The 10th annual Coal Bowl ended in thrilling upset fashion as the California (Pa.) Vulcans used 26 second-half points to upset the No. 2 team in DII football, Indiana (Pa.), 36-24 at Adamson Stadium in California, Pennsylvania. The upset marks the highest ranked team the Vulcans have ever defeated.

When it comes to the Coal Bowl, just throw out the rankings. The event took the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rivalry that dated back to 1918 to a new level when brothers Barry and Bob Lippencott — who played against each other at IUP and Cal respectively — helped start the event in 2009. The Vulcans picked up its seventh Coal Miners Pail Trophy Saturday night, moving to a perfect 5-0 at home in the series.

California (Pa.) Athletics

Streaks ended

While the Vulcans extended their winning streak at Adamson Stadium, they ended two streaks for IUP. The Crimson Hawks hadn’t lost since 2016 in the regular season, dating all the way back to October 8, 2016. That loss came at the hands of the Vulcans as well, dropping the 2016 Coal Bowl 31-28.

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IUP also saw its 12-game division winning streak come to an end. Simply put, the Crimson Hawks have dominated the PSAC since head coach Paul Tortorella took over last season. It was Tortorella’s first regular-season loss in his career.

Big returns

Neither the Vulcans nor the Crimson Hawks deprived the fans of any excitement. IUP’s Qashah Carter got the highlight reel started, returning a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown after the Vulcans took their first lead of the game about halfway through the third quarter, erasing the three-point deficit in just 13 seconds. California’s Lamont McPhatter iced the victory with the lone fourth-quarter score coming on a 100-yard interception return to the house.

Vulcans running game is rolling

The Vulcans entered 2018 right outside the preseason top 25. Two early season losses dropped them out of the picture. Cal was no different than the team many expected them to be, it simply found itself on the wrong side of tightly-contested battles, dropping both of those games — one to then-No. 23 Ohio Dominican on the road — by a total of eight points.

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The perennial PSAC power has turned the page, and that’s in large part thanks to junior back Nelson Brown. Brown recorded his third-straight three-touchdown performance against IUP in Saturday’s upset. Over the Vulcans current three-game win streak, Brown has rushed for 396 yards and nine touchdowns. He did it against the pretty stout front line of the Crimson Hawks, showing how valuable this offensive line is. If teams can’t figure out how to slow down Brown, the Vulcans can still try to run their way to the postseason.

 

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