IUP finally gets the better of Cal
By Bill West
Published: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, 3:39 p.m.
While the rest of the football world knows the 20 yards in front of a goal line as a red zone, Indiana (Pa.)'s defensive players consider that last bit of space their Crimson proving ground.
The Crimson Hawks, who entered Saturday's fifth annual “Coal Bowl” against California (Pa.) allowing the fewest points in NCAA Division II, kept their cool in the face of early Vulcan scoring opportunities and ultimately forced five interceptions, including two in their end zone, during a 20-7 win.
No. 7 IUP (4-0, 2-0), the defending PSAC West champion, snapped a six-game losing streak against California (3-1, 1-1).
“I made mention of us owing them in the pregame locker room speech, and that was the first time I'd mentioned anything,” IUP coach Curt Cignetti said.
The Crimson Hawks allowed just 230 yards of offense, and after shutting out their past two opponents, their defense did not surrender a point, as Cal scored its touchdown on an interception return.
Cal drove to IUP's 6-yard line twice in the first half and came away empty-handed, as defensive back Terrell Holloway snagged two of his three interceptions in the Crimson Hawks' end zone for touchbacks.
“Our (attitude) when teams get into the red zone is that it's hard to score down here,” said Holloway, a Penn Hills grad. “You can't throw the deep ball. And we're going to stop the run. So we're going to make you throw the passes that you have to make.”
Holloway's interception that didn't result in a touchback set up the only scoring drive of the first half. He dove to catch a tipped pass at California's 43. Five plays later, De'Antwan Williams scored from the 3 with 7:10 left in the first quarter.
“The thing about the first one was I would've got in a lot of trouble, because I blitzed on my own,” Holloway said. “But I'm just playing football. ... When I saw the ball, I just wanted it.”
The Crimson Hawks, who gained just 111 yards in the first half, marched 75 yards on their opening possession of the third quarter. Mike Box completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Terrill Barnes to cap a drive that put IUP ahead by two scores.
California, whose three first-half turnovers wasted 149 yards of offense in the first half, ended its scoring drought when defensive back Dewey McDonald returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown — his second in as many weeks — with 3:40 left in the third quarter cut IUP's lead to 14-7.
The Vulcans switched their quarterback from Cody Schroeder to James Harris just before halftime.
“We thought that we had to do something to try to spark the team, and you can't change teams, you can only change quarterbacks,” California coach Mike Kellar said. “The last thing we want to do is create quarterback controversies, but we're trying to make yards and get wins.”
Harris had few opportunities, though, as the Vulcans ran just five plays in the third quarter.
Williams' second touchdown run of the day, an 8-yarder with 4:18 to play, gave the IUP a comfortable margin.
Williams, named the game's Most Valuable Player, finished with 38 rushes for 172 yards.
“We came in here at halftime, and every leader stressed that we weren't going to let up,” Holloway said. “We said we're going to go out there like it's 0-0.”
Note: IUP has named the field within George P. Miller Stadium as Frank Cignetti Field. Cignetti served as IUP head coach from 1986 to 2006 with a record of 182-50-1.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- District college notebook: Pitt sophomore infielder Wolsonovich fuels upset of UNC
- WPIAL flavor fuels Point Park women
- Norwin graduates boost Pitt-Greensburg hockey team
- Campus clippings: Zalewski back to old self at Kent State
- St. Vincent falls in Division III tournament