The 2014 season is underway for teams in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and a pair of local teams answered some big questions they had heading into the season in impressive wins.
– I will start with Waynesburg University, who began the season with a 33-0 win over Muskingum University.
Everyone knows the Yellow Jackets will be able to throw the football, and quarterback Carter Hill got off to a good start with a 13-for-22 performance for 248 yards and two total touchdowns.
But as good as the offense is, many questioned the Waynesburg defense that returned only five starters from last season.
Needless to say they passed their first test. Not only did they pitch a shutout, their first at home since 2004, but Waynesburg allowed only 278 yards of offense and forced a pair of turnovers.
The big star was sophomore defensive back Josh Mundell as the Carmichaels, Pa. native intercepted two passes, one of which he returned 41 yards for a touchdown, forced a fumble, and made three solo tackles.
The Yellow Jackets return to action on Saturday, Sept. 13, when they host PAC rival Saint Vincent.
– Now to the Washington & Jefferson Presidents, who had a few more questions to answer coming into the season, most notably could Mike Sirianni’s team successfully replace quarterback Matt Bliss, running back Dion Wiegand and All-American wide receiver Alex Baroffio.
W&J answered all of the above with a resounding YES!
Sophomore quarterback Pete Coughlin (Upper St. Clair) ran for 106 yards and running back Ryan Ruffing rushed for 150 yards and five touchdowns as the Presidents opened the 2014 with a 51-17 win over Wooster at Cameron Stadium.
Coughlin also made some big plays in the passing game as the likes of Cody Stumpf, Max Creighan, Michael Giampole and Eric Scott all proved to be reliable targets in the passing game.
W&J returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 13 with a 7 p.m. kick-off at Westminster.
– In other local PAC news, Carnegie Mellon had a bye after suffering a season-opening 30-0 setback at Case Western Reserve in the 29th Academic Bowl / PAC Kickoff Classic. The Tartans will travel to W&J on September 20.
Saint Vincent travels to Waynesburg for a non-conference contest between the two PAC schools. SVC was shutout by No. 10 John Carroll in week one.
PAC Players of the Week
Offense- Ryan Ruffing, W&J
As mentioned before, the Thomas Jefferson grad had a huge day. Ruffing rushed 37 times for 150 yards and found the end zone five times to help W&J rally from a 17-7 deficit and earn a 51-17 season-opening win against Wooster.
He scored on runs of nine, one, seven, two and five yards, respectively, and finished one touchdown shy of W&J’s single-game record of six rushing scores, set in 1905 by Roy Hupp against Ohio University. He also tied former W&J running back Wiegand’s five touchdown effort against Grove City in 2013 for the second-most single-game rushing scores in PAC history.
Defense- Josh Mundell, Waynesburg
Mundell enjoyed a terrific debut for Waynesburg in Saturday’s 33-0 win over Muskingum. The native of nearby Carmichaels, Pa. intercepted two passes, one of which he returned 41 yards for a touchdown, forced a fumble, and made three solo tackles. His efforts helped Waynesburg secure its first home shutout since the 2004 season.
Special Teams- Nate Cannon, Geneva
Cannon returned a Frostburg State punt 95 yards for a score in the third quarter of Geneva’s 24-19 loss to the Bobcats Saturday evening. The return for a touchdown started a run of 19-straight points by the Golden Tornadoes in the second half. With the score Cannon broke Geneva’s punt return record, set by Ron Michel in 1997 with an 89-yarder against Walsh. Defensively, Cannon also pulled in his first career interception and added three tackles.
Photo Credit: W&J