CUP Football Hits the Road to No. 13 IUP Saturday

Delrece Williams - Clarion U
INDIANA, Pa. – Having lost three straight, things don’t get any easier for the Clarion University football team Saturday when it faces No. 13 IUP at IUP’s Miller Stadium.

(Photo of Delrece Williams. Photo courtest of Clarion University Athletics)

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. between the Golden Eagles (2-5 overall, 1-3 PSAC West) and the Crimson Hawks (5-1, 3-1).

Clarion is coming off a 48-20 loss at home to No. 7 California (Pa.) last week while IUP beat No. 16 Slippery Rock, 48-19.

Defense has been an issue for the Golden Eagles, who allow 38.7 points per game, the second-worst mark in the 16-team league.

That could pose a major issue against an IUP team that ranks second in the nation in scoring offense at 51.2 points per contest just behind Cal’s 55 ppg.

IUP’s offense used the “splash play” a lot with 42 plays of 20 or more yards per game on the season with eight plays of more than 50 yards.

Quarterback Lenny Williams Jr. is a big reason for that accounting for 26 of those plays.

Williams, a transfer from Temple, leads D-II in passing efficiency (194.61)and is 13th in the country in completion percentage (66.4 percent). He has completed 74 of 113 passes for 1,356 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception, which came last week after he opened the season with 74 straight passes without a pick.

IUP gives Williams plenty of weapons at the receiver spots.

Walt Pegues has caught at least one pass in 28 straight games and has 127 career catches for 1,852 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 19.7 yards per catch this year, as is Chris Wuestner. JoJo Gause adds 16.4 yards per catch, while Alle wright, who has played just three games at receiver since converting from cornerback in fall camp has 13 catches for 282 yards and two touchdowns, including 185 yards against Slippery Rock last week. He is a big-play threat with 15 of his receptions going for more than 20 yards.

On defense, the Crimson Hawks rank fifth in the PSAC allowing 26.5 points per game and rank first in the PSAC with 13 interceptions, tied for the eighth-best mark in the country.

The defense is led by Kevin Clarke, who leads the PSAC with 10.8 tackles per game despite missing the first two games of the season with an injury.

Clarion’s offense is a work in progress with redshirt freshman quarterback Jeff Clemens being forced into action the last two weeks after an injury to starter Connor Simmons.

Clemens has been so-so on the year going 28 of 61 for 343 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. He struggled last week against Cal going 10 of 27 for 142 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions.

It does help Clemens that he has one of the best receivers in Clarion history to throw to in Matt Lehman.

With three catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns last week, Lehman moved into a tie with Clarion Hall of Famer Alvin Slaughter for second place on the career receiving touchdowns list with 23 and needs just two more to tie Terry McFetridge’s school record of 25 set 31 years ago.

Lehman hasn’t been as productive in the scoring department this year with just five touchdown catches and just two in the last four weeks. He does has 2,227 career receiving yards on 139 career catches and needs 31 yards to pass Pierre Odom for fourth all-time at Clarion and 22 catches to pass Odom for fourth in school history in grabs.

Running back Delrece Williams can take some of the pressure off Clemens as well.

Williams needs 34 yards to reach 2,000 in his Clarion career. He would be just the 10th player in school history to reach 2,000 career yards and the first since quarterback Ben Fiscus finished with 2,087. Willaims averages 103 yards per game this year.

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