Rock football ranked No. 9 by Sporting News
May 26, 2016
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Sporting News has ranked Slippery Rock University No. 9 in the Division II Preseason Rankings listed in the magazine's annual college football preview issue. In addition, Rock football players Marcus Martin and Joe LoSchiavo have been named as preseason All-Americans by the magazine.
The Rock are one of five teams in Super Region One to appear in the preseason poll and are one of three teams from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. Indiana University is the highest ranked team from the region at No. 4. Shepherd, last year's national runner-up that defeated both IUP and SRU in back-to-back playoff games, is ranked No. 5.
Martin will enter his redshirt junior season this fall needing just one sack to break the all-time career sack record at SRU. The reigning PSAC Western Division and Super Region One Defensive Player of the Year, Martin opened the first two years of his career on a pace that has never been equaled at any level of college football. He has recorded 31.5 sacks in just two seasons and leads all players in the nation at 1.21 sacks per game. He was named the PSAC West and Super Region One Freshman of the Year two years ago and has so far been named to a total of eight All-America honors in his career.
He will anchor a defensive unit that returns most of its starters after leading the nation in takeaways and ranking second against the run in 2015.
LoSchiavo earns his first preseason All-America honor after a stellar junior campaign last fall in which he anchored one of the best offensive lines in the nation from the center position. LoSchiavo, who is garnering looks from professional scouts at the guard position, could see a change in position for The Rock in 2016.
He is coming off a year in which he earned multiple All-Region honors after helping The Rock to some of the best offensive numbers in the country. SRU finished the 2015 season with the highest scoring offense in the nation, averaging 45.2 points per game. The Rock had the most first downs (351) of any team in the country, the fifth best total offense in the nation at 490.3 yards per game and the 12th best rushing offense at 257.7 yards per game.
SRU's offense shattered multiple single-season school records this fall, including rushing yards (3,608), rushing attempts (741), rushing TDs (46), total offense (6,864), all-purpose yardage (8,599), scoring (633 points) and total TDs (87).
The Rock finished the 2015 season with a 12-2 overall record, matching the best in school history. SRU won its second straight PSAC overall title, its third straight PSAC West title and its fourth PSAC West title in the last five years. The team finished the year ranked No. 7 in the American Football Coaches Association's national rankings.
SRU will open the 2016 season Sept. 3 at home against the University of New Haven. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
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