UNION, N.J. (9/25/15) – Sophomore Steve Ferlisi connected on a walk-off field goal as the Kean University football team topped William Paterson 27-24 in a wild NJAC matchup on Friday night. Junior running back Damian Corredor racked up 117 yards rushing and had two touchdowns on the night for Kean.
On the game's first drive, facing fourth-and-14 from the 25 yard line, Kean starting quarterback Tyler Rodriguez lofted a pass deep in the endzone. Tahj Hammary hauled it in - just over leaping defender - for the game's first touchdown. Kean took the 6-0 lead five minutes into the game.
Paterson scored seven minutes later on a long 79-yard run by Malcom Robinson. Seven Cougars had a chance to tackle him on the play, but Robinson made some nifty moves for the score.
Other than that play, the Kean defense held WP to less than 100 total yards in the first half. LeRon Dillard also blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt by William Paterson; those three points saved would prove to be the deciding margin.
Later in the first half, facing another fourth down in Paterson territory, Kean had a touchdown called back for holding. Two minutes into the second quarter, Kean had already been called for six infractions.
Though the Cougars had missed two kicks in the opening half (1 FG, 1 PAT), they had enough confidence to give Ferlisi a shot at a 34-yard field goal at the end of the first half. He made it with time expiring to give Kean the halftime lead, 9-7.
Kean's Corredor had 75 yards rushing in the first half. Rodriguez was 13-20 with 117 yards.
But Paterson took the opening possession of the second half down for a touchdown, swinging the lead back to the visitors, 14-9.
On the next Kean possession, Charles App hooked up with Corredor (pictured left) on a screen pass to convert a third-and-17 play, get the Cougars to midfield and keep the drive alive. Corredor would go on to cap the drive with a sweet move for TD, and Jonathan Schmitt caught the two-point conversion to make the score 17-14 Kean.
As the action shifted to the fourth quarter, Paterson tied the game at 17 on a field goal on the first play of the period.
Later in the fourth, App and Corredor connected again for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Corredor somehow kept the ball from hitting the turf and then dragged three defenders into the endzone for the go-ahead touchdown.
Less than three minutes later, however, Paterson's Matt Deiana caught a touchdown pass from Malik McNeil to tie the game 24.
The Cougars took over with 2:13 on the clock. App marched Kean down the field in nine plays. He factored on five of them, with 20 yards in the air and another 19 on the ground he put Kean and Ferlisi in position to win it with five seconds to go. Ferlisi's field goal set off a spirited celebration at Kean Alumni Stadium.
Neither team had a lead of more than seven points in the game. The Cougars were able to overcome 13 penalties for 134 yards on the night. Paterson was flagged for another nine infractions.
After coming off the bench, App (pictured left) was 12-18 on the night for 148 yards. The sophomore also added 77 yards on the ground.
Schmitt and Hammary both caught seven passes for the Cougars.
Ferlisi also served as Kean's punter in the game and pinned the Pioneers inside their own 20 three different times, including once all the way back to their own one-yard line.
Darin Hungerford had six tackles including Kean's only sack. Dillard (pictured right) led the team with eight tackles and two pass breakups.
Kean is now 3-0 to start the season after winning just two games all of last season.
The Cougars will travel for a conference matchup against new NJAC rival Frostburg State University at 1 p.m. on October 3 in Maryland.