That’s a wrap, folks – or is it?
The 2019 Division II football regular season is coming to an end, but the IUP football team is on the cusp of a spot in the postseason.
The No. 18 Crimson Hawks are ending the 2019 regular season on the road against the Shippensburg Raiders.
The Raiders are 4–6 on the year but have dominated in the PSAC East. Shippensburg’s wins have exclusively come from its PSAC East matchups, and the Raiders have been on a hot streak, winning three out of their last four matchups.
IUP will have to be on the lookout for the Raiders’ quarterback Brycen Mussina. The Shippensburg QB has been on fire the past two weeks, throwing for 700 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Hawks are coming off a superb 35–6 win against Edinboro. IUP did not allow a single touchdown from the Fighting Scots.
The Crimson Hawks had a strong showing from quarterback Quinton Maxwell (senior, business) last week as well. Maxwell picked apart the Edinboro secondary, throwing for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
“We trusted each other and counted on the next guy to do his job,” offensive lineman Ken Roman (senior, communications media) said. “They were focused on stopping the run with eight-man boxes and left our wideouts with one-on-one matchups. That’s a matchup we will take every time.”
The Hawks are on the hunt for their 10th win of the season and are looking to lock up their bid to the playoffs. IUP is currently ranked fourth in the regional rankings behind No. 3 Notre Dame of Ohio.
The top seven teams in the rankings will make the playoffs, and the 2–4 seeds will host their first matchup. If the Hawks can win their final matchup against the Raiders, they will be all but guaranteed a first-round playoff match at home. The official selection show will take place Sunday.
IUP has had a long record of success against the Raiders dating back to 1988. The Crimson Hawks are 19–8–1 against Shippensburg in this period of time.
This matchup last year did not end favorably for the Hawks, as Shippensburg took the game 45–21 and diminished any hopes for the IUP to make the playoffs.
“We’re taking every game seriously on going 1–0,” Roman said. “We can’t take any team lightly despite what their record says.”
IUP knows all too well that this squad has the ability to win on any given Saturday. Despite their 4–6 record, the Hawks will look to give the Raiders their all this weekend.
As one door closes, another one opens. The regular season may be coming to an end, but the Hawks have full control of their playoff aspirations and will look to finish the job with a win.