Sant Francis's Pregame Notes

Saint Francis, which lost to VMI and Marist to open the season, is looking to reverse its fortunes Saturday evening when the Red Flash visit Rooney Field for their 35th meeting with the Duquesne Dukes and the teams' first as fellow members of the Northeast Conference.

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2008 NOTES

Red Flash linebacker Scott Lewis finished 4th in the nation in tackles per game with 12.6... Lewis was also named to the 2008 Preseason NEC All-Conference team

THE SCHEDULE

The Red Flash will play an increased schedule of 11 games in 2008, beginning with a 1:30 p.m. game at Virginia Military Institute. The schedule, which has 5 home games and 6 road games, should benefit the team as most of their success last year was on the road. NEC newcomer Bryant University will be the final game of the season on Nov. 22 at DeGol Field.

WHO'S TAKING THE SNAPS

Junior George Little will return at quarterback for a second season. The Duquesne, Pa. native threw for 1,928 yards and 16 touchdowns last year, both of which appear in the SFU Single-Season All-Time rankings. There will be stiff competition between Sr. Matt Davis and So. Colton Sipe to see who will back up Little.

KICKIN' IT

The Red Flash will look to fill the void left at kicker with freshman Zak Campbell. Campbell will be aided by back-up Bobby Fuller.

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Defensive end Randy Kellman was a late addition to the Red Flash team this summer. The 6'6". 270 lb. London, England, native played for coach David Holder at Celebration High School in Florida before red-shirting his freshman year at Iowa State. An all-county and all-district honoree, his explosiveness and tenacity will bolster the Red Flash defense.

2008 Season Honors

Sophomore Linebacker Scott Lewis (Portage, Pa./Bishop McCort) has been named to the 2008 All- NEC Preseason team. Lewis, who will also serve as a team captain, was a 2007 Sports Network Mid-Major & Independent All-American. He was also the 2007 ECAC Rookie-of-the-Year, the NEC Defensive Rookieof- the-Year, and was named to the All- Northeast Conference First Team Defense.

Lucky Number Seven

Though some members of the coaching staff seem young, all bring a wealth of knowledge to the Red Flash program and experience to the table. Head coach Dave Opfar has been with the Red Flash for seven seasons, as has assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Darnel Richardson. AJ Anderson (defensive line) and Jay Roberts (wide receivers) are entering their sixth season, and Kevin Rock (offensive coordinator) is entering his fifth season with the Red Flash. Though Michael Craig (linebackers) and Ryan Faraci (offensive line) are only in their second and third seasons as part of the coaching staff, but both have four years under their belt as Red Flash players. Quarterbacks coach Ralph del Sardo is in his third year with the team, and running backs coach Joe Thomas is the rookie of the staff but also brings four years of Red Flash playing experience.

Numero Uno

The Red Flash scored their first points of the season against Marist on Sept. 13 after being shut out at VMI the week before. The first score of the season was a 25-yard field goal from freshman kicker Zak Campbell. The Flash's first touchdown was a 33-yard George Little pass caught in the end zone by wide receiver Antoine Rivera.

Let The Records Show...

Senior wide receiver Antoine Rivera (Willingboro, N.J./Willingboro) had 5 receptions against Marist and for a total of 103 career receptions. Rivera currently ranks 4th on the Red Flash's all-time list for receptions. His 2 touchdowns against Marist moved him into a 3-way tie for 3rd on the all-time list for touchdowns.

Nowhere To Go But Up

Both teams are still looking for the first wins of the season. The Red Flash were shut out by VMI in week 1, and fell to Marist in week 2. The Dukes lost to Bucknell on Sept. 6 and did not play last week.

Conference Play

This is the first Northeast Conference match up for both teams. It is also the first time the two will meet as NEC foes, though they have a 34 game history. The Dukes formerly belonged to the MAAC and are participating in their first season as a member of the NEC.

What's In a Name?

When referring to Saint Francis University in print media, please do not abbreviate the word "Saint." In other forms of media, "Saint Francis," "SFU" and "Red Flash" are acceptable.

Playoff System

As a result of the NCAA Board of Directors' approval of a new budget that allows for the expansion of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision post-season bracket, the Northeast Conference will gain automatic access into the Division I Football Championship beginning in 2010. NEC Football is also eligible for automatic qualification into the championship bracket during the 2008 and 2009 seasons if its champion meets specifications of the bridge program.

Currently, the playoff bracket grants eight FCS leagues an automatic qualifier while awarding eight additional schools with atlarge bids. The expanded format maintains the 1-to-1 ratio of automatic qualifiers and at-large teams. In addition to the NEC, the Big South, which will be a championship eligible conference by 2010, will gain automatic access.

The NEC's automatic access could come sooner than 2010 if its champion meets each of three specified criteria. The Football Championship Committee has determined to award a guaranteed at-large position to any conference champion team that: 1) accrues at least eight Division I victories, 2) wins a minimum of two non-conference games against Division I teams from a league that has earned an automatic berth in that given year, and 3) ranks 16th or higher in an average of the last regular season media, coaches and/or computer polls.

Injury Report

Scott Lewis (Linebacker) - probable (hand)
George Little (Quarterback) - probable (shoulder)
Antoine Rivera (Wide Receiver) - doubtful (knee)


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