Cal U, IUP in battle of unbeatens
California University rolled through its first three games unbeaten, but running that streak to four in a row Saturday will be a test.
That's because the Vulcans (3-0, 1-0) travel to Indiana to take on seventh ranked IUP (3-0, 1-0) in the fifth annual Coal Bowl.
The 86th all-time meeting between the two schools kicks off at 1 p.m.
IUP, a preseason choice to win the PSAC West, is coming off a 26-0 win over Seton Hill and has pitched shutouts in its last two games and have the top-ranked scoring defense in the country.
Cal U, meanwhile, defeated Edinboro, 20-7, last week in a game that saw the Vulcans force five turnovers.
The veteran-laden Crimson Hawks are led by 16 returning starters from a PSAC championship team that was 12-2 a year ago.
Running back De'Antwan Williams has rushed for 216 yards and three touchdowns while Erik Finkles has 192 yards and has scored six TDs.
IUP's two-headed running game has been impressive as Finkles averages 6.9 yards per carry while Williams, who rushed for over 1,300 yards last season, averages a healthy 5.3 yards per carry.
Quarterback Mike Box has thrown for 652 yards and five TDs, but also has thrown four interceptions. His top receiver is Terrill Barnes, who has 12 receptions for 291 yards and a TD.
The Vulcans will hope to continue its aerial success behind quarterback Cody Schroeder, who has completed 60 of 99 passes for 725 yards and seven TDs.
Mike Williams (15 receptions, 211 yards, 2 TDs) and Trey Johnson (15-165, 1 TD) have been Schroeder's favorite targets.
Ringgold grad Derrick Fiore, who has rushed for 91 yards on 33 carries, scored his first TD last week against Edinboro.
IUP leads the all-time series, 59-24, 2, but the Vulcans have won seven of the last eight meetings.
CAL CLIPS: Both of Cal's top running backs, Jeff Knox Jr. and Fiore, are converted defensive backs ... Schroeder ranks fifth in the PSAC with a 60.5 completion percentage ... While IUP is ranked first nationally in scoring defense, Cal U is No. 2 at 12.0 points per game ... Cal U's Aaron Terry became the first Vulcan freshman to intercept two passes in a game last week since 2006.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.