IUP football concluded the 2021 season this past weekend.
The Crimson Hawks traveled to West Chester, Pa., on Saturday for an out-of-conference season finale matchup.
Indiana won in comeback fashion following a slow start.
Neither team put points on the board in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Crimson Hawks drew first blood with a 25-yard field goal from Tyler Luther (freshman, computer science).
West Chester then responded with two back-to-back touchdown runs in short order to go along with a field goal in the closing seconds of the first half.
The Golden Rams led 17-3 at halftime.
Head coach Paul Tortorella and his staff made the necessary adjustments at the break and found success in the second half of play.
Defensive units of both teams controlled the third quarter as no points were scored.
Things then got entertaining.
IUP football proceeded to storm back with four fourth quarter touchdowns while surrendering just seven additional points to West Chester.
The first touchdown came on a 74-yard rocket from quarterback Harry Woodbery (senior, business administration) which was hauled in by Irvin Charles (senior, unclassified).
The electric senior duo played in their final career game this past Saturday.
West Chester would then respond with a nine-yard touchdown run to take the lead, 24-10.
That would be the last time the Golden Rams saw the end zone.
Woodbery then threw back-to-back touchdown passes to both Qashah Carter (junior, pre-athletic training) and Duane Brown (redshirt junior, sports administration).
Dayjure Stewart (freshman, unclassified) completed the offensive comeback with a two-yard touchdown run.
Woodbery finished with 237 yards and three touchdowns in 13 completions.
Charles was the leading receiver with 98 yards and a touchdown.
After struggling early, the IUP defense settled down and controlled West Chester’s offense.
Linebackers Melachi Newell (graduate student, senior transfer) and Connor Kelly (junior, marketing) played a major role in things, both finishing with eight tackles a piece.
The win was a positive ending to a relatively disappointing 2021 IUP football season.
At the midway point of the year, IUP football had appeared to be major contenders following a convincing win against a top-ranked Slippery Rock team where the Hawks showed no mercy.
A Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) game berth and possibly even playoffs certainly appeared to be in their future.
A collection of things then proceeded to go wrong for Indiana that resulted in a late October two-game losing skid that the team ultimately never recovered from.
The back-to-back losses to California University of Pennsylvania and a struggling Edinboro team removed IUP from PSAC and playoff contention.
You may not see the Crimson Hawks play in the postseason this year, but the 2021 season produced some great moments to look back on.
IUP beat an elite rival in Slippery Rock on the road, was 4-0 in homecoming games and beat the two teams that ultimately ended up playing for the PSAC Championship in Kutztown and Slippery Rock.
The Golden Bears defeated the Rock this past weekend 38-32 to win the conference title.
It will be a long winter for IUP football.
The next time you see them take the field, the Hawks will look very different as the team will lose many key starters to graduation this off season.
See you next year.