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IUP falls to Edinboro

In a wild game on a dreary day, No. 22 IUP fell to visiting Edinboro 36-30 in a Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West matchup at Frank Cignetti Field.

The loss was the second in a row for the Crimson Hawks, who fell to 5-2 overall on the year and 2-2 in the PSAC West.

Edinboro has now won three straight, moving to 4-3 overall and an even 2-2 mark in the division.

It was a back and forth contest for most of the afternoon and featured one tie and four lead changes, all in the first half of play.

The game also featured three kickoffs that went out-of-bounds, three interceptions, four blocked kicks and five total fumbles.

The Crimson Hawks got on the board on their third possession of the opening quarter, getting a 41-yard field goal off the foot of Brett Ullman (Baltimore, MD/Perry Hall). After a three-and-out on Edinboro's ensuing possession, the Crimson Hawks went 54 yards on eight plays, before a 43-yard field goal from Ullman put IUP on top 6-0 at the 1:47 mark of the first quarter. That drive featured a 32-yard end-around by Terrill Barnes (Gettysburg/Gettysburg), which took IUP into Fighting Scots territory at the 28-yard line.

Edinboro's fortunes turned on its next drive, converting a fourth down pass on a fake punt right before a 26-yard touchdown pass from Jon Girvin to Jordan Williams. The extra point attempt was blocked by Akeem Smith (Philadelphia/Frankford), keeping the score at 6-6.

After an IUP three-and-out, Matt Spegal (Bethel Park/Bethel Park)'s punt was blocked by Devin Ghafoor and returned 19 yards by Darren Massey for an Edinboro touchdown. The extra point was made this time, putting the Fighting Scots on top 13-6.

A botched squib attempt in addition to an offsides call on Edinboro on the kickoff gave IUP the ball at the Fighting Scots' 46-yard line. It took the Crimson Hawks just four plays to even things up as De'Antwan Williams (Woodbridge, VA/Woodbridge) ran up the middle practically untouched for a 17-yard score. Ullman's extra-point made it a 13-13 game just 2:29 into the second.

Three more scores came before the half, including a 75-yard catch-and-run from Girvin to Massey; a two-yard run by Williams following a blocked punt by Terrell Holloway (Penn Hills/Penn Hills); and a 39-yard field goal by Edinboro's T.J. Hardy as the Fighting Scots took a 22-20 lead into the break.

Towards the end of the second quarter, Barnes picked up an Edinboro punt at his own 47-yard line and returned it 52 yards, but fumbled inside the one-yard line and out of bounds. It was ruled that the ball had went out of bounds through the endzone, a controversial call that gave Edinboro the ball back with 1:34 on the clock.

Edinboro took a two-score lead at 36-20 less than eight minutes into the third quarter with a one-yard run by Jeremy Donaldson and a 33-yard scoring strike from Girvin to Massey.

The Crimson Hawks made a quarterback change following Edinboro's second score as redshirt freshman Logan Weaver (Indiana/Indiana) replaced Box behind center. He led IUP on a seven-play, 34-yard scoring drive, as Ullman nailed another field goal from 43 yards out to help the Crimson Hawks pull to within 13 at 36-23.

However, Weaver would be ineffective overall, going 1-for-4 for 17 yards and an interception before Box would re-enter. On his first possession back on the field, though, the Crimson Hawks gambled on fourth-and-eight at their own 31-yard line and Box was sacked, giving Edinboro the ball back with 10:03 left in the game.

The Fighting Scots gained just five yards on their three plays and attempted a field goal to get back on top by 16. The 34-yard kick would get blocked by the middle of IUP's line and the Crimson Hawks took over at their own 24-yard line with 7:50 remaining.

A mix of passes by Box and runs by Williams got the Crimson Hawks down to the Edinboro 18 before Box hooked up with Barnes for a scoring pass to help get IUP to within six points with just over five minutes remaining.

IUP had one final chance at the win, taking over possession with 2:47 on the clock. However, Box was picked off on just the second play of the drive, ending the threat and giving Edinboro the victory.

The Fighting Scots outgained IUP 410-298 on the day, including 284 yards through the air. Girvin finished 14-of-27 for 262 yards and three touchdowns while Massey caught six for 117 yards and two scores. Donaldson ran 24 times for 79 yards and a touchdown.

Williams finished with 29 carries for 129 and two touchdown runs. Barnes caught seven passes for 82 yards and a score and also ran the ball twice for 41 yards. Box went 10-of-22 for 95 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Carl Fleming (Reisterstown, MD/Franklin) had 12 total tackles for IUP while Dorian Lane (Pittsburgh/Woodland Hills) collected 10 and Shane Meisner (Greensburg/Hempfield ) had nine with a sack.

It's the first two-game losing streak for the Crimson Hawks under head coach Curt Cignetti since 2011, when IUP fell to Bloomsburg (20-16) and Slippery Rock (20-6) in back-to-back weeks.

The Crimson Hawks hit the road for the next two weeks, first traveling to Erie to take on Mercyhurst next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times