Monday, August 8, 2016

Bloomsburg University Football Picked Third In PSAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Image courtesy of Bloomsburg University Athletics
PSAC East Poll Release | PSAC West Poll Release | PSAC Football Preseason Notes | PSAC Composite Schedule #GoHuskies
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – The Bloomsburg University football team has been predicted to finish third in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Eastern Division according to the preseason coaches' poll that was released on Monday at the conference's annual media day held at Kutztown University.

The Huskies, who finished in a tie for second place last season, were picked to finish behind preseason favorite, West Chester, and second place Shippensburg in the poll. The Golden Rams, last season's Eastern Division Champion, earned six of the eight first-place votes while the Raiders captured one first-place nod. Kutztown was selected to finish fourth while East Stroudsburg, which earned the other first-place vote, was predicted fifth. Lock Haven, Millersville, and Cheyney rounded out the poll.

In the Western Division, IUP captured five first-place votes and was picked first. Last season's PSAC Champion, Slippery Rock, earned two first-place nods and was picked second. California, Clarion, and Gannon rounded out the top five with Mercyhurst, Seton Hill, and Edinboro capturing spots six through eight.

Bloomsburg finished 7-4 overall and 5-2 in league play last season. It marked the 17th consecutive season that the Huskies have won at least seven games in a season – the second-longest such streak in Division II. Only Division I's Florida State (31) and Virginia Tech (23), Division II's Northwest Missouri State (19), and Division III's Mount Union (27) have longer streaks in all of college football. Boise State and Oklahoma have streaks equal to that of Bloomsburg's.

The Huskies return four starters on offense, including senior running back Lawrence Elliott Jr. (Utica, N.Y./Thomas R. Proctor), who led the PSAC in rushing yards per game a year ago (131.5) and was a First Team All-PSAC East selection. Also returning on offense is redshirt senior offensive lineman John Garland(Hatfield, Pa./North Penn), who was named a Preseason Third Team All-American by Football Gameplan.

Defensively, Bloomsburg has six returning starters led by senior defensive linemen Joe Wetty(Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) (All-PSAC East First Team) and Ezra Ranco (Collegeville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) (All-PSAC East Second Team). The duo combined for 13.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for a loss last season as both earned All-Conference accolades at season's end. Also back are senior safety Jerrin Toomey (York, Pa./West York), who led the Huskies in tackles a year ago (59), and senior linebacker Andrew Harris (Bethlehem, Pa./Whitehall).

Harris, Toomey, Wetty, and senior running back Joe Parsnik (Wilkes-Barre, Pa./Coughlin) will serve as the team captains in 2016.

Head coach Paul Darragh has a 28-8 record in his first three seasons as the head coach at Bloomsburg after replacing legendary coach, Danny Hale. It is the second-best three-year start to a coaching career in program history (Robert Redman went 23-3 from 1947-1949). With 17 straight winning seasons and 17 consecutive years of seven wins or more, Bloomsburg is in position to keep both streaks intact and make a return trip to the NCAA playoffs. But, according to Darragh, the start is the key.

"We felt good coming out of spring," said Darragh. "Going into camp, if we have everybody we hope to have and stay healthy, I like the personality of the team, the leadership, and the talent level. Hopefully, we can get them going in the right direction and have them ready for that first game."

That first game, as it has been for the past four years, will be against Stonehill on Friday, September 2.

1. West Chester (6)
2. Shippensburg (1)
4. Kutztown
5. East Stroudsburg (1)
6. Lock Haven
7. Millersville
8. Cheyney

1. IUP (5)
2. Slippery Rock (2)
3. California
4. Clarion (1)
5. Gannon
6. Mercyhurst
7. Seton Hill
8. Edinboro

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