The Gannon University football team was set with a difficult task Saturday in traveling east of Pittsburgh to take on undefeated Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
IUP remained unbeaten, riding a 28-point first half to a 42-26 win over the spirited Knights.
Gannon running back Marc Jones — the NCAA’s top rusher, regardless of division — was held under 100 yards for the first time in nine starts this season, but he did manage to score on runs of 1 and 9 yards.
Jones finished with 91 yards on 20 carries to boost his season total to 1,802 yards. He holds the school’s single-season rushing record.
Tensions rose on multiple occasions during the game, played at George P. Miller stadium, but cooler heads did prevail through the duration of the actual game.
However, multiple players from both sides were involved with some altercations that occurred during the postgame handshakes.
IUP showed a balanced offensive attack to take control in the first half, pushing across two running touchdowns and two passing scores to open up a 28-0 lead. The Crimson Hawks displayed their top-ranked defense, which allowed only 56 total yards and caused two turnovers.
The Knights got their offensive game moving in the second half, as they put together 26 points — the highest single-game total that IUP has yielded this season.
Dontae Owens and Nico Law each had a receiving touchdown for Gannon, and Jones tacked on five receptions for 34 yards to go with his 91 yards rushing.
Despite being held under 100 yards for the first time this season – ending his school record at eight straight 100-yard rushing games to start a season – Jones continues to have nearly a 400-yard lead in the NCAA Division II rushing race.
In terms of team statistics, IUP finished with a 388-330 edge in total yardage, doubling the Knights’ 103 yards rushing.
Gannon quarterback Jimmy Keefe finished 22-for-38 for 227 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted twice. Owens finished with four catches for 57 yards and Tyler Palka caught five passes for 24 yards.
On defense, Anthony Howard and Martell Davis each registered 11 tackles while Tre McNeill finished with 10 and James Simms and Andrew Berger each tallied nine.
The Knights will make their final appearance at McConnell Family Stadium at noon Saturday, hosting Clarion on Senior Day. Gannon will honor nine graduating seniors before the game.