By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the best opening weekend match-ups on the local college football calendar will be in Chester on Saturday. A couple of outstanding Division III programs will get together as Widener University hosts Rowan University.

Both teams are coming off 6-4 seasons and both teams have starting quarterbacks with experience.

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Senior Alex Krivda threw for 1,464 yards and 14 touchdowns last season for Widener. (credit: Tom Weishaar)

Senior Alex Krivda threw for 1,464 yards and 14 touchdowns last season for Widener.
(credit: Tom Weishaar)

“We have (senior) Alex Krivda back,” Widener head coach Mike Kelly tells KYW Newsradio. “He started our last five games last year and in two of those five games he threw for over 400 yards in each. So we feel good about him. I think he fits in well to our system. He’s done a tremendous job in the off-season of really extending his knowledge base and understanding what he’s seeing as he hits his back foot. He’s releasing the ball well.”

Listen to the entire interview with Widener head coach Mike Kelly

 

Rowan’s offense will be led by junior quarterback Dante Pinckney.

“Another year under his belt for Dante,” Rowan head coach Jay Accorsi tells KYW Newsradio. “We’ve done some things differently in the pass game, we’ve done some things a little differently in the run game. He’s had a really good camp.”

Listen to the entire interview with Rowan head coach Jay Accorsi

 

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Accorsi had a big hole to fill at one key offensive position.

“Running back we knew was going to be a battle,” Accorsi says. “We had the luxury of a really good player there in Wit Marcelin the last couple of years, but now we’re really deep and have a lot of good players there.”

Widener’s defense has graduated some really good players over the last couple of seasons. Kelly talks about what he sees with this unit in 2016.

“I feel good about our secondary,” Kelly says. “We’ve got some length at the corner position with kids that can run and push and pester with long arms down the field. (Senior linebacker) Steve Gozur in the middle, a kid out of North Penn, really is just such a solid football player and so smart. He really kind of holds the whole thing together.”

Accorsi is really high on his defensive secondary.

“When three of your four starters (are) seniors,” Accorsi says, “Two safeties, all conference players, your fourth player, your junior is an All-Conference player. So we’re really experienced. It’s going to allow us to do a lot of things on the back end that we haven’t been able to do in a while. I think that will help the front seven a little bit as we grow and mature a little bit up front.”

Both teams are looking forward to kicking off the season against a quality opponent.

“Just tremendous respect for what Jay Accorsi does over there at Rowan and the way they handle their program,” Kelly says. “This is as good of an opening week match as there is in Division III football.”

“I think it’s a great rivalry game,” Accorsi says. “It’s close by, so we don’t have to travel (far). It’s a good test for both of us, to see where we are early in the season.”

Rowan and Widener will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

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You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.