IUP lost on its Homecoming for the second consecutive season.
Losing on your own Homecoming is embarassing enough for IUP, but its the way the Crimson Hawks lost to PSAC West foe Mercyhurst is what I am focusing on in this edition of Hawks Vision.
IUP's defense completely dominated the line of scrimmage and shut down Mercyhurst's running game that was the PSAC's second-best going into the game. Mercyhurst, realizing that its running game was not going to get it done against the Hawks made adjustments.
Yes I said adjustments. As simple as it seems for the Lakers to make adjustments, it seemed very difficult for IUP to do the same.
Mercyhurst simply went from using its running game as the main option to using it simply to keep IUP's defense honest. Its substitute for the running game was a short passing game.
Mercyhurst took advantage of IUP's lack of physicality in the secondary on Mercyhurst's receivers.
The Lakers simply had its receivers stop at the first down markers, turn around and make the reception. They used this strategy to gain 344 yards through the air.
How did this happen? IUP didn't make adjustments.
IUP had a 27-21 lead late in the fourth quarter and gave the ball back to the Lakers with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter - plenty of time for Mercyhurt's offense to use its short passing game to take back the lead.
By this time, everyone in the stadium knew what the Lakers were going to do and that was dink and dunk their way down the field. I believe the IUP coaching staff knew this as well, but no one could tell as the staff used the same strategy it had used the entire game and that was wait for Mercyhurst to make a mistake. Mercyhurst never made that mistake and won scored a touchdown on yet another short pass.
If IUP had lost because Mercyhurst was the better team, its not much I could harp on. But that is not the case. IUP lost because it didn't make any adjustments at any point of the game on defense. That's not the fault of the players. They're just doing what they are told.
That is the fault of the coaches. That is what they are there for. Coaches use halftime and what they have seen during the game and make the necessary adjustments, Lou Tepper and his staff seemingly failed to do so.
For IUP's sake, adjustments need to be made and fast. One more loss for the Crimson Hawks could end all hope of a possible NCAA tournament berth.