The IUP Crimson Hawks, representing Indiana University of Pennsylvania in college football, play at the NCAA Division II level. With their home games at George P. Miller Stadium, the 2022 season was a mostly positive affair. The team started taking wins straight out of the gate.
While many avid fans like Stephen Troese Jr. followed last season like a hawk (a particularly reddish one), others can get the low down with this highlight overview.
IUP Takes the Win in Their First Game of the Season
The first game of the season proved victorious for the Crimson Hawks as they managed to score a come-from-behind win in their match against the East Stroudsburg Warriors. The final field goal scored by freshman Nick Andrasi came in the last few seconds of the last quarter, clinching the team a 38 to 35 victory.
It was undoubtedly one of the most emotional games for the team, who played mere days after their former coach, Frank Cignetti Sr., passed away.
However, the team threw their grief into the game, using it as motivation and winning in Cignetti’s honor.
IUP Advances After Beating Ashland
As the season continued, the Crimson Hawks came up against Ashland on their home turf. The game turned out to be another glorious display of the team’s talent as they defended their field with a 19-13 victory in the NCAA DII Playoffs.
With this particular win under their belts, IUP became one of a mere eight teams standing in the playoffs.
Connor Kelly skyrocketed the moment in the third quarter with a scoop and score return after facing a blocked punt from Raunya Mitchell.
Max Sexton powered through two interceptions, scoring touchdown passes in the first half, finishing with 142 yards through the air and the team’s rushing attack reaching 172 yards.
Also in the first half, Duane Brown and Hilton Ridley got receiving touchdowns.
As for Adam Houser, he had a heavy workload of 33 carriers, racking up 125 yards and outpacing Ashland in the running game, with Drew DiNunzio-Biss and Naszhir Taylor posting nine tackles each.
It was a fantastic display of talent and continued the Crimson Hawks’ theme of impeccable time of possession, having the ball for almost 38 minutes.
During the second half, the Crimson Hawks came through the other team’s unusual punting formation, blocking the ball for Kelly to score a 25-yard return.
They held the ball for more than seven minutes in the final quarter and took their pass rush to all-new heights as the game drew to a close.
Despite a Mostly Positive Season, IUP Ends with an NCAA Tournament Loss
With all that positivity throughout the season, the team was undoubtedly hoping for the same all the way to the end. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be, with Shepherd rolling to a 48-13 victory in the quarterfinals.
This ended the Crimson Hawks’ season earlier than the team and its fans had hoped, but they are already looking toward their next seasons with eyes set on the championship.