Air assault from IUP gives them a senior day win over 'Boro, 35-6

Category:  Sports
Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 11:07 AM
Air assault from IUP gives them a senior day win over 'Boro, 35-6  by Chase Rowland
The Fighting Scots will travel to Bloomsburg for their final game of the season on Nov. 16. | Photo: Jamie Heinrich

Deep ball helps #19 IUP soar to 35 -6 victory at home on senior day.

The Edinboro Fighting Scots football team looked to surprise a powerhouse on Saturday, going toe to toe with No. 19 Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Edinboro was also in search of their third straight win, coming off a 27-20 win over Clarion in their final homestand of the season. The Crimson Hawks, however, had other plans, proving to be too much for a ‘Boro team that’s struggled a majority of the season, winning 35-6.

Levi Becker would make his 4th career start at quarterback for the Fighting Scots, hoping to lead his offense to an upset and add another win to the stat line. His opposing signal caller, Quinten Maxwell, had run a high-powered offense that was putting up 40 points a game against opponents.

The Fighting Scots found themselves in the red zone early, ready to strike. On first down, Becker let a pass fly deep in the end zone, looking for Ta’Nauz Gregory. It would be intercepted, though, by Crimson Hawk defensive back Harrison Dreher.

On the second play of the drive following the pick, and with three minutes remaining in the first quarter, Maxwell’s drive would also be cut short. The quarterback’s pass on 2nd and 8 was picked off by ‘Boro defensive back Josh Boyd at IUP’s 28-yard line.

The offense, now with momentum on its side and great field position, couldn’t break through on the next drive, stopped by IUP’s big men up front. The three-and-out ­— runs by CJ Reyes-Diggs and Alvin Lara, and an incompletion — led to kicker Vicente Arriagada being called on from 46 yards for a field goal. Despite a great snap and hold, the wind tailed the football wide left and ‘Boro came up short once again.

After another IUP three-and-out, punter Dylan Grubbs pinned the Fighting Scots deep in their own end when the ball was touched at the 13-yard line. Edinboro then marched its way down the field methodically with a mix of quick passes and strong runs straight up the middle. Becker made crucial throws to Khalil Jackson for a total of 55 yards through the air. Eventually, Edinboro had another chance in the red zone, calling on Arriagada again.

He’d redeem himself for the earlier miss, his head not hanging low for long as he nailed a chip shot from 30 yards out. Edinboro led 3-0.

The Crimson Hawks would not stay down for long, cruising past the Fighting Scots with 14 unanswered points to conclude the first half. Their first score was the result of an 8-play, 60-yard drive, with Maxwell controlling the possession through the air, finding receiver Dom McNeil for a 17-yard gain. He later hooked up with Jo Jo Gause for 34 yards.

The Crimson Hawks were inside the 5-yard line, and they kept their foot on the gas pedal. A pass interference penalty on defensive back Aaron Rogers prevented a touchdown, but it put the Hawks at the goal line. The ‘Boro defense would then catch a break after a false start on IUP pushed them back 5 yards. But the opponent was left unfazed, Maxwell finding McNeil in the back of the end zone for the first touchdown of the game.

Edinboro started the next drive at their 10-yard line and were forced off the field on a three-and-out. Corey Badaracco would be called on to punt but experienced trouble, the combination of wind and pressure from the defensive line altering the play. His punt sailed out of bounds for a total of 26 yards.

IUP made Edinboro pay once again with a short field in front of them. A quick 3-play 40-yard drive ended in success, mostly because of wide receiver Duane Brown. Brown hauled in a pass from Maxwell for 37 yards, putting the Crimson Hawks in the red zone. He would then run the wildcat and power his way to the end zone, giving IUP an insurance score with four minutes left to go in the half.

Edinboro’s first drive of the second half didn’t go as planned. Becker launched a ball deep down the near sideline for Gregory on 1st-and-10 at the 38-yard line. The problem? IUP defensive back Nazir Streater was on his hip the entire time. The battle between receiver and defender was won when Streater came down with the football after a classic jump ball. The Crimson Hawks took over at their 20-yard line.

IUP would not be out of the woods after the turnover, though, finding out that ‘Boro’s defense is not a unit to take lightly. After converting on 3rd-and-6 early in the drive, Maxwell dropped back to pass on first down. He hit McNeil for 6 yards at IUP’s 39-yard line, but defensive back Josh Boyd landed a hit that jarred the ball from him. Safety Brandon Anderson picked up the fumble recovery.

Edinboro took over at IUP’s 37-yard line. The offense put together a productive drive, as ‘Boro was in the red zone once again after Becker found Gregory for 18 yards. The drive stalled, though, and Arriagada came in to attempt a 31-yard field goal, playing his part perfectly. The Fighting Scots were in striking distance to compete with one of the top teams in the polls, down 14-6 with 11:20 left in the third quarter.

After a couple empty possessions, Edinboro punted the ball away. Badaracco stood at the Edinboro 22 and got off a booming kick to return man Brown, who was waiting on the other side of midfield. He’d take over from there, making numerous defenders miss with his feet and being left in the open field after excellent blocking. Brown muscled his way inside the 10 and was taken down at the 8-yard line after an impressive 57-yard return.

The Crimson Hawks had great field position and little trouble finding the end zone. Maxwell rifled the ball on 3rd-and-4, completing an excellent slant route by Gause where he was left wide open for a touchdown. IUP’s lead grew to 21-6. There would be more scoring to follow as the Crimson Hawks put up 21 unanswered points en route to victory.

Edinboro, sensing time was running out, looked to put a touchdown on the board at the end of the third quarter. They gambled on 4th-and-3 at the Crimson Hawks’ 41-yard line and failed to convert after an incomplete pass was batted down.

The Crimson Hawks began the 4th quarter with a bang, scoring quickly and decisively. The long ball paid dividends once again, as Maxwell went with the hot hand and heaved the ball down the far sideline to Gause. Beating his man, he turned on the afterburners, crossing the pylon for the second time that afternoon. The drive went 3 plays for 59 yards and IUP led 28-6 with 14 minutes left in the game.

Becker finished the day 13-35, good for 146 yards. He threw 3 interceptions.

Despite his first rough outing, Becker spoke highly of his team mates. “Really our run game was working all day, I just missed some opportunities in the passing game that could have gave us a lot of momentum moving foward in the later stages of the game.

Maxwell went 19-32 and controlled the game through the air, throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns.

Lara and Reyes-Diggs accounted for 17 rushing attempts each. Lara led the ground attack with 61 yards; Reyes-Diggs was right behind him with 54.
IUP’s Samir Bullock carried 9 times for only 32 yards, as Edinboro did an excellent job shutting down the run game.

Jackson had 3 receptions for a total of 54 yards. Gregory pulled in 5 receptions for 49 yards.

Arriagada nailed two field goals. He tied the single season record for made field goals with 15.

With the loss, Edinboro fell to 3-7 overall (3-4 in PSAC). IUP extended their impressive campaign, moving to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the PSAC.
Edinboro will play its final game of the year on Saturday, as they travel to Bloomsburg for a noon start time. The two teams clash once again in the season finale after Bloomsburg stole a victory at Sox Harrison Stadium in Week 2, trumping Edinboro 24-21.

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