What is IUP’s reward for an upset win at Catawba last week?

The Indians (1-2) return home at 1 p.m. today to host No. 21 Bloomsburg.

IUP shocked much, if not all, of Division II a week ago by beating then-No. 13 Catawba 19-16 in overtime. Catawba is a perennial power in Division II and had defeated a much more experienced IUP team a year ago in Indiana by 32 points.

“I think that (win) was special,” IUP coach Frank Cignetti said. “In the great playoff wins against national programs (in year’s past), we had that caliber of football team. This team is young and we’re just trying to play one game at a time and look no further ahead.”

The task doesn’t get any easier this week. Bloomsburg is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2001 and has yet to be challenged. The Huskies have won by an average of 35 points a game, including last week’s 63-0 stomping of Lock Haven. Bloomsburg offense ranks eighth in the nation in scoring (46.2), fifth in rushing (291.2), and No. 13 in total offense (464.8). Sophomore tailback Jamar Brittingham keys the Huskies’ attack. He’s averaging more than 160 yards per game and his 12 touchdowns is tops among Division II players.

“Offensively they are an excellent football team,” Cignetti said. “They have a great running back and a senior quarterback who is very efficient. They also have a good, strong offensive line and that’s where it all starts.”

Stopping the run has not been the Indians’ strong point this year. IUP has yielded nearly 225 yards a game on the ground. Catawba rushed for 224 yards a week ago, including running back Kory Fisher’s 142. Fisher was the third back in as many games to crack the century mark against the Indians.

“The goal (last week) was to keep them on a long field,” Cignetti said. “We stopped them when we had to stop them. The perimeter running still hurt us, but we worked hard to correct that situation and hopefully we have. The important thing Saturday was that they made the plays that they had to make. Our defense gave up yardage but they played hard and, as a result, it came down to one or two plays and we made those plays.”

The biggest of those plays came in the overtime period when freshman quarterback Andrew Krewatch connected with fellow freshman wide receiver Cameron Mobley on a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Indians their first victory of the season. Krewatch finished the game 15-of-28 for 168 yards and two touchdowns. That performance was enough to earn the young signal-caller PSAC West offensive player of the week honors.

“The big thing about (our quarterback and receivers) is if you would grade them on every play in the game there are still areas where we don’t make the right read or route adjustment,” Cignetti said. “There are some ugly plays out there where the quarterback will throw the ball and no one will be there. But, they made the plays they had to make to win the game, and that is what this business is all about.”

Cignetti will be searching for those playmakers again this week.

“When all things are equal, there are a couple of plays or players that will make a difference,” he said. “It was a great win and now we have to try to sustain it and take it up another notch.”

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