Crimson Hawks quarterback Mike Box helped lead a balanced attack offensively while several defenders made big plays as 16th-ranked IUP shut down Clarion 45-0 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West football action on Saturday at George P. Miller Stadium.
It was the third shutout of the season for the Crimson Hawks, who move to 8-1 on the season and 5-1 in PSAC West play. Clarion falls to 4-4, 2-4 in the division.
The Crimson Hawks finished with 477 yards of total offense, with 272 coming through the air and another 205 on the ground. They owned the ball for an impressive 37:06, totaling 23 first downs while converting
10 of 14 third-down attempts.
The IUP defense forced Clarion to go just 2 of 11 on third downs and 1 of 4 on fourth downs, forcing three turnovers.
Marvens Toussaint had two of those turnovers, picking up two interceptions to stop a pair of Clarion drives in IUP territory.
The defense made its first big play of the day on Clarion's opening drive, stopping a Travis Day rush on fourth-and-two from the IUP 42-yard line to force a turnover on downs.
The first score for the Crimson Hawks came in the opening quarter as Box rolled out to his left and found Anthony Meriwether for a 23-yard touchdown.
The score capped off a
73-yard drive that saw Jon Sharp catch a 17-yard pass while Harvie Tuck ran for 33 yards.
It went to 14-0 in the second as Box scored again, this time using his legs as he scrambled to his left for 22 yards for a touchdown, his second of the season. That drive included another big catch by Sharp, as he hooked up with Box for 16 yards on a third-and-nine.
IUP scored again on the next drive as Brett Ullman (Baltimore, MD/Perry Hall) split the uprights on a 40-yard field goal, giving the Crimson Hawks a 17-0 lead with 3:17 left in the half.
Clarion and quarterback Ben Fiscus would start to march on the ensuing possession, connecting on passes of 15, 12 and 13 yards to advance to the IUP 29-yard line with just over a minute remaining. However an off target pass on a first down was picked off by Toussaint at the 18, ending the threat as the game went to half with that 17-0 lead.
It didn't take long for the Crimson Hawks to extend that lead in the second half, as Box fired a bullet to Terrill Barnes (Gettysburg/Gettysburg) on a short slant pattern and allowed his wideout to do the rest on a 54-yard touchdown. The play was the third of the drive as IUP took a 24-0 lead just 1:31 into the third.
Clarion would respond, however, with Day busting up the gut for a 19-yard run on the first play of the Golden Eagles next possession, followed by a 41-yard pass play from Fiscus to Jon Reid. A personal foul on IUP gave Clarion the ball at the eight-yard line but it would soon be fourth-and-goal from the five after three big plays by the Crimson Hawks defense.
Going for it on fourth, Fiscus was nearly sacked but scrambled to his left and found Anthony Becoate on the sideline just short of the end zone. The IUP defense came up with its fourth big play in a row as Jerrell McFadden (Manassas, VA/Osbourn) and Carl Fleming (Reisterstown, MD/Franklin) were right there to make the tackle at the two-yard line, again forcing a turnover on downs.
This time it was Clarion's turn to come up with a stop, as Ryan Slack recovered a Tuck fumble on the very next play, putting the Golden Eagles first-and-goal at the IUP three-yard line. After a pair of rushes and a 15-yard personal foul penalty pushed the ball back to the IUP 23, it was Toussaint's turn again as a high pass from Fiscus was picked off by the defensive back at the five-yard line, helping to preserve the shutout.
IUP turned that interception into points, putting together a 13-play, 95-yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Tuck to make the IUP lead 31-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
The very next IUP possession resulted in another touchdown, this one from backup quarterback Pat Smith as he found Pat Brewer racing down the left side for a 39-yard scoring pass to make it 38-0. Smith had stepped in for Box after the starter had his helmet knocked off on a fourth down quarterback sneak.
A 47-yard pass from Fiscus to Mike Deitrick on Clarion's next possession gave the Golden Eagles the ball at the IUP five-yard line. But on the very next play Fiscus fumbled and Terrell Washington recovered, returning the ball to the Clarion 45-yard line. Two plays later De'Antwan Williams dashed for a 43-yard touchdown, capping off the scoring for the day.
Fiscus finished 12-of-29 for 181 yards and two interceptions, netting negative-16 yards rushing. Day finished with 70 yards on 12 carries while Reid made five catches for 77 yards.
Williams ran 13 times for 99 yards and that score while Tuck added 97 yards on 25 carries. The IUP passing game was nearly perfect, as Box finished 9-of-10 for 179 yards and two touchdowns while Smith went 3-for-3 for 93 yards and a score.
Sharp caught four passes for 59 yards while Barnes finished with 77 yards on two catches and that long touchdown. Salath Williams had two receptions for 54 yards and Meriwether added two for 29.
Defensively, Carl Thornton had five tackles and a sack while McFadden had eight stops while Chris Brown and Larry Gooden each had seven.