Players and Gannon University fans who attended the Knights football game Saturday night got a feel of Erie’s finest weather. Just one touchdown short of a victorious weekend against Clarion University, the Knights fought long and hard against Mother Nature and their opposition before suffering a 13-7 loss to Clarion.
The Knights came out in full force and got their first and only touchdown of the game only 58 seconds into the first half. Tashawn Sneed, a junior defensive back, intercepted a Clarion pass and returned it for a 62-yard touchdown.
With 2 minutes, 10 seconds left in the first quarter, Clarion tied the game with an 11-yard touchdown bringing the game to 7-7 going into the second half. Later, Clarion quarterback Ben Fiscus connected with Nick Perry to score a 17–yard touchdown pass; bringing the score to 13-7 in favor of the Eagles.
Gannon continued to threaten the Eagles’ end-zone to begin the second half, but was denied again by Clarion’s stingy defensive. Gannon attempted a fake a field goal but junior quarterback Gabe Hernandez was stuffed two yards shy of the first-down marker. Gannon threatened in Clarion territory two more times throughout the second half but was unsuccessful.
Gannon struggled on the ground and through the air. In the rain, junior running back Jansen Jones led Gannon’s rushing attack with 59 yards on 19 carries. Freshman quarterback Liam Nadler went 16–of–38 for 79 yards while completing 6 of those passes to sophomore wide receiver Abraham Ocasio.
Seniors Khayree Connors-McChristian and Jon Petrigac contributed 11 tackles each. Sophomore linebacker Luke Rankie finished the game with a total of nine tackles, one sack and three tackles for a loss while sophomore defensive back Ta’Von Bailey added seven stops and four pass deflections.
Coach Brad Rzyczycki said the weather had an effect.
“You have to be more careful with the football,” he said. “For a no-huddle team like us, we have to take into account the wind when passing the ball.”
The Knights have an overall record of 1-3 and are 0-2 in the Pennsylvania State Atlantic Conference.
Sophomore linebacker Luke Rankie said the Knights are only concerned about playing on the field.
“I don’t think anyone is thinking about the 1-3 record right now,” he said. “We really only have to control the things we’re able to and not worry about all the other things right now.”
The Gannon Knights have a game this weekend on 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Bloomsburg University.
“Offensively, we know they like to run the ball and have a few talented backs,” Rankie said. “But we know they can pass the ball too.” As Rzyczycki comments that “we’re still a work in progress”
Gannon will attempt to improve on its mistakes against Clarion when the Knights hit the road to take on a dangerous Bloomsburg team Saturday.
Bloomsberg is 4-0 overall and carry a 2-0 record in the PSAC East. The Huskies are ranked No. 10 in the country in this week’s NCAA Division II rankings.