The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 13, 2012

Flash back on the road

The Tribune-Democrat

LORETTO — The St. Francis football team returns to a familiar place today – the road.

The Red Flash, coming off a 10-3 victory over Robert Morris, play their fifth road game in seven weeks against defending Northeast Conference champion Albany at noon.

Albany leads the all-time series, 13-0, and St. Francis has never scored more than

21 points at University Field.

A win gives St. Francis (3-3, 2-1) its most victories in a season since 1992, when the Red Flash went 8-2-1. Since joining the NEC in 1996, St. Francis has never won more than three conference games in a season (2005, 2007).

One reason for the Red Flash’s resurgence is a nationally ranked running game.

St. Francis ranks 11th in NCAA Division II and first in the conference with an average of 238.8 rushing yards per game.

Keoin Wade leads the team with 560 yards and a 5.6 average and quarterback John Kelly leads all NEC players at his position in rushing with 419 yards.

Another reason is a vastly improved defense.

Through six games last year, St. Francis was allowing an average of 45.0 points per game. This year, teams are scoring 29.8 against St. Francis, which has played nationally ranked James Madison and Towson.

Against Robert Morris last week, the Red Flash finished with two quarterback sacks, an interception, recovered a fumble and turned the Colonials over on downs three times. The defensive effort helped

St. Francis overcome a three fumbles on offense.

They’ll need a similar effort against Albany (5-1, 3-0), which ranks first in the conference in total offense and scoring offense. The Great Danes are in their final NEC season before joining the Colonial Athletic Association.

Tailback Drew Smith is averaging 100.8 yards per game.

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