IUP narrowly loses to Bloomsburg Thursday night
Published: Friday, September 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, September 16, 2011 12:09
The Crimson Hawks fell short in a comeback attempt against eighth ranked Bloomsburg, 20-16.
"We had them on the ropes," IUP Head Coach Curt Cignetti said.
The Crimson Hawks started the game with a drive that lasted 8:44, but only managed to get three points out of it.
The drive was kept alive by quarterback Pat Smith's ability to run the ball.
Kicker Brett Ullman put the Hawks ahead after a 26-yard field goal.
IUP smothered the well-known Bloomsburg rushing attack that averages more than 300 yards per game. IUP held the Huskies to a mere 76 yards on the ground — the first time they have been held for less then 100 yards since Oct. 31, 2009.
"We've got nothing to be ashamed of," Cignetti said. "Thought we played really good on defense taking away a couple of plays."
Because the ground game was out of commission, the Huskies successfully took to the air starting on their first drive.
Quarterback Pat Carey was able to connect on a 51-yard pass to Kyle Fisher to set up Bloomsburg in IUP territory. Bloomsburg was forced into a field goal from kicker Dan Fisher from 23 yards out tie up the game at 3.
Carey finished the game completing nine of 18 for 235 yards and two touchdowns.
The most exciting play of the first half happened on the ensuing kickoff when Jerrell McFadden returned the kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown that put the Hawks in front, 10-3.
Throughout the first half IUP was able to hold he Bloomsburg offense, but couldn't capitalize on the good field position.
Bloomsburg eventually broke through as Carey found wide receiver Ryan Dickerson on a 42 -yard pass to tie the game at 10-10.
After a missed field goal by Ullman, Bloomsburg started to drive, but they were stopped by safety Mark Jackson's interception, which set up the Hawks before halftime, but they again were not able to add points.
In the second half Bloomsburg came out trying to exploit the Crimson Hawks secondary again by running a lot of bootleg passes.
Midway through the third quarter the Hawks were flagged for a personal foul call on a horse collar tackle at the sideline.
The call put Bloomsburg in the position to add more points.
The Hawks were able to keep them out of the end zone, but Fisher came on again to put Bloomsburg up 13-10.
The Hawks had some problems in the second half maintaining possession of the football and were forced to punt the ball back to Bloomsburg. Late in the third quarter Bloomsburg was able to find the end zone again when Carey found wide receiver Kyle Fisher for a seven-yard touchdown to go up 20-10.
"Got to give Bloomsburg credit," Cignetti said. "They're a good football team. They know how to win, they've been doing it a long time. We put ourselves in position to win and couldn't capitalize on our opportunities."
The Crimson Hawks were able to answer when they received the ball and were able to drive down the field. Running back James Johnson punched one in on fourth down to score and put the deficit to four at 20-16.
However, on the extra point, holder Grant Shallock couldn't handle the snap and it messed up the timing for Ullman and he missed the extra point. The Hawks had another botched snap on a field goal late in the fourth quarter that would have put them only down one.
"Grant Schallock hasn't dropped a snap in practice, not one," Cignetti said. "He has been perfect. Perfect as a holder in every practice."
The Hawks defense was able to give the ball back to the offense two times late into the fourth quarter, but the offense couldn't move the ball down the field.
With under two minutes to go in regulation, Smith tried find receiver Pat Brewer on fourth and 15, but it went through his hands and that was the end of the game.
Smith struggled during the game and finished 19 of 38 for 169 yards, he was sacked four times and had one interception.
"I think it's a great learning tool for our kids," Cignetti said. "The value of execution because they played really hard, they played really physical. I'm proud of the way they played. I told them I was proud of them. I was proud of the way they played. I told them they lost to really good team, but I also told them when they looked at the tape they'd probably be sick tomorrow because they'll see all of the opportunities we had."
Although Cignetti believes it will be a great chance for the team to learn from its mistakes, Jackson will take very little positives from a loss.
"We still beat ourselves," he said. "I guess you can say that's a positive. We tried to finish. Everyone played hard. There's no doubt in my mind everyone played their heart out. I guess that's one positive we could take from it, but we're not about moral victories. We just got to get it corrected and next time we got to finish."