Cal U football team heads to IUP for annual Coal Bowl, Oct. 23


Cal U Sports Information

California University of Pennsylvania football team faces IUP in the annual Coal Bowl, Oct. 23, 2021

Matthew Kifer, Sports Information Director

Game Notes: Cal U at IUP (Coal Bowl)

#5/20 CAL U (6-0, 3-0) @ #23/24 IUP (4-1, 4-0)
• When: Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021
• Where: Indiana, Pa.
• Stadium: George P. Miller Stadium (5,000)
• Kickoff: 2 p.m.
• Live Video: CUTVSports1 (YouTube) I PSAC Network (IUP Feed)
• Live Radio: WCAL (91.9 FM) I WQMU (92.5 FM)
• Live Stats: Click HERE

• All-Time Series: IUP leads 63-28-2 I History
• First Meeting: 1918 – IUP won 20-2
• Last Meeting: Oct. 5, 2019 @ IUP – IUP won 17-6 | Recap | Box Score I Video Highlights
• Streak: IUP +1

• Cal U returns to action on Saturday with the 12th edition of the Coal Bowl at IUP. The Vulcans were idle last week following a No Contest against Clarion. Meanwhile, IUP posted a 48-21 upset victory at then-No. 6 Slippery Rock after leading 34-7 early in the third quarter.

• Junior quarterback Noah Mitchell tied his career high with four touchdown passes, as the Vulcans earned a 38-17 victory at Gannon. Mitchell set a season high with 382 passing yards and established career highs of 35 completions and 53 attempts. Junior Cam Tarrant and senior Tyson Hill both eclipsed the century mark in receiving yards, while sophomore JaQuae Jackson caught two touchdowns. Three players tied for the team lead with six tackles, while junior Jermal Martin, Jr. posted a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown.

• The Vulcans and Crimson Hawks initiated the Coal Bowl in 2009 and the home team has won the last eight meetings. Cal U previously won four-straight road games in the series from 2005-11.

• A longtime assistant with the program, Paul Tortorella is in his fifth season as head coach at IUP. He served as interim head coach in 2017 and has posted a 36-7 mark as head coach of the Crimson Hawks, highlighted by the PSAC Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Semifinals in 2017. He previously spent over two decades as the defensive coordinator at IUP.

• IUP earned a berth to the NCAA Playoffs in 2019 and finished with its third 10-win season in four years. The Crimson Hawks feature a highly efficient offense, leading the country in red zone offense and committing just two turnovers. Graduate transfer quarterback Harry Woodbery has passed for nearly 950 yards and 14 touchdowns over the last four weeks. A native of Texas, he joined the program after playing three years at Eastern Illinois. IUP boasts a dynamic tandem of wide receivers in junior Duane Brown and senior Irvin Charles, a transfer from Penn State. Brown has posted three-straight games with 100 receiving yards and one touchdown after accounting for 19 touchdowns (six rushing) in 2019. Charles has caught at least one touchdown in every game this year, including three last week at Slippery Rock. Senior Malik Anderson paces the team with 308 rushing yards and four touchdowns after being an All-PSAC West selection in 2019. IUP is tied for the league lead with 14 turnovers forced this season behind 10 interceptions. Graduate transfer linebacker Malachi Newell leads the team with 34 tackles after previously playing at Youngstown State and junior linebacker Connor Kelly, who played at Edinboro from 2018-19, has tallied 31 stops. Junior defensive lineman Vaughn Wallace leads the team with 3.5 sacks and is tied for the team lead with 4.5 TFL after playing two years at Clarion. On special teams, sophomore Dylan Grubbs is averaging 41.4 yards per punt with six punts over 50 yards.

• This weekend marks the 12th anniversary of the Coal Bowl between rivals Cal U and IUP with the home team winning the last eight meetings. The Vulcans hold a 7-4 edge in the series while posting a 2-4 mark at George P. Miller Stadium in the Coal Bowl. This marks the fourth time in Coal Bowl history that both teams have been ranked in the AFCA Top 25 poll (2012, 2016, 2017).

• The Vulcans jumped eight spots to No. 5 in the latest AFCA Top 25 poll despite being idle last week due to a No Contest. The movement was the result of a major shakeup across the country, as seven of the top-10 teams in last week’s poll suffered losses over the weekend. Cal U boasts its highest ranking since sitting at No. 5 for four-consecutive weeks in the 2017 season.

• With the victory at Gannon, Gary Dunn became only the fourth head coach in program history to earn at least 40 career victories. John Luckhardt was the last head coach to reach the milestone and finished with a school-record 88 wins from 2002-11. Ted Nemeth (1950-61) and Jeff Petrucci (1981-92) are tied for second place in school history with 54 victories.

• Cal U also secured its 17th-consecutive winning season with the victory at Gannon two weeks ago. The streak started in 2004 under John Luckhardt after the program achieved the feat just twice in the 16 previous years. The Vulcans are also just one win shy of recording at least seven victories for 16-straight seasons.

• Junior quarterback Noah Mitchell set a season high with 382 passing yards and tied his career high with four touchdown passes at Gannon. He also became only the third quarterback in school history to eclipse 7,000 passing yards in a career. Mitchell ranks second in the PSAC and is among the top 10 in the country with both 314.3 passing yards per game and a 69.0 completion percentage.

• The Vulcans are set to play a pair of nationally-ranked opponents on the road twice in three weeks, starting on Saturday at No. 23 IUP. Cal U has posted a 5-8 record against top-25 teams under sixth-year head coach Gary Dunn. The Vulcans are looking to snap an 11-game road losing streak against top-25 teams, as its last road victory versus a nationally-ranked opponent was in Week 2 of the 2012 season at then-No. 11 Kutztown.

• Cal U continues to be one of the top defenses in the country this season. The Vulcans lead NCAA Division II in total defense by allowing only 162.3 yards per game and rank second in the country in scoring defense at just 7.2 points per game. Cal U yielded a season-high 17 points and 296 yards of total offense in the victory at Gannon.

• Two weeks ago, junior Cam Tarrant set career highs with 124 receiving yards and 11 receptions in the victory at Gannon. He eclipsed the century mark for the first time in his career and also scored his second touchdown of the season. Tarrant ranks third on the team with a career-high 30 receptions this fall with nearly half of his catches resulting in either a first down or touchdown.

• At Gannon, junior defensive back Jermal Martin Jr. recorded his first career interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. He has now scored on an interception return, punt return and defensive PAT this season. Martin is the first defensive player to score over 12 points in a season since former All-American Dewey McDonald accounted for 18 points in the 2013 campaign.

• Senior wide receiver Tyson Hill registered his third 100-yard game of the season at Gannon, finishing with 102 yards on seven receptions. He leads the PSAC this year with 91.3 receiving yards per game and ranks third with 5.7 receptions per game. Hill recently moved past former NFL wide receiver Perry Kemp (1980-83) for third all-time in school history with 2,535 receiving yards.

• Redshirt sophomore linebacker Gabe Miller tied for the team lead with six tackles at Gannon two weeks ago. In his first year as a starter, he is tied for the team lead with 3.0 sacks this season and sits third on the team with 29 stops (13 solo). Miller appeared in all 11 games as a true freshman before missing the entire 2019 season due to injury and the 2020 season was canceled.

• Entering the weekend, the Vulcans are one of only five remaining undefeated teams in NCAA Division II this season. Bentley (Mass.) of the NE-10 Conference and Colorado School of Mines of the RMAC are the lone schools to post an unblemished 7-0 mark this fall, while three other teams sit at 6-0 this season. Before last week, there were a total of 14 schools with a perfect 1.000 winning percentage in the 2021 campaign.