Zach Zulli just did not see him.
Trying to stage a miraculous comeback late in the fourth quarter, Zulli tried to throw an out-route pass near the sideline — it was just too bad that IUP linebacker Carl Fleming was right in its path.
As Fleming rumbled down the sideline in front of a roaring crowd at George P. Miller stadium on Saturday afternoon, he sealed a one-sided demolition of the Shippensburg University football team and obliterated SU’s hope of a PSAC title.
Not only did Zulli not see Fleming, but the Raider squad also failed to see the Crimson Hawks steal their perfect season until it was too late. The 41-10 dismantling left SU looking tattered and broken down — a feeling that it has not had to go through all season.
IUP demonstrated its No. 1 defense from the get-go disrupting Zulli early and making him uncomfortable in the pocket. The Crimson Hawks forced two interceptions, including a critical one that ended a long SU drive. Zulli finished the day with 210 yards, his lowest of the year.
The game was a misrepresentation of the way SU played all year. SU made costly mistakes on defense and failed to establish any rhythm on offense. The Raiders were outgained 465-291 in the contest — the first time they have been held under 300 yards of total offense all year.
SU’s defense was blistered on the ground as IUP’s De’Antwan Williams scurried his way to 135 yards on 30 carries, including a 59-yard score that gave the Crimson Hawks their first touchdown of the game. Montay Green and Terrill Barnes torched SU for another 145 yards on the ground.
Crimson Hawk quarterback Mike Box also caused SU fits. The junior threw for 176 yards and three touchdowns on the day.
With the victory, IUP won its first PSAC title since 1987. The Raiders will hear their fate today when the NCAA holds its playoff selection show at 5 p.m.