FDU-Florham 28, St. Vincent 23

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MADISON, NJ — MADISON, NJ - Senior quarterback Matt Jeffers (Burlington, NJ/Burlington) went 16-of-26 for 287 yards and four touchdowns while freshman wide receiver Anthony Fruncillo (Tinton Falls, NJ/Monmouth Regional) caught five passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead the College at Florham Devils to a season-opening 28-23 win over St. Vincent in the MAC/PAC Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, the Devils improved to 1-0 while the Bearcats dropped to 0-2.

The FDU defense forced a three-and-out on the first series of the game and on the first play of the first possession of the season, Jeffers hit Fruncillo for a 65-yard play-action pass touchdown to give the Devils a 7-0 lead. Neither team could get much going after that as penalties bogged down both offenses but with 7:34 left in the first quarter, St. Vincent took over at their own 42 yard line. On third-and-three from their 49, junior quarterback Aaron Smetanka (Allison Park, PA/North Catholic) hit junior wide receiver Tom Quirin (Pittsburgh, PA/Central Catholic) for a 51-yard scoring strike to tie the game at 7-7.

The Devils got the ball back at the end of the first quarter and carried it over to the start of the second quarter, where they drove nine plays and 53 yards to take a 14-7 lead on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Jeffers to senior running back Brendon Griffin (Riverside, NJ/Riverside). During the drive, Griffin carried four times for 22 yards while also catching the touchdown pass. Both offenses were stiffled for the remainder of the half but the FDU defense did cause two turnovers when senior defensive end Anthony DelConte (Garwood, NJ/Arthur L. Johnson) recovered a fumble and senior cornerback Matt Porricelli (Howell, NJ/Freehold Twp.) intercepted a hail mary attempt to end the first half.

FDU started the second half much like they started the first as on the second play of their first drive Jeffers hit sophomore wide receiver Doug Van Orden (Madison, NJ/Madison) for a 51-yard touchdown pass for a 21-7 lead. On the play, it looked like Van Orden was tackled but his knees never hit the ground so while the St. Vincent defense stopped playing, Van Orden scampered into the end zone for the score. The Bearcats got the ball back and on their ensuing drive, they went 58 yards in eight plays capped by a 21-yard field goal by senior kicker Aaron Jones (Blairsville, PA/Blairsville) to cut the deficit to 21-10 with 10:56 left in the third quarter. The Devils though responded immediately as well, getting the ball back at their own 37 yard line and going 63 yards in five plays to make it 28-10 on an amazing one-handed touchdown grab by Fruncillo from 30 yards out. On the first two plays, senior running back Bayshawn Wells (Lawrence, NJ/Lawrence) ran for a combined 15 yards then Jeffers ran for nine more yards. Jeffers then found junior wide receiver Tim Grey (Ft. Washington, PA/Upper Dublin) for nine yards to set up Fruncillo's acrobatic score.

The score remained 28-10 throughout the rest of the third quarter but St. Vincent narrowed the gap to 28-17 early in the fourth on a four-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Smith (Hawthorn, PA/Redbank Valley) to freshman tight end Cody Strelick (Charleroi, PA/Charleroi Area). The Bearcats then pulled out a little trickery when the successfully executed on onsides-kick to get the ball back at their own 41 yard line. They then proceeded to go 59 yards in seven plays to cut it to 28-23 when Smetanka connected with sophomore wide receiver Ricky Douglas (Finleyville, PA/Ringgold) on a 36-yard touchdown pass with 7:10 left in the game. St. Vincent went for the two-point conversion but failed, keeping the score at 28-23.

The Devil offense then fluttered though, allowing St. Vincent one last change to win the game. After FDU failed on a fourth-and-one from the Bearcat 48 yard line, St. Vincent took over and drove down to the FDU 16 yard line where they faced a fourth-and-10 with 0:41 remaining. Smetkana tried to throw a fade into the corner of the end zone by junior cornerback Sean McPherson (Brick, NJ/Brick) picked him off to seal the win for the Devils on opening day.

Grey finished the game with four catches for 41 yards while Van Orden made two grab for 59 yards and the score. Defensively, sophomore safety Joe Mancini (Miller Place, NY/Miller Place) tied for a game-high with 11 tackles while junior linebacker Steve Hoverson (Middletown, NJ/Middletown North) and junior defensive tackle Gilbert Taylor (Salem, NJ/Salem) each had a sack.

The Devils return to action on Friday, September 17, 2010, at home against TCNJ beginning at 7 pm.