2010 Season: 10-2 (6-1 PSAC West, T-1st; NCAA Division II Super Region 1 Quarterfinalist)
2010 Overall Offensive Rank: 3rd
2010 Overall Defensive Rank: 4th
Returning Letterwinners: 45
Returning Starters (Offense/Defense): 7/4
2011 Predicted Finish (PSAC Pre-Season Poll): 1st PSAC West
Key games to watch: October 22, vs. Mercyhurst; October 29, at Indiana (Pa.)
The Vulcans string of consecutive PSAC West titles ended at four following a mid-season 31-21 loss to eventual PSAC champion Mercyhurst, although it was the sixth consecutive season that Cal captured at least a share of the PSAC West. Only West Chester (1969-1974) has ever had a similar streak in PSAC history.
While Cal earned their sixth consecutive NCAA playoff berth, Bloomsburg ended the season in the Mon Valley with a 28-26 win at Adamson Stadium. That in and of itself is enough to call last season a failure among the Vulcan faithful.
With Josh Portis trying to earn a berth on the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, the quarterback position is up for grabs. Peter Lalich, a redshirt junior who began his collegiate career with Virginia in 2007 before transferring to Oregon State in 2009 only to redshirt for the Beavers, is in his second year with the Cal program. He will be making his first appearance in a collegiate game since September 6, 2008.
Senior WR Chedrick Cherry led the PSAC with 13 touchdown receptions among his 56 receptions – nearly one touchdown for every four passes caught – and is expected to be Lalich’s leading target. Junior Lamont Smith racked up 1,166 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground for the Vulcans last season.
The league’s top-rated defense, for the most part, is in tact, as the Vulcans boast eight returning starters, seven of them seniors. Among the returning starters are the team’s two leading tacklers, LB Brett Diamond, and S Erik Harris. Of Harris’ partners in the defensive backfield – Shawn Anderson, Patrick Swearinger and Rontez Miles – all but Miles (a junior) are seniors. Meanwhile, Diamond is Cal’s lone returning linebacker.
The Vulcans defensive front line, also an all senior group, returns with another season under their belts. Marcus Cook, Kevin Crawford and Thomas Mulabah were key reason why Cal held their opponents to a league-best 78.4 yards rushing last season.
Cal opens the season at home tonight with a huge showdown against St. Cloud (Minn.), who is ranked 13th in the AFCA Division II pre-season poll; the Vulcans are ranked 12th in the AFCA poll.
Sept. 1 vs. St. Cloud State
Sept. 10 vs. C.W. Post
Sept. 15 at East Stroudsburg
Sept. 24 vs. Clarion
Oct. 1 at Lock Haven
Oct. 8 vs. Gannon
Oct. 15 at Slippery Rock
Oct. 22 vs. Mercyhurst
Oct. 29 at Indiana (Pa.)
Nov. 5 vs. Edinboro
Nov. 12 at Cheyney