INDIANA, PA – Harvie Tuck (Akron, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Montay Green (Pittsburgh/Fox Chapel) each rushed for over 100 yards for the Crimson Hawks as IUP accumulated 310 yards on the ground in a season-opening 33-6 victory over visiting Southern Connecticut on Saturday afternoon at George P. Miller Stadium.
Tuck totaled 185 yards on 28 carries and Green 101 on 20, as each added a rushing touchdown. It was the first time since 2010 that IUP had two rushers go for 100 yards, when Tuck and Teddy Blakeman (Penn Hills/Penn Hills) went for 132 and 118 yards, respectively, against West Chester.
The IUP defense was equally impressive, allowing the Owls to gain just 192 yards of total offense and seven first downs. Southern Connecticut was limited to 47 rushing yards on 26 attempts by the stingy IUP defense.
Both of their scores came in the first half, helping the Crimson Hawks to a 14-0 lead about midway through the second quarter.
Green bowled in from three yards out with 7:19 to go in the first to put IUP on the board first after a six play, 28-yard drive. It was the redshirt freshman’s first career score on his second carry, setting up the scoring plunge with a nine-yard carry the play before.
Two IUP possessions later Tuck would get his score, bolting in from 23 yards out with 8:53 left in the second. The drive consisted of nine plays, all runs by either Tuck or Green, spanning 65 yards in 4:37. Tuck ran five times for 47 yards on the drive while Green added 18 yards on four carries.
Southern Connecticut would respond after the Tuck score. The Owls used back-to-back 19-yard pass plays, as quarterback Jacob Jablanski hooked up with Jayson Holt and Jerome Cunningham to get down to the IUP 34. After an eight yard run by Vaughn Magee, Jablanski scrambled for 16 yards, getting pushed out of bounds by Alexander Berdahl (Ashburn, VA/Bishop O’Connell) at the 10. Two plays later he connected with Carlton Staggars for a six-yard score, but the ensuing extra point attempt was blocked by Carl Thornton (Beaver Falls/Beaver Falls), keeping the IUP advantage at 14-6 with 5:43 left before the half.
After exchanging possessions, the Crimson Hawks defense forced a three-and-out deep in Southern Connecticut territory, gaining possession again at the Owls 49 yard line with 12 seconds to go.
Two straight completed sideline passes to Pat Brewer (Coatesville/Coatesville) and Anthony Meriwether (Brook Park, OH/Midpark) got IUP down to the 25-yard line where kicker Brett Ullman (Baltimore, MD/Perry Hall) would connect on a 42-yard field goal as time expired to give the Crimson Hawks a 17-6 halftime advantage.
The Crimson Hawks continued their dominance on the ground to start the second half, as Tuck rumbled for runs of nine, nine, seven and nine to open up the third quarter. After more running from Tuck and Green got the ball down to the Southern Connecticut three-yard line, quarterback Pat Smith (Hollidaysburg/Hollidaysburg) got into the action as he ran in a naked boot untouched for IUP’s third touchdown of the game. The 73-yard drive took 13 plays to complete and 6:17 off the clock.
The next Owls drive ended when Greg Meisner (Greensburg/Hempfield ) sacked backup quarterback Bobby Lippincott, forcing a punt that was downed on the IUP four-yard line, forcing a long field for the Crimson Hawks.
IUP would not be deterred, with a 21-yard jaunt from Tuck and a 10-yarder from Green helped put the Crimson Hawks at their own 49-yard line, setting up a Smith to Tyler Dummermuth (New Philadelphia, OH/New Philadelphia) crossing pass in which Dummermuth raced 51 yards down the right sideline for another score. The touchdown and ensuing extra point by Ullman put IUP ahead 31-6 with 2:34 left in the third.
Two exchanged possessions later, another potential IUP scoring drive was stalled when Southern Connecticut forced a fumble at its own six-yard line, giving the Owls the ball at their own five. After a four-yard run by J.W. Forte, Lippincott couldn’t handle a shotgun snap, fumbling it into the end zone where Jerrell McFadden (Manassas, VA/Osbourn) and Meisner were there to cover him up for the two-point safety, making it a 33-6 lead and wrapping up the scoring.
The win was the seven-straight season-opening win for the Crimson Hawks, including a pair of wins over Southern Connecticut in 2009 and 2010. The victory also gave IUP a 7-0 lead in the all-time series with the Owls, which dates back to 1984.
Magee finished with 28 yards on 14 carries to lead the ground game for Southern Connecticut. Staggars tallied three catches for 46 yards and the touchdown. Jablanski went 9-of-12 for 62 yards and a touchdown while Lippincott went 5-of-10 for 83 yards and a pick.
That interception came courtesy of James Griffin (Wallingford/Strath Haven), who picked off a late fourth quarter pass and ran it back 37 yards.
De’Antwan Williams (Woodbridge, VA/Woodbridge) added 18 yards on four carries in his debut for the Crimson Hawks to add to the rushing total. Smith finished 11-of-16 for 141 and a touchdown, spreading it around to seven different receivers, led by three catches from Dom Maggio (Pittsburgh/Central Catholic). Dummermuth, Terrill Barnes (Gettysburg/Gettysburg) and Brewer all added two catches apiece.
Smith also handled punting chores, kicking three times for a 37.0 average, including one downed inside the 20.
Defensively for IUP, Meisner and McFadden each tallied five total tackles, while Meisner had 2.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack. Berdahl, Carl Fleming (Reisterstown, MD/Franklin) and Akeem Smith (Philadelphia/Frankford) each had four tackles while Errol Brewster (Harlem, NY/Springbrook (MD)) knocked down two passes at the line of scrimmage.
The Crimson Hawks return to the field next Saturday when they travel to Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) East opponent Cheyney for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.