Story and photo courtesy of California (Pa.) Athletics
CALIFORNIA, Pa. – Redshirt junior wide receiver Nadir Brown (East Orange, N.J./East Orange) scored an 80-yard touchdown with 52.3 seconds left and sophomore kicker Cody Nuzzo (Bradford, Pa./Bradford) made the game-winning 30-yard field goal with 3.5 seconds left on Saturday evening, as the No. 6 Vulcans claimed a 26-24 victory over No. 14 IUP in the fourth-annual Coal Bowl at Adamson Stadium.
With the win, the California University of Pennsylvania football team improves to 4-0 this season with a 2-0 mark in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West play. The Vulcans have won all four of the Coal Bowl meetings and seven of the last eight games against the Crimson Hawks. Meanwhile, IUP falls to 3-1 overall with a 1-1 record in divisional action.
Senior quarterback Peter Lalich (Springfield, Va./West Springfield) passed for the second-highest total in single-game school history, finishing with 438 yards. He completed 27-of-40 attempts with three touchdowns and one interception in the victory. Lalich became just the fourth quarterback in program history, and the first since 2008, to throw for over 400 yards in a game.
Leading 24-17 with just over a minute remaining, IUP missed a 30-yard field goal which set the stage for a last-minute comeback. After the field goal, Cal U assumed possession at its 20-yard line before Lalich connected with Brown for an 80-yard touchdown on the first play of the drive with just 57.3 seconds remaining. The ensuing PAT attempt failed which preserved the lead for the Crimson Hawks at 24-23.
The Vulcans successfully converted the onside kick attempt by Nuzzo with senior Rontez Miles (Braddock, Pa./Woodland Hills) recovering the ball after it was touched by a Crimson Hawk. The Vulcans recorded a first down following a pair of short completions from Lalich to senior running back Lamont Smith (Penn Hills, Pa./Central Catholic) before Lalich found junior wide receiver Trey Johnson (Rochester, Pa./Rochester) for a 20-yard gain. After a quarterback spike stopped the clock, Nuzzo made the 30-yard field goal with just 3.5 seconds left.
The Crimson Hawks immediately fell on the ensuing kickoff and were unable to cross midfield on the following play as time expired.
Johnson, who missed last week's game, was named the Lippencott Family MVP of the 2012 Coal Bowl. He posted the first 100-yard receiving game of his career, finishing with 120 yards and tied his career high with six receptions.