DANBURY, CT (Sep. 28) — Junior running back Octavius McKoy (Statford, CT) rushed 25 times for 87 yards and caught six passes for 58 more yards and the Western Connecticut State University football team nearly pulled off a remarkable upset before falling to Rowan University, 30-24 at The WAC on Saturday afternoon.
Matt Dortch (Wayne, NJ) led Rowan's ground attack with 139 yards on 27 carries. He scored twice in the first half, from five and eight yards out, to give the The Profs a 20-14 advantage with 2:18 left before the break.
The Colonials, 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, held one-point leads on two difference occasions, the final time following a 65-yard touchdown reception from sophomore Will Arndt (Newtown, CT) to freshman Connor Falaguerra (Milford, CT) with 2:07 left before intermission. That score came just 11 seconds after Dortch's last TD.
Arndt completed 22 of 41 attempts for 287 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. Falaguerra caught a game-high eight passes for 127 yards and both of Arndt's touchdown tosses.
That score gave Western a 21-20 advantage and momentum heading into the locker room.
Early in the third quarter, the Colonials were knocking on the door with a first-and-goal, from the three-yard line, following a personal foul on a Profs' defender, but the home team could not push the fall across. The drive ended with an interception by Frank Rubino (Belle Mead, NJ) in the end zone. Rubino tried to bring it out and was pushed out of bounds just outside his own goal line.
Rowan, 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the NJAC, re-took the lead, 27-21, following an 18-play 99-yard drive, with 1:16 remaining in the third quarter. Chris Garcia (Belle Mead, NJ) was on the scoring end of a four-yard pass from Louie Bianchini (West Long Beach, NJ).
Bianchini completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 163 yards and had a 15-yard scoring pass to Garcia to open up the day's scoring 3:20 into the contest.
A 21-yard field goal by Mike Burke (Williamstown, NJ) increased the visitors lead to 30-21 with 11:13 remaining in the final stanza.
Western's Tommy Bruder (Warwick, NY), who was moved up the depth chart this week, following an injury to Hunter Leili (Danbury, CT), booted a 27-yard field goal through the uprights to bring his team within six points, 30-24 with 2:31 left in regulation.
On the ensuing kick off, not surprisingly Western attempted an on-side kick, Mike Lacaria (Watertown, CT) seemingly caught the ball off the second bounce, but was whistled for illegal touching before the ball went 10 yards and Rowan retained the ball.
A touch defensive stance by Western forced The Profs to punt the ball and Western had one more chance over the final 1:10. Steve Fortune (Bridgeton, NJ) picked off Arndt's first attempt on the final drive and Rowan took a pair of knees to chase the final buzzer.
Defensively, the Colonials were led by Corey Lawlor (Danbury, CT) had 15 tackles including nine solo take downs. Lacaria finished with a dozen tackles.
Dominic Caruso (Cherry Hill, NJ) led The Profs with 10 tackles while Darren Dungee (Morrison, NJ) contributed nine tackles for the winners.
Western plays host to The College of New Jersey next Saturday, September 29. Kick off is slated for noon. Rowan hosts The College at Brockport at 1 pm in Glassboro, NJ.
Box Score (Final)
Rowan vs Western Connecticut (Sep 22, 2012 at Danbury, Conn.)
1st 11:40 ROW Chris Garcia 15 yd pass from Louie Bianchini (Mike Burke kick)
02:15 ROW Matt Dortch 5 yd run (Mike Burke kick failed)
2nd 12:07 WCSU Octavius McKoy 1 yd run (Tommy Bruder kick)
06:21 WCSU Connor Falaguerra 5 yd pass from Will Arndt (Tommy Bruder kick)
02:18 ROW Matt Dortch 8 yd run (Mike Burke kick)
02:07 WCSU Connor Falaguerra 65 yd pass from Will Arndt (Tommy Bruder kick)
3rd 01:16 ROW Chris Garcia 4 yd pass from Louie Bianchini (Mike Burke kick)
4th 11:13 ROW Mike Burke 21 yd field goal
02:31 WCSU Tommy Bruder 27 yd field goal
RUSHING: Rowan-Matt Dortch 27-139; Keith Corcoran 14-52; Withler Macelin 2-11;
Michael Weber 3-4; Louie Bianchini 6-4; TEAM 2-minus 4. Western
Connecticut-Octavius McKoy 25-87; Chris Elser 1-19; Will Arndt 1-4.
PASSING: Rowan-Louie Bianchini 18-27-1-163. Western Connecticut-Will Arndt
22-41-3-287; Anthony Biasetti 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: Rowan-Jake Yates 4-39; Withler Macelin 3-49; Chris Garcia 3-27;
Anthony Barone 3-26; Dan Reed 2-14; Keith Corcoran 2-1; Matt Dortch 1-7. Western
Connecticut-Connor Falaguerra 8-127; Octavius McKoy 6-58; Marquies Highsmith
4-44; Stephen DeJournett 2-31; Chris Elser 2-27.
INTERCEPTIONS: Rowan-Frank Rubino 1-1; Dan Reed 1-0; Steve Fortune 1-0. Western
Connecticut-Tyrell Ballard 1-70.