SLIPPERY ROCK — Two years ago, a game-ending Hail Mary was all that separated Kutztown University from its first NCAA Division II football Super Region One title and trip to the Final Four, as Shepherd defeated Golden Bears 30-28 as time expired at Andre Reed Stadium.
On Saturday, the Golden Bears were able to avenge that loss and take the next step as a program.
Third-seeded Kutztown defeated fourth-seeded Slippery Rock 28-16 in a national quarterfinal, lifting the Golden Bears to their first Super Region One title and Final Four berth in program history.
“The beast of the east is here and we’re fired up about it,” Kutztown coach Jim Clements said. “That’s how our guys were all week and that’s how we’re marching on.”
Despite being the higher seed, the Golden Bears were forced to play Saturday’s game on the road. Kutztown did not submit a bid to the NCAA in October to host a quarterfinal game, while Slippery Rock did.
“It was great to come here and get the win,” Clements said. “To leave no doubt where we’re at as a program. I’m super proud of our guys.”
After starting the season 0-2, the Golden Bears won their 12th consecutive game on Saturday and set a program record for wins in a season. The victory was their third in the NCAA playoffs, setting a new mark for postseason wins in a season.
Unranked Kutztown (12-2) defeated The Rock (12-2), ranked No. 15 in the country, for the second time this season. The Golden Bears beat Slippery Rock 31-7 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championship Game on Nov. 11 at Andre Reed Stadium.
Kutztown’s win in the conference title game over The Rock, which was ranked No. 4 at the time, started a streak of four consecutive victories over ranked opponents. The Golden Bears beat No. 13 Virginia Union in the first round of the NCAA playoffs and No. 24 Charleston in the second round.
Kutztown defeated No. 13 Shepherd in September, giving them five wins over ranked opponents this season. The Golden Bears’ previous high in a season was three.
Kutztown has defeated Slippery Rock in their last four meetings and five of the last six since 2017. The Golden Bears’ only loss to The Rock during that stretch came in the 2019 PSAC title game.
In the national semifinals, fourth-seeded Kutztown will play at top-seeded Colorado School of Mines next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The NCAA re-seeded the semifinalists on Saturday night.
“I’m super proud of our guys,” Clements said. “They did great.”
Source: Berkshire mont