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IUP, Slippery Rock, Carnegie Mellon Continue Postseason Quests



IUP Begins NCAA Title Quest Against Ashland

Following a first-round bye, No. 1 seed Indiana (Pa). will make its 20th playoff appearance when the Crimson Hawks host Ashland at Miller Stadium.

IUP earned a first-round bye in the NCAA Division II playoffs after posting a 9-1 overall record and securing the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title after defeating Shepherd 24-21 two weeks ago.

The Crimson Hawks have been led by a balanced offensive approach and that was evident in its win over Shepherd. Quarterback Mak Sexton threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions while the ground game moved the ball for 184 yards. Defensively, the Crimson Hawks stood tall, forcing two interceptions and limiting Shepherd to 53 yards on the ground.

Now, IUP turns its focus towards an Ashland team that finished the regular season 9-1 and earned its first Great Midwest Athletic Conference title. 

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles held off a pesky Notre Dame College (Ohio) squad for a 20-13 win. Ashland relied heavily on the run game as the Eagles ran for 224 yards and a touchdown. Junior Larry Martin paced the Eagles with 135 yards in the winning effort.

Gametime between the Crimson Hawks and the Eagles is set for 1 p.m.

Slippery Rock Searches for Quarterfinals Berth

Slippery Rock hits the road on Saturday for a second-round matchup with Shepherd with a date for the NCAA Quarterfinals on the line.

In the first round, Slippery Rock pulled out in an expected defensive battle, winning 17-14 over Assumption (Mass.). The Rock took a 10-point lead into halftime thanks to a late Noah Grover pass for four yards to Russell Cohen. Outside of a two-yard Assumption touchdown, The Rock held on for a tight win.

As The Rock prepares for the second round, a tall task awaits them in a Shepherd team that narrowly lost by three points in the PSAC championship game two weeks ago. Last week, Shepherd responded with a 16-13 win against New Haven (Conn.). Running back Ronnie Brown had an impressive day on the ground against New Haven as he totaled 228 yards and two touchdowns.

Slippery Rock and Shepherd will kick off at noon at Ram Stadium in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Carnegie Mellon Set to Face Top-Seeded North Central

A year after Carnegie Mellon had to forfeit its game against North Central (Ill.) in the playoff due to COVID-19, the two teams will finally meet for the first time on Saturday.

It is expected to be an epic contest between two of the best schools in Division III football. North Central currently sits as the No. 1 overall team in the country as it rides an 11-0 record into the matchup. 

Carnegie Mellon has won 18 straight games dating back to last season. The Tartans own a solid defense that allows 11 points per game but also has the ability to force turnovers and score on those plays. In its opening-round game, Carnegie Mellon finished off DePauw (Ind.) 45-14 thanks to a strong run presence but also key defensive plays including a 45-yard pick-six.

North Central on the other hand has been dominant in all facets of the game. The Cardinals own the top scoring offense and defense in all of Division III. Offensively, the Cardinals score 57.5 points per game and that was on display in their 50-0 win over Lake Forest (Ill.) in the first round of the tournament. With that shutout, the Cardinals now are limiting teams to below five points per contest.

The Tartans and Cardinals will get underway at noon in Naperville, Ill.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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