Grove City 31, W&J 7

October 10, 1998--
Forget the fluke stuff.

Grove City defeated perennial powerhouse Washington & Jefferson for the second year in a row Saturday, 31-7, putting itself in position to claim its second straight Presidents' Athletic Conference title with a win next Saturday, October 17, at Waynesburg College.  The Wolverines, winners of four straight, improved to 4-2 overall, 3-0 in the PAC, while W&J, with victories over Allegheny College and Gannon University in 1998, fell to 2-3 overall, 0-1 in the PAC.

Grove City's nationally-ranked rushing attack ripped the Presidents for 442 yards and five touchdowns on the ground with sophomore sensation R.J. Bowers (West Middlesex, PA/West Middlesex) accounting for 288 yards on a school-record 38 carries and three TDs.

While the Presidents keyed on Bowers, sophomore quarterback Steve Lacinski (New Kensington, PA/Valley) ran for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Lacinski’s first score of the game came on the game’s second play from scrimmage. Lacinski kept the ball on an option play and ran untouched up the right sideline 71 yards for the score.

Grove City added to its lead with 11 ticks left in the first half. While attempting to eat up the clock by running the ball, the Wolverines found themselves ahead at the intermission, 13-0, when Bowers dashed 74 yards to paydirt on a fullback trap.

While the offense created big plays, the Wolverine defense kept W&J in check. The Presidents were limited to three yards per play in the first half and were forced to punt five times.

Following Jason Barr’s 43-yard run which chipped Grove City’s lead to 13-7, the two squads traded punts. On first-and-ten at the Wolverine 30, Lacinski faked a hand-off to Bowers and ran a bootleg to the left. Lacinski, sprung by Garret Schmidt’s (Irwin, PA/Penn Trafford) downfield block, scampered into the end zone and extended the Wolverines' lead to 19-7.

Grove City’s defense then stymied the Presidents' offense. Early in the fourth quarter, outside linebacker Ed Fox (Middletown, PA/Middletown) sacked W&J signal-caller Brad O’Malley for an 11-yard loss. Later in the stanza, O’Malley floated a pass into the flat that inside linebacker Corey Sarosy (Fairport Harbor, OH/Perry) intercepted and returned 35 yards to the W&J 8. On third-and-goal from the one, Bowers bulled into the end zone, stretching the lead to 25-7.

Grove City locked up the win when Bowers stormed 70 yards with 1:17 left in the contest. Bowers, the nation's leading rusher, upped his per-game rushing average to 232.8 yards per contest. He needs just 90 yards to become the school’s all-time leading rusher, and 93 yards to set a new single-season record. Presently, the 6-1, 230-pound phenom has 1,397 yards rushing this season and 2,636 for his career.

Grove City and Waynesburg are slated for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff next Saturday.  The Yellow Jackets improved to 2-3 overall, 2-0 in the PAC, with a 42-0 win at Thiel.


Final Score
Grove City 31, Washington & Jefferson 7

OFFENSIVE: The Entire Offensive Line ... LT Steve Coutris (Sr., 6-2/260, Poland, OH/Poland), LG Andy Jacks (So., 6-3/240, Bridgeville, PA/South Fayette), C Shawn Kelly (So., 6-3/300, Madison, OH/Madison), RG Oscar Fish (Jr., 6-0, 230, Bowerston, OH/Conotton Valley), RT Chris Mullins (Jr., 6-2/260, Munroe Falls, OH/Stow), OL John Coleman (Sr., 6-0/245, Perry, OH/Perry), TE Kyle Millet (So., 6-4/245, Erie, PA/Iroquois) and TE Andrew LeVake (So., 6-2/205, Faribault, MN/Faribault) ... helped the Wolverines rush for 442 yards against the W&J defense, which came in allowing just 131 yards rushing per game ... Coach Smith, "This is an acknowledgement of their play this week and the weeks leading up to W&J.  Our rushing statistics are outstanding and those numbers hinge on our line play."

DEFENSIVE: CB Brock McCullough (So., 6-0/185, Spruce, PA/Purchase Line) and CB Jeremy Bowers (Jr., 5-9/170, Hartville, OH/Lake) ... each intercepted a pass which led to a Wolverine touchdown ... combined for eight tackles and four pass breakups ... Coach Smith, "Jeremy and Brock made key plays against a great passing attack.  They really helped keep W&J out of the end zone."

SPECIAL TEAMS: Matt Paylo (Jr., 5-10/190, Baden/North Allegheny) and Rob Hall (So., 5-10/175, Butler, PA/Knoch).

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