UNION, N.J. – A fourth-quarter touchdown as well as a late blocked field goal allowed William Paterson (3-4, 1-3 NJAC) to hold off Kean (1-5, 0-3 NJAC), spoiling the Cougars' Homecoming festivities with a 21-20 victory Oct. 19.
Senior quarterback Ryan Gresik (Newton, N.J./Newton) finished 16-for-24 for 182 yards and three touchdowns, and junior defensive back Elijah DeGuzman (Pennsauken, N.J./Pennsauken) led the defensive effort with seven tackles (five solo).
Neither team could get much going offensively until late in the first quarter when Kean's Bill Cullen connected on a 35-yard field goal with 3:51 on the clock. Quarterback Robert Meade's one-yard touchdown carry 3:27 into the second quarter extended the Cougars' lead to 10-0.
WP answered during its next possession, converting on fourth-and-one thanks to a five-yard carry by sophomore running back Matt Deiana (Somers, N.Y./Somers) to move the chains inside the Kean 30-yard line. Back-to-back penalties by the Cougar defense made it first-and-10 at the KU-8, and Gresik covered the remaining distance with his first of two touchdown passes on the day to senior wide receiver Julian Frazier (Plainfield, N.J./North Plainfield). Junior Robert Sinegra (Wharton, N.J./Morris Knolls) kicked the extra point and the Pioneers were trailing by just three at 10-7 midway through the second.
Two punts later, Cullen converted his second 35-yarder of the afternoon, this one 21 seconds before halftime to allow the Cougars to carry a 13-7 advantage into the locker room.
William Paterson received the kickoff to open the second half but was eventually forced to punt it back to Kean, and the Cougars took advantage, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive with an 11-yard pass by Damian Corredor to Prince Stewart (20-7, 7:12).
The Pioneers again answered a KU score, this time with a 16-yard Gresik toss to junior Mike Vannucci (Bethpage, N.Y./Plainedge) to make it a one-possession game at 20-14 with 4:44 to play in the third quarter.
The WP defense forced a three-and-out, but a 63-yard punt pinned the Pioneers back at their own three-yard line. A 25-yard pickup by sophomore running back Dwaine Dabney (Summit, N.J./Summit) gave William Paterson some breathing room at its own 40, but two straight holding penalties threatened to stall the possession, making it first-and-30 at the WP-20.
Deiana carried for 10 yards on first down before a 54-yard Gresik-to-Darius Kersey (Dover, N.J./Dover) pass on the final play of the third quarter put WP in the red zone at the 16-yard line. Gresik hit Frazier for an 11-yard completion, then found Frazier again for a five-yard touchdown. Sinegra's extra point gave William Paterson its first lead of the game, 21-20, with 14:20 remaining.
Each team had a three-and-out offensive possession before Kean started to move the ball down the field, eventually lining up for a Cullen attempt from 24 yards out. Freshman defensive back Kell'E Gallimore (Plainfield, N.J./Plainfield) came off the edge and blocked the field goal, keeping WP's lead intact with just 4:42 to play in the contest.
The Pioneers were able to run out the rest of the clock, thanks in large part to a 12-yard completion by Gresik to senior wide receiver Mick Paye (Lumberton, N.J./Rancocas Valley Regional) on third-and-nine from the WP-31.
Deiana gained 52 yards on 15 carries, and Paye caught six passes for 42 yards. Frazier finished with four receptions for 31 yards and two scores, and punted six times for an average of 42.7 yards.
Junior defensive lineman Pat Thomas (Lodi, N.J./Lodi) finished with six tackles (four solo), and all five of Gallimore's stops were solo. Sophomore linebacker Dennis Goodman (Somerset, N.J./Bishop Ahr) added four solo tackles (2.0 TFL, 1.0 sack).
Meade was 5-for-13 for 173 yards for Kean, and Sean McKee rushed 14 times for 90 yards. Tahj Hammary hauled in three passes for 155 yards.
Bob Klecha paced the Cougar defense with 10 tackles (eight solo, 1.5 TFL), and Stephan Lewis and Dwayne Brown each contributed six stops.
William Paterson will host Rowan Saturday, Oct. 26, at 1:00 p.m.