Montclair State Turns Over TCNJ, Turns in 24-14 Homecoming Victory
Montclair, NJ – Junior running back Bill Roman (Annandale, NJ, St. Peter's Prep) rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns while freshman Rashad White (Teaneck, NJ, Teaneck) returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score as Montclair State snapped a two-game losing streak with a 24-14 Homecoming victory over The College of New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.
The MSU defense forced seven turnovers as the Red Hawks avoided their first three-game losing streak in 17 years, improving to 3-4 overall, 3-2 in the NJAC. Montclair State also upped its record in the oldest active in-state collegiate football rivalry to 50-28-2 over the Lions with their 11th win in the last 14 meetings.
Senior quarterback Daniel Duhttp://montclairathletics.com/admin/admin_main.aspxgan (Clark, NJ / Arthur L. Johnson) accounted for TCNJ touchdowns as the Lions dropped their second straight falling to 2-4 overall, 1-3 NJAC.
Taking over at its own 9, TCNJ marched 63 yards in 14 plays moving to the Montclair 28 before making the first of its crucial mistakes in the game as Dugan was picked off by junior safety Matt Mancino (Wall, NJ, Wall). Montclair would give the ball back on a punt however on the first play linebacker Adnan Sakiri (Ramsey, NJ, Ramsey) forced a fumble that was recovered by Marc Aspinwall (Little Ferry, NJ, Ridgefield Park) as the Red Hawks took over at their own 26.
Montclair State then cashed in with a 74-yard drive to take the lead. Drew Cathey (East Rutherford, NJ, Becton Regional) found Nick Cassetta (Lodi, NJ, Lodi) for 24 yards to midfield on the first play and several runs later, Montclair had the ball at the TCNJ 27. Cathey found Bryan Ogden (Wayne, NJ, Wayne Hills) for nine yards and Roman rushed for 10 yards to the TCNJ 8 as the first quarter ended.
The Red Hawks drive stalled at the Lions 6 to start the second quarter however a pass interference penalty kept the drive going with Roman finishing it off on a two-yard run as Montclair State led 7-0 with 13:10 left.
Midway through the quarter the two teams traded fumbles as MSU's Axhi Sakiri (Ramsey, NJ, Ramsey) recovered a fumble by the Lions which then was turned back over as TCNJ's Nick Bricker (Middletown, NJ / Middletown South) forced a fumble that was scooped up Thomas Masi (Middletown, NJ / Middletown South) giving TCNJ the ball at its own 19.
That turnover sparked the Lions who then marched 81 yards in 2:32 to tie the game. Dugan hit Justin Doniloski (Rockaway, NJ / Morris Hills) for 19 yards and later found Matthew Rosati (Bayonne, NJ / Bayonne) for 23 yards down to the MSU 26. Following a pair of run, Dugan connected with Nicholas Tyson (Freehold, NJ / Freehold Boro) for a 16-yard score as TCNJ knotted the contest at 7-7 with 4:10 to play before halftime.
The score wouldn't be tied for long as White electrified and dazzled the Homecoming crowd of nearly 4,500 with the longest kickoff return by an MSU player since 2005 and the first run back for a score since Jeff Bliss went 89 yards against Wesley in 2007. Taking the ball at his own 9, White avoided three tacklers at the 30 yardline before bursting through a seam and stepping away from a shoe-string tackle near midfield. He then cut back across the field and outraced several more defenders for the touchdown as Montclair State led 14-7.
Things would get worse for TCNJ as it fumbled on its ensuing possession after driving to the MSU 35. Dugan was sacked by Dan Barletta (New Providence, NJ, New Providence) who then recovered the fumble giving Montclair possession at its own 45 with two minutes left.
MSU turned that into points as Cathey found Aaron Williams (West Orange, NJ, Jonathan Dayton) for 20 yards on a 3rd-and-10 and had three more completions which got the ball to the TCNJ 18 with 19 seconds left. Kicker John Schubert (Maybrook, NY, Valley Central) connected from 35 yards out as the Red Hawks led 17-7 at halftime.
TCNJ would get the ball to start the second half was forced to punt giving possession back to MSU. On the first play Roman ripped off a 66-yard touchdown run as the Red Hawks extended their lead to 24-7 just 74 seconds into the third quarter.
It then went from bad to worse for the Lions as they fumbled on the kickoff giving the Red Hawks the ball at the New Jersey 22. But the Lions defense held as TCNJ avoided any further damage as Matt Chierici (Towaco, NJ / Montvile) blocked a field goal attempt.
New Jersey gave the ball right back as Fred Sprengel (Wall, NJ / Wall) couldn't hold on to a lateral pass which was picked up by Montclair's Allen Phillips (Kenilworth, NJ, David Brearley) who returned the fumble to the TCNJ 20. The Lions would hold again as Thomas Hoppe (Manville, NJ / Immaculata) got a sack forcing MSU to punt.
TCNJ cut the lead to 24-14 as Dugan ran the final 21 yards of a 10-play, 80-yard drive with 5:47 to go in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Chierici blocked another MSU field goal and the Lions looked to capitalize on the momentum shift driving to the Montclair 31. But on a 4th-and-3, Axhi Sakiri and C.J. Conway (Folsom, NJ, Hammonton) stopped Tyson two yards short of a first down which turned out to be the Lions last major threat.
Cathey was 15-of-26 for 145 yards for Montclair State with Ogden getting six catches. Williams and Mark Reynolds (Hackettstown, NJ, Hackettstown) had three receptions each. Adnan Sakiri had nine tackles for the Red Hawks while Conway and Michael Klimek (Cranford, NJ, Cranford), who had an interception, posted eight and seven tackles, respectively. Defensive lineman Rob Allen (Perth Amboy, NJ, Old Bridge) also had seven tackles.
Dugan was 26-of-50 through the air of 234 yards and also rushed for 42 yars on nine carries. Doniloski had eight receptions for 54 yards in addition to rushing 15 times for 66 yards. Linebackers Greg Burns (Hamilton, NJ / Hamilton West) led all tacklers with 12 as he topped the 300-tackle mark for his career. Bricker finished with 11 tackles.
Montclair State is now off until Saturday, October 27 as they travel to Danbury, CT to face Western Connecticut in a 1:00 pm kickoff as the Westside Athletic Complex. TCNJ will host its own Homecoming contest next Saturday, October 20 as the Lions battle Kean University at 2:00 pm.