball is blown off the tee as Chapla went to kick. Golden Bears start at their own 25.¬†¬†

11:30 a.m.
It's football weather at Andre Reed Stadium. Here's the forecast a little before kickoff.

The PSAC championship game

8:45 a.m.
Good morning PSAC football fans. It's game day and all there is at stake is the PSAC Championship and the likely No. 1 seed in Super Region One. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. ET from Andre Reed Stadium. Be sure to check back right here as we'll be bringing you score updates, stats, and big-plays as they happen from pre-game to the final whistle.

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The PSAC championship game: Both teams, previewed

Both teams are 10-0 for the first time in program history, making them two of the 11 remaining undefeated teams in DII football. Both teams are nationally ranked as well with Slippery Rock at No. 8 and Kutztown sitting at No. 13 in the latest AFCA poll. It gets even tighter in the Super Region One rankings: Kutztown is No. 1 and Slippery Rock is No. 2. The No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the DII football championship could rest on the outcome of the PSAC championship game.

SELECTION SHOW: How to watch and what to know for Saturday

The Rock owns a 10-3 record over Kutztown in a series that began in 1984. Slippery Rock has a 5-2 record at Andre Reed Stadium, but the Golden Bears won the last meeting 42-34 in 2017 on their home turf.

Slippery Rock vs. Kutztown: By the numbers

There should be plenty of offense in this one. Slippery Rock is led by one of the best quarterbacks in DII football. Roland Rivers III is fifth in DII in passing with 3,107 yards, but he's equally dangerous on the ground, leading the team in rushing and a total of 42 touchdowns. He has a dangerous duo at receiver in Henry Litwin (963 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Jermaine Wynn, Jr (919 yards, 10 touchdowns) who could both be over 1,000 by the end of Saturday.

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The Golden Bears quarterback Collin DiGalbo didn't play last weekend but has still has had a stellar season with 24 touchdowns through the air and nine more on the ground. Abdul-Hassan Neblett has been a difference-maker on the ground with 798 yards rushing and nine touchdowns this year but has been hot of late with 389 yards and six touchdowns the last three weeks. 

Chad Kuhn leads the charge on defense with a Slippery Rock-best 10.5 sacks for the second-best sack attack in the conference. Shawn Turber-Ortiz, Nick Palmer and Ahkee Cox-Cowan have 11 combined interceptions for Kutztown's pass defense and hope to be a menace to Rivers on Saturday. 

Slippery Rock Kutztown
47.9 points/game 37.7 points/game
19.7 points allowed/ game 15.7 points allowed/game
499 yards/game 445.2 yards/game
287.8 yards allowed/game 291.1 yards allowed/game

Slippery Rock vs. Kutztown, predicted

It's close but Slippery Rock has the ever-so-slight edge. Rivers III took over at quarterback in Week 3 of last season and The Rock hasn't lost a regular-season game in the PSAC since. He led the No. 7-seeded team in Super Region One to back-to-back upsets in the DII football championship, and nearly led The Rock to an upset over No. 1 and undefeated Notre Dame (OH), losing 21-17.

The only thing Slippery Rock doesn't have over that run is a PSAC championship. The Rock lost to West Chester 33-10 in last year's rendition and I just think that motivates them to eliminate the errors and lock down a victory on Saturday. But Kutztown is too good to make this a runaway. It could very well come down to which team has the ball last.

Prediction: Slippery Rock 35, Kutztown 31

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