From IUP Sports Information
De'Antwan Williams ran for 186 yards and a touchdown and the IUP defense intercepted two passes as the Crimson Hawks got back on track with a 28-6 win at Mercyhurst on Saturday at Tullio Field.
It was a season-high output for Williams, who carried the ball 30 times on an overcast and windy day in Erie.
It was the first time since Sept. 13, 2008 that Mercyhurst did not score a touchdown (24-0 loss at Bloomsburg). It was also the first time Mercyhurst did not score a touchdown in a home game since Sept. 20, 2003 – a 26-3 loss to Saginaw Valley State.
IUP improves to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West, ending its two-game losing streak. Mercyhurst fell to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the division.
The Crimson Hawks scored on their first two drives game to take a 14-0 lead. Quarterback Mike Box took one in from one yard out to open the scoring, capping off an eight-play, 45-yard drive. Erik Finklea got IUP's second score, also a one-yard run, following a 47-yard drive.
The scoring drives were set up by an IUP defense that allowed just 15 yards to the Lakers in their first two drives. Mercyhurst went for it on fourth-and-one on the opening drive of the game, but an incompletion was forced by a rush from Larry Gooden to give IUP great position. The Lakers went three-and-out on their next possession, but a 16-yard punt set up the Crimson Hawks again.
The Lakers did manage to get on the board in the first quarter, getting a 25-yard field goal from Steven Wakefield. The score followed a 10-play, 67-yard drive that stalled on IUP's eight-yard line.
The Crimson Hawks answered with a seven-play, 68-yard drive, as Williams ripped off a 25-yard rushing touchdown to help give IUP a 21-3 lead with 13:21 to go in the half.
IUP's defense came up big again on Mercyhurst's next two drives. Mike Meriwether, Jr. picked off an Anthony Vendemia pass at the IUP 30-yard line to end the Lakers' threat. Mercyhurst would get excellent field position at the IUP 49 yard line but Terrell Holloway got into the action on the very first play with his fourth pick of the season.
The Lakers did get into field goal range late in the second quarter as Wakefield connected from 27 yards out. IUP went into the break with a 21-6 lead.
The second half featured five punts, four failed fourth down conversions and one fumble as neither team was able to get any momentum.
The Crimson Hawks tacked on a late score when Box carried it in again from a yard out to help give IUP the 22-point lead. IUP started with good field position at the Mercyhurst 43-yard line and were helped by a 20-yard run by Williams on the second play of the drive.
Box finished 10-of-19 for 103 yards and no turnovers. Terrill Barnes had six catches for 71 yards while Sean McVay added three for 27.
Akeem Smith returned to the lineup for the IUP defense and had a team-high 10 tackles on the day. Carl Fleming added eight and Dorian Lane had seven, including two behind the line of scrimmage. Shane Meisner had IUP's only sack on the day.
Mercyhurst quarterbacks Vendemia and Alec Swartz combined to go 7-for-27 with just 58 yards. Brandon Brown-Dukes, the top rusher in the PSAC West, was held to just 56 yards on 15 carries. Allen Jones III ran for 65 yards on 13 carries.
The Crimson Hawks are on the road again next week as they travel to Clarion to play the Golden Eagles. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.