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IUP FOOTBALL: Crimson Hawks back in national rankings for first time since 2008

by MATTHEW BURGLUND on September 04, 2012 11:15 AM

Thanks to an opening-day blowout win, the IUP Crimson Hawks are back on the national stage.

The Crimson Hawks (1-0) are No. 23 in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division II Top 25 poll -- it's IUP's first appearance in the national rankings in almost four years.

Second-year IUP coach Curt Cignetti said it's nice to be recognized, but being ranked won't help the team on the field.

"It doesn't really mean anything other than people have noticed our play," he said. "(But) we just need to stay focused on getting better every week."

IUP opened the season Saturday by thrashing Southern Connecticut State, 33-6, at George P. Miller Stadium. The Owls, who finished last season 7-3 and in second place in the Northeast-10 Conference, were no match for IUP, which outgained the usually stout Owls 456-192 and allowed SCSU to cross midfield only three times.

Senior running back Harvie Tuck led the IUP offense with 185 yards on the ground. Redshirt freshman Montay Green added 101 yards in his first college game.

The Crimson Hawks are one of four teams from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference that are listed in the AFCA Top 25. California is 10th, Kutztown is 11th and Bloomsburg is 19th.

The Crimson Hawks were listed in the AFCA preseason poll in the teams also receiving votes. But after one game, they moved into the national rankings for the first time since the final poll of the 2008 season. That year, the Crimson Hawks finished 7-3, but won their final four games by a combined score of 177-43, and were ranked No. 15 in the AFCA poll.

IUP visits Cheyney on Saturday. The Crimson Hawks are at home Sept. 15, when they play host to Lock Haven.

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