By Steve Maugeri
It only took two weeks. Jim Clements has now cemented himself into the KU record books with a dominating 44-7 victory over no. 20 Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The win marks his first as head coach of the Golden Bears, and this is the first win over IUP in KU history. The win firmly plants KU atop the PSAC East standings, and is the Golden Bears’ first win over a nationally ranked team since 2012.
“We expect our guys to compete, play hard and never quit, and our guys did that from start to finish today,” Clements said. “I think we did a great job of improving from week one to week two, putting four great quarters together, and finishing out the game. There are still some things we have to clean up, but I was pleased with the effort our kids gave today.”
Chad Barton continued to shine in his first year as a starter. He completed passes to seven different receivers for a total of 316 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. Junior Anthony Kelly was on the receiving end of four of those scores. He reeled in six catches for 153 yards, which were also a career high. The alarming stat here is that Kelly has been the recipient of six of Barton’s seven touchdown passes this season. As a result, Kelly was named as the PSAC athlete of the week. Freshman Nathan Hollander led the Golden Bears in receptions for the second straight week with seven.
Defensively, Sam Dougan and Zach Delp led with ten tackles each. Additionally, Zach Greenwald wreaked havoc in the Crimson Hawks backfield, notching a key forced fumble. The secondary flashed its skills all afternoon, with a total of three interceptions by English Peay, Drake Brumfield and Tyler Pratt. They held IUP to a meager 176 yards of total offense, one week after IUP rang up 376 yards and 41 points against St. Augustine’s University. The defensive unit has proved themselves as one of the strongest units in the conference.
“Last week, we saw first-hand how important it is to play hard in both halves, and that is definitely what we did today,” Dougan said. “Looking back, last week was a great learning experience for us because it taught us what it takes to get a win against a good team.”
Clements mentioned how football is a game of momentum, and it swayed in the Golden Bears’ direction all afternoon. As a whole, the Golden Bears kept the Crimson Hawks scoreless for all but eight minutes of the game. The most notable stat is the third down conversion rate. In their two games, the Golden Bears have only yielded nine critical down conversions to their opponents.
After trading punts with IUP in the first half, Hollander recovered a fumble in the end zone to put KU on the board. IUP would respond with a one-yard run by Luigi Lista-Brinza to lead 7-6. KU would then capitalize on great field position with a 24-yard pass from Barton to Kelly. After another connection from Barton to Kelly would cap off a 20-point second quarter for the Golden Bears, which blew the game open. The Golden Bears will return to action this Saturday, Sept. 20 on the road against Gannon University. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.