For the third time in eight years, the Millersville Marauders have began their season with a 0-3 start. Millersville fell to 15th-ranked Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) 63-3 at home on Saturday marking the team’s worst defeat in 50 years since they lost to West Chester University 68-0 in 1958.
The Crimson Hawks easily dismantled the Marauders’ defense for 618 yards of total offense, much of which was due in large part to IUP quarterback Andrew Krewatch and running backs Tobias Robinson and Justin Warren.
Krewatch finished 24-27 for 317 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Robinson-104 yards, three touchdowns- and Warren-134 yards, two touchdowns- combined for 238 yards on the ground and contributed five touchdowns between both of them.
The Marauders had a rough day again on both sides of the ball as the offense failed to establish itself and the defense was unable to make its presence felt.
“Our problems haven’t been due to a single part of the team,” Senior offensive tackle Adam Cobb said. “We’re getting better as a team every game but the offensive line has to be able to pick up blitzes and give the running game and passing game time.”
Millersville threatened early on starting with the opening kickoff. Sophomore Derrick Bass took a handoff on the return and ran the ball to the IUP 44-yard line for a 45-yard gain.
After quarterback Sophomore Jamal Smith ran twice for eight yards and completed two straight passes to receiver Senior Derek Fry for eight and 13 yards, the Marauders were set at the IUP 12-yard line and in position to score and take an early lead.
IUP had different plans and intercepted a Smith pass after he was flushed out of the pocket and threw his first interception of the season in the end zone for a touchback.
It was the first time this year the team was unable to score once reaching the redzone. IUP converted the pick into points as they took over at their 20-yard line and drove 80 yards on seven plays to score on an 11-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead.
“We also have only had about 50 snaps a game on offense compared to the defense taking about 65,” Cobb said. “We have to be able to keep the ball to help our defense stay fresh until deep into the fourth quarter.”
Millersville managed to maintain a slim margin into the early moments of the second quarter after sophomore Jerrod Bowling intercepted his first pass of his career to put an end to an IUP scoring threat on a drive that went for 81 yards on 13 plays.
However, the Marauders were unable to keep up with the Crimson Hawks after the interception.
Millersville managed to muster up only 14 yards of offense in the second quarter, while IUP scored four consecutive touchdowns on drives that all lasted under one minute except their second score of the quarter which lasted 2:08. The score heading into the half was a 35-0 advantage to IUP.
The second half of the game went much like the first with IUP comfortably in control.
The Crimson Hawks piled on three more touchdowns in the third quarter to put the game well out of reach.
Millersville on the other hand only gained 18 yards of offense until their last possession of the game when they drove 49 yards and set up their only points of the game a 35-yard field goal by junior John Banzhof.
Millersville headed into the new season with high hopes of turning things around under new head coach Greg Colby.
The Marauders have had only one winning season since the end of the 2000 season, which came in 2006.
Millersville lost many key contributors from last year’s team, but felt as if they had enough players returning on their roster to improve upon their 3-8 finish a year ago.
While it’s still early in the season and anything could happen, a more realistic approach would maintain that the Marauders have dug themselves into a hole about a quarter of the way into their season.
The Marauders head into West Chester University next Saturday, who last week were ranked 25th in the country prior to their loss to the University of Delaware over the weekend.
West Chester will provide another tough test for Millersville, but the Marauders are not deterred and have made no major changes to their game plan.
“We just played a really tough team, and the few weeks before we ran the ball really well, so our overall season numbers have been skewed,” Cobb said.
The defense must step up as well, which the team is confident will take place and hopes will produce it’s first victory of the season Saturday.