For the first time in program history, Kutztown will compete in the NCAA Division II Football Playoffs National Quarterfinals.
I haven’t gotten this far, but my Golden Bears opponents are pretty familiar.
Top-seeded Kutztown will face second-seeded Shepherd in a clash between two teams from the eastern Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference at Andre Reed Stadium on Saturday at 12:05 pm.
“This is the most talented team we face all year round, all year round,” said Jim Clements, coach of the Golden Bears. “They are loaded.”
Shepherd joined PSAC in 2019, and since then Kutztown has won both conferences.
“It’s easier for us because we know what they’re doing,” says Clements. “We know a little more about their staff, the kids know more about their staff.”
The Golden Bears (11-1) defeated the Rams 37-29 victory on September 25, giving the Shepherd (12-1) the only defeat. This is because the two teams made a total of 894 yards of attacks.
“We played well in the game, and they did,” said Eric Nickel, a quarterback in Kutztown. “We know they are a very good team.”
No. 8 Rams averages 529 yards and 47.6 points per game, both leading the nation. Shepherd is ranked second in the country by passing the attack at 350.9 yards per game.
On the other hand, No. The 12 Golden Bears (11-1) scored only 13.33 points per game, leading PSAC and ranking 8th in the nation. Kutztown is the 10th largest country in total defense.
“It’s a very difficult team, so you’ll need at least 10 points to participate in this game,” Clements said. “We have to do a really good job of limiting their property.”
The Golden Bears will defeat New Haven 10-7 in the second round. Clements said he believes his team needs to improve their attacks in order to succeed against Rams.
“We had to do a better job with run games,” he said. “You can do a better job to protect your quarterback.”
Rams defeated Notre Dame, Ohio 38-34 in the second round with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Tysonba Agent to Josh Gontalek with 1.9 seconds remaining. They defeated Findlay 38-31 in the first round.
Junior Bagent is the PSAC East Offensive Player of the Year and one of the eight finalists of the Harlon Hill Trophy awarded to the Division II Player of the Year. He completed 69% of the passes with 4,503 yards and 51 touchdowns with 11 pass cuts.
He completed a 42-of-51 pass with 398 yards in one intercept and four touchdowns when he lost to KU in September.
Kutztown will play three consecutive home games, starting with a victory in the PSAC Championship Game with Slippery Rock on November 13. The Golden Bears are 7-0 at Andre Reed Stadium this year.
“I hope we have a good show this week,” Clements said of the crowd at home. “Hopefully our students will come out and support us.”
Kutztown and Shepherd are two of the three PSAC teams in the 2021 NCAA Division II Playoffs. The slippery rocks were eliminated in the first round of November 20th.
According to Clements, the strength of the Golden Bears meeting schedule has helped prepare for the playoffs.
“It’s a very competitive league,” he said. “You are going to play some really big games. You can play a really good soccer team.”
Kutztown aims to further solidify its position as a top team at the meeting with Rams. According to Nickel, the Golden Bears have a little extra motivation this week.
“We feel we have a really strong meeting, as all PSAC teams do,” he said. “Being the last team to stand up from the meeting is very important for both teams this Saturday.”
Kutztown University Football Meets Shepherd in NCAA Division II Quarterfinals
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