GLASSBORO, NJ – The Rowan University football team stopped #11/13 Salisbury University on its final three possessions to hold on for a 34-30 upset victory on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
It's the second straight week that the Profs (4-1, NJAC 3-1) have knocked off an undefeated, ranked opponent. Rowan took the 34-30 lead, with 12:24 to play in the fourth after quarterback Dante Pinckney (jr. Lawnside, NJ/Haddon Heights) found wide receiver Zac Frantz (sr. Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) from 13 yards out for a touchdown. The eight-play drive traveled 71 yards in four minutes and included a 42-yard completion to Frantz.
On Salisbury's (4-1, NJAC 3-1) ensuing drive, running back Malique Pratt (jr. Shady Side, MD/Southern) had the ball stripped by defensive lineman Will Flake (sr. Tabernacle, NJ/Seneca) at the one yard line and recovered by defensive lineman David Gajderawicz (fr. Medford, NJ/Shawnee) in the end zone for a touchback. On the Seagulls next two possessions, the Profs stopped them on fourth down, the second time with 1:04 on the clock. Rowan then ran the clock out for the victory.
Pinckney threw for 300 yards (17-22) and three touchdowns and ran the ball three times for 17 yards. Frantz caught four passes for 141 yards and two scores. Running back Gawain Bragg (jr. Sicklerville, NJ/Winslow Twp.) had 17 carries for 51 yards and a TD and running back Anthony Diorio (so. Medford, NJ/Shawnee) had 64 yards on 11 touches. Wideout Dashown Waller (jr. Somers Point, NJ/Mainland) made four receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Tyler Knighton (jr. Gibbstown, NJ/Paulsboro) made two field goals, giving him 25 for his career, which is a program record. The previous record of 24 was held by Gaetan Leone (1989-92).
Linebacker Ryan Brenner (sr. Northfield, NJ/Mainland Reg.) led the defense with 12 tackles. Defensive back Shaquille Lee (sr. Millville, NJ/Millville) recorded 10 stops, including three for a loss (6 yards). Defensive lineman Chris Henchy (jr. Egg Harbor City, NJ/Absegami) made nine tackles, including 2.5 for a loss (5 yards).
For Salisbury, quarterback Brandon Lewis (jr. Bel Air, MD/John Carroll) ran for 134 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. He made three completions in 10 attempts for 58 yards and a score. Slot Ryan Kolb (jr. Manassas Park, VA/Manassas Park) rushed 12 times for 100 yards. Superback Dandre Dennis (jr. Pleasantville, NJ/Holy Spirit) had 14 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Slot Aarron Moore (sr. Fenwick, DE/Indian River) caught a 21-yard touchdown pass.
Linebacker Patrick Bernardo (fr. Potomac, MD/Wootton) recorded 10 tackles. Linebacker DJ Davis (jr. Gaithersburg, MD/Northwest) added nine and defensive lineman Devon McClain (jr. Glen Burnie, MD/Old Mill) chipped in with eight.
Rowan forced a three and out to start the game and took the ball at its own 31 yard line. On the second play of the drive, Pinckney hit Waller for a 64-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 12:23 on the clock in the first. Salisbury took the ensuing kickoff and drove the ball 73 yards on seven plays, capped off by a six-yard scoring run by Dennis at the 8:59 mark. The Seagulls got the ball back at their own 28 yard line after a Profs punt. Lewis ended the 72-yard drive on the seventh play with a seven yard scoring run. The point after attempt was missed and the score was 13-7 with 4:39 to play.
Rowan trimmed the deficit to three (13-10) after a 40-yard field goal by Knighton with 24-seconds remaining in the first. Lewis found Moore from 21-yards out to end a six-play, 59-yard drive and give the Seagulls a 20-10 lead. The Profs scored the only points of the second frame as Knighton booted a 33 yard field goal with 46-seconds on the clock, making the halftime score 20-13.
On the first play of the third quarter, Pinckney connected with Frantz for a 75-yard touchdown, tying the game just 14-seconds into the stanza. After a 15-yard penalty and a 20-yard return, Salisbury was setup on the Rowan 41 yard line. Dennis rumbled 41-yards on the first play from scrimmage, giving the Seagulls the lead back, 27-20 with 14:34 on the clock. The Profs then used a 10-play 64-yard drive that concluded with a four-yard touchdown run by Bragg that knotted the game at 27 with 9:20 on the clock. The big play on the drive was a pass interference penalty that put the Profs just outside the redzone.
The Seagulls took the advantage back with a 23 yard field goal by kicker Alex Potocko (jr. Clarksville, MD/River Hill) at the 6:15 mark. Salisbury thought they had a touchdown on its first play of the drive, but an apparent scoring run was called back by a taunting penalty. The game went to the fourth with Salisbury holding a 30-27 lead.
Rowan travels to Southern Virginia University on Saturday, Oct. 15 for a 1 p.m. kickoff.