Montclair, NJ (10/29/11) – Senior running back Chris D'Andrea (Union, NJ / Union) rushed for 231 yards and scored three times as No. 17/21 Montclair State battled through the driving snow and Western Connecticut for a 38-7 victory at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore running back A.J. Scoppa (New Milford, NJ / New Milford) ran for 109 yards and a touchdown as the Red Hawks amassed all but 18 of their 377 yards of offense on the ground in improving to 7-1 on the season, 6-1 in the NJAC. Montclair, which extended its regular-season home winning streak to 26 games, is currently tied with Kean atop the NJAC standings.
Sophomore running back Dion Small (Waterbury, NJ / Crosby) rushed for 160 yards for Western Connecticut, which dropped to 0-8 on the season, 0-7 in the NJAC.
With the sudden October snowstorm turning MSU's Homecoming Game into a Winter Wonderland, running the ball became a premium which played right into the hands of Montclair State and D'Andrea, who entered the game as the second-leading rusher in the nation. He carried 28 times raising his single-season total to 1,347 yards, the third-best season total in school history. D'Andrea also passed the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
The game began slowly as each team tried to adjust to the sloppy snowy conditions that completely blanked the field. After three punts started off the game, Montclair took control at its own 35 with 8:31 to play in the first quarter and went 65 yards on seven straight D'Andrea touches. His first carry netted 28 yards and the third, a 24-yard rush put the ball at the West Con 10. After a penalty moved to the ball back out to the 26 yardline, D'Andrea went for 10, 12 and then four yards for the score as Montclair led 7-0 with 6:10 left in the first quarter.
D'Andrea made it a 14-0 game with 9:59 left in the second as he accounted for all 80 yards on a five-play scoring drive capping it off with a 1-yard rumble as MSU led 14-0 with 12:53 to go. Kicker Jake DelVento (Island Heights, NJ / Central Regional) connected from 25 yards out off the snowy turf with just under three minutes to play as the Red Hawks led 17-0 at the break.
In the second half, D'Andrea touched the ball four times collecting 61 yards, including the final 36 on a burst off the right side for his third touchdown as Montclair State pushed its advantage to 24-0 just 2:08 into the half. It would be D'Andrea's final carry of the game.
Scoppa came on in the next series and immediately made his presence felt with a career-best 60 yard run with 7:03 remaining as Montclair increased its lead to 31-0.
Small would help the Colonials get the scoreboard in the next series as he put together runs of 46 and 26 yards on back to back plays setting up WestConn at the MSU 1. Quarterback Will Arndt (Newtown, CT / Newtown) rushed in on the next play making the score 31-7 with 5:48 to go in the third.
Montclair sophomore defensive lineman Matt Trivigno (Denville, NJ / Morris Knolls) got the final score of the game as he intercepted an Arndt pass with 24 seconds left in the third and returned it 11 yards for the final Red Hawks touchdown.
Scoppa carried 13 times in the game as well as 54 of Montclair's 60 plays in the game were on the ground . Senior Dan Keegan (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex) returned three punts averaging 28 yards per runback and nearly had two returns for score as one was nullified by a penalty. The second was a 54-yard return to the WestConn 1.
Sophomore linebacker Dan Avento (Northvale, NJ / Pascack Hills) had 11 tackles to lead the MSU defense. Kevin Bradley (Belleville, NJ / Seton Hall Prep) added six tackles with linebacker Steve Shan (Bayville, NJ / Central Regional) adding five stops.
Sophomore Devin Meyers (Waterbury, CT / Waterbury) and sophomore Bill Birdsell (Bethel, CT / Bethel) each had eight tackles for the Colonials. Eric DeRario (Wappingers Falls, NY / Roy C. Ketcham), Mike Lacaria (Watertown, CT / Watertown), Greg Galasso (Brewster, NY / Brewster) and Kyle Brooks (Bronx, NY / Cardinal Hayes) all had six tackles.
Both teams are back in action next week with road NJAC games. Montclair State is in Glassboro to take on Rowan University at 1:00 pm. The Colonials head back to New Jersey for a noon matchup with TCNJ in Ewing.