football

Gannon football narrowly falls to No. 23 IUP, 43-34

Oct 24 • Sports, Top Stories • 357

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The Gannon University football team gave nationally ranked Indiana University of Pennsylvania all it could handle Saturday but wound up falling, 43-34, at McConnell Family Stadium in a game delayed multiple times by inclement weather.
The Knights, who brought a two-game winning streak into the battle with the No. 23 Crimson Hawks, fell to 2-6 overall and 2-3 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference play.
Gannon will look to even its PSAC mark when it hosts rival Mercyhurst at noon Saturday in the Battle for the Niagara Cup at McConnell Family Stadium.
The matchup with IUP was delayed more than hour at the start due to poor weather and three more delays would follow. The mid-game delays totaled more than two hours and the pregame delay was more than an hour.
The waiting didn’t seem to bother standout running back Marcus Jones, as he led the way offensively for Gannon. Jones – the school’s all-time leading rusher — took his 27 carries straight to the bank and cashed in for 142 yards.
Jones, who went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season, scored on runs of 2, 12 and 13 yards.
Thanks to this and many other factors of how the Knights were working the offense this day, the team was able to build a 28-23 lead late in the second quarter.
In addition to all three of Jones’ touchdown runs, Gannon got a major lift from Joey Cox, who proved to be a speedy threat from his wideout position.
Cox hauled in a perfectly thrown 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Dambach with just 36 seconds remaining in the first half to cap a five-play, 56-yard scoring drive that took less than a minute. That score gave Gannon its 28-23 lead.
But IUP answered by driving 42 yards in the final half-minute, and Dillon Sarka converted a 40-yard field goal as time expired to cut the Knights’ lead to 28-26.
Coming out of halftime, the Knights lost control and gave up 17 unanswered points as IUP roared ahead, 43-28.
Quarterback Lenny Williams did much of the damage for the Crimson Hawks, as he scored on a 29-yard run that put IUP up 33-28 and then connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Grant Smith that made it 40-28 early in the fourth quarter.
After another Sarka field goal, Gannon finally got on the board again when Dambach teamed with Dontae Owens on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3 minutes, 44 seconds remaining in the game.
The biggest takeaway from this game proved to be Jones and his rushing exploits, as he topped the 130-yard rushing mark for the fourth straight game.
Jones now has 1,130 yards on the season and more than 3,500 yards for his career with three games remaining.
Cox, meanwhile, finished with seven catches for 72 yards. Defensively, Martell Davis led the way with 11 tackles, but the Knights as a team surrendered 516 yards of total offense to IUP – 284 yards on the ground and 232 yards through the air.
Gannon, meanwhile, finished with 279 total yards.
matt NEWARA
newara001@knights.gannon.edu

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