PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Division II West Chester University Golden Rams will play for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs on Saturday when they host IUP.
The Golden Rams (8-2) won the PSAC East Division last weekend with a 27-24 win on the road at Millersville. West Chester trailed 24-17 against the now 4-6 Marauders, but they scored 10 points over the game’s final 7:25 to grab the win. The Golden Rams scored the winning points on a one-yard touchdown run by junior running back Mike Class with 78 seconds remaining.
“It wasn’t the way it was designed,” West Chester head coach Bill Zwaan says of his team’s performance. “It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but when you look back at it, you had a 90-yard drive to finish the game off and win the game. We had another good drive and a crucial field goal that we made to keep ourselves alive in the game. Definitely positives late, but overall, lackluster performance by us. And we know we’re playing now the #1 team in the country [and] if we play like that, then we’re done. So we’ve got to find a way to get ourselves back to the way we were playing a little bit earlier in the season and really try and play at our highest level this weekend.”
A key performance in the win for West Chester was provided by senior defensive lineman and North Penn High School product George Shipp who finished with nine tackles, four tackles for loss and 2 1/2 sacks.
“He’s been an absolute leader on that defensive line,” Zwaan says of Shipp.
IUP is 10-0, champs of the PSAC West and ranked #1 in the country in the d2football.com media poll. The Crimson Hawks are #3 in the Coaches Poll. Zwaan talks about what makes them so good.
“You start defensively,” he says. “They are definitely the best defense we’re playing this year. They’re deep, they’re fast, they’re physical. They’ve got talent at pretty much every position. When you look at both offense and defense, as a coach, you’re breaking things down, you’re looking for any weaknesses that you see. They have very few weaknesses.
“On offense,” Zwaan continues, “they control the clock. They are always good in the run game, they always have been. They are a little bit more spread offense than they were in the past and part of that is because their quarterback is such a factor, both throwing and running the football.”
IUP averages 38.5 points per game while allowing just 15.4.
Saturday’s game at Farrell Stadium will kick off at 12:10pm.