The Slippery Rock University football team upset No. 14 Indiana University (Pa.) 30-27 on Saturday afternoon during IUP’s homecoming weekend.
The win improves The Rock to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the PSAC. They currently rank first in the PSAC West Division. IUP drops to 4-2 (1-2) and is tied for fourth place with Edinboro University.
IUP was first to strike in the score column, with kicker Dillon Sarka making it 3-0 on a 21-yard field goal. The Rock would quickly retaliate when junior quarterback Roland Rivers would march his team down the field on an 81-yard drive and would run the ball for a four-yard touchdown to give his team the lead. Junior kicker Jake Chapla would increase his team’s lead with two separate field goals to give The Rock a 13-6 lead late in the first half.
With under a minute remaining before halftime, Mother Nature would halt the game on a lightning delay. The game resumed after a 90-minute delay and Slippery Rock would waste no time in increasing their lead. Rivers would connect with senior Carnell Harley for an 18-yard touchdown to give SRU a 20-6 lead heading into the second half.
The Crimson Hawks would not go down without a fight. The third quarter, which has statistically been one of the worst quarters of defense for The Rock this season, saw IUP score 14 points to tie the game with just one quarter remaining in the game. Chapla would continue his strong outing by kicking another field goal just minutes into the fourth quarter to help SRU take the lead, 23-20. With under 10 minutes left in the game, IUP would score a touchdown to give the Crimson Hawks the 27-23 advantage and their first lead of the game.
The Green and White continued to battle and would put together an 84-yard drive, taking just over seven minutes off the clock. The drive culminated in senior running back Wes Hills running the ball for a one-yard touchdown to give his team the lead with roughly two minutes left in the game. Jake Chapla would record the extra point to make the score 30-27, which would be all of the offense for either side the rest of the game. IUP would try to threaten again, but an interception late in the game by junior defensive back Eric Glover-Williams would hand the Crimson Hawks their second consecutive loss.
Rivers threw for 293 yards on 23 completions and one touchdown. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked once. Hills looked to be returning to his true self on Saturday as he led his team in rushing yard with 126, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and one touchdown on 26 attempts. Rivers would run for 68 yards (4.5) and one touchdown.
Redshirt sophomore Henry Litwin led the receiving core with 100 yards on seven receptions. Hills, in addition to his rushing yards, caught for 56 yards. Redshirt sophomore Jermaine Wynn Jr., junior Austin Scott, and Harley would combine for 95 yards, while Harley would record the receiving touchdown of the game for Slippery Rock.
Senior Kyle Hall would lead The Rock with nine tackles and two interceptions for 19 yards. Sophomore Dalton Holt recorded eight tackles and forced one fumble. Junior Brad Zaffram, sophomore Trysten McDonald, and redshirt sophomore Tim Vernick combined for 16 tackles on the afternoon.
Chapla would go for three for four in the field goal category. He currently leads the entire PSAC with eight field goals on 15 attempts (53.3 percent). Chapla would also kick the longest punt of his career, a 75-yarder that was just three yards’ shy of the SRU record held by Andrew Huska.
The Rock will return home on Saturday to face off with the Edinboro University Fighting Scots. The game is part of Slippery Rock University’s homecoming weekend. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.