SRU earns No. 23 ranking in final D2Football.com national poll
LIBERTY, Mo. – Slippery Rock University was ranked 23rd in the final D2Football.com national poll released Monday.
The Rock, who finished the season with a 9-3 win-loss record, had the fifth-highest ranking among the 49 teams that competed for the Super Region 1 championship. Region champion West Chester (13-2) led the pack with a No. 8 ranking, followed by Shepherd (11-1) at No. 13, Winston-Salem State (10-2) at No. 15, Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference champion Bloomsburg (10-2) at No. 16 and The Rock.
SRU was ranked 20th in D2Football.com’s final regular-season poll before losing its final two games. The Rock wound up at the No. 21 team in the American Football Coaches Association Division II Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.
The final two Rock losses came at the hands of teams ranked above them in both the D2Football.com and AFCA final poll. SRU dropped a 42-38 decision in the PSAC championship game at Bloomsburg (No. 16 in AFCA final poll) and fell by a 27-20 score at Winston-Salem State (No. 14 in AFCA poll) in first-round action of the NCAA Division II national playoffs.
The NCAA postseason appearance was The Rock’s first since 1999. The Green and White won the PSAC-Western Division championship for the second time in the last three seasons before coming up short in the conference championship game.
The Rock’s 2013 squad featured 18 seniors, headlined by second-team All-America performers Quindell Dean (linebacker) and James McCombie (punter) and PSAC-West Offensive Athlete of the Year Nigel Barksdale (quarterback).
Rock head coach George Mihalik will welcome back eight offensive starters and five defensive starters for the 2014 season. Included in that list are all-region offensive tackle Cory Tucker, first-team All-PSAC-West safety Austin Miele and second-team all-conference performers Teddy Blakeman (running back), Jaimire Dutrieuille (wide receiver), Shamar Greene (running back), Julian Harrell (tight end) and Matt Peacock (defensive end).
The Rock’s 2014 schedule features an Oct. 18 date with Mercyhurst at “The Big House,” Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
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