INDIANA, Pa. - Shepherd University dropped a 27-17 decision to #11 Indiana University of Pennsylvania in first round action of the NCAA II Football Championship at George P. Miller Stadium on Saturday.
IUP took a advantage of a Shepherd turnover to take a 7-0 lead as Mike Box teamed with Terrill Barnes on a five-yard scoring pass with 8:27 left in the first quarter.
Shepherd tied the game at 7-7 when senior quarterback Bobby Cooper (Davidsonville, MD/South River) dashed 18 yards for a score with 5:10 left in the second quarter. Redshirt-freshman kicker Ryan Earls (Stevensville, MD/Kent Island) added the extra point.
IUP took a 14-7 lead into intermission when Carl Fleming picked off a pass and ran 77 yards for a touchdown with 3:36 left in the half.
Shepherd tied the game at 14-14 when scored Cooper knifed his way into the end zone on a one-yard run with 11:56 left in the third quarter. The score was set up by a 31-yard punt return by junior DJ Scott (Frederick, MD/Thomas Johnson).
The Rams took a 17-14 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Earls with 6:43 left in the third quarter.
The Crimson Hawks took a 21-17 lead on a five-yard run by De'Antwan Williams with 1:45 left in the third quarter.
IUP extended its lead to 24-17 on a 39-yard field goal by Brett Ullman with 12:03 left in the fourth quarter.
IUP took a 27-17 lead on a 31-yard field goal by Ullman with 9:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. An Alexander Bergdahl interception set up the score.
Williams rushed 30 times for 152 yards for the Crimson Hawks. Harvie Tuck added 60 yards on 16 carries. Freshman running back Allen Cross (Elkridge, MD/Long Reach) had 13 carries for 63 yards to lead the Rams. Cooper added 43 yards on eight carries.
Box connected on 6-of-20 passes for 122 yards for the Crimson Hawks. Cooper hit on 12-of-28 passes for 96 yards for the Rams.
Senior wide receiver Larry Lowe (Stafford, VA/Brooke Point) led the Shepherd receiving corps with four receptions for 25 yards. Barnes had three catches for 55 yards to lead IUP.
IUP had 325 yards of total offense, while Shepherd had 250.
The Crimson Hawks rushed for 203 yards in the contest and became the only team to rush for 110 yards or more against the Rams this season.
Sophomore safety David Carter (Winchester, VA/John Handley) had 13 tackles to pace the Rams. Junior defensive lineman Mike Franklin (Elkridge, MD/Long Reach) added 10 stops and three tackles-for-loss. Fleming led IUP with 13 tackles.
Shepherd completes its season at 8-3, while Indiana (Pa.) improves to 11-1. The Crimson Hawks advance to face New Haven next Saturday at noon.