Montclair, NJ (9/18/10) – Junior wide receiver Byron Lewin (Carteret, NJ / Carteret) pulled in eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown while running back Chris D'Andrea (Union, NJ / Union) ran for 128 yards and a score as 23rd-ranked Montclair State used two big plays in the first half en route to a 26-7 win over Rowan in the NJAC opener for both teams at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback Tom Fischer (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns as the defending NJAC champion Red Hawks moved to 2-0 (1-0 NJAC) on the year, the 29th time in program history that Montclair has begun a season with two victories.
The game marked the 50th meeting between the two schools as Montclair upped its mark to 29-21 with their fifth straight win over the Profs, its longest streak since a seven-game run from 1984-90.
Senior defensive lineman Matt Hoffman (Burlington, NJ / Burlington) recorded eight tackles and three sacks for the Profs, who fell to 1-1 on the year.
Rowan took the opening kickoff and moved down to the MSU 35 before stalling with the drive. Facing a 4th-and-4, quarterback Kenny Brock (Burlington, NJ / Burlington Township) pooch-kicked the ball to the MSU 11 pinning the Red Hawks deep. Or so it seemed.
That's because on the first play, D'Andrea raced around the left side and raced 89-yards for his third score of the season and a 7-0 Montclair State lead 3:30 into the contest.
The game would stay that way through the rest of the half as neither team was able to solve the others defense. Montclair totaled 109 yards the rest of the half while the Profs managed just 86 on its final six possessions after the initial drive.
Late in the second quarter, the Profs would move the ball to the MSU 39, however Brock was sacked by Shaun Bach (Upper Saddle River, NJ / Northern Highlands) and Alex Vasilenko (Spring Lake Heights, NJ / Manasuqan) on fourth down turning the ball over the MSU with 1:18 remaining.
Montclair would get the ball to the Rowan 45 with eight seconds left as Fischer hits Lewin for six yards. With one last play remaining, the Red Hawks went into their bag of tricks with a perfectly executed "hook-and-ladder" play. Lewin pulled in the ball at the Rowan 35 before flipping a lateral to Bobby Roesing (Secaucus, NJ / Secaucus), who then raced the final yardage down the left sideline for the score as Montclair led 14-0 at the break.
In the second half, the defensive battle continued. Rowan's first possession took it down to the MSU 32 before stalling and a Montclair drive midway through the period ended at the Rowan 37 as the game remained 14-0. The Red Hawks would get the ball back at the Rowan 35 following a punt and kick-catching interference penalty. Three plays into the drive, Fischer hit Lewin for a touchdown as the Montclair lead grew to 2-0 with 1:15 to go in the quarter.
A fumble by the Red Hawks breathed some life into Rowan. Hoffman recovered a Fischer fumble at the MSU 16. Brock converted a 3rd-and-10 with a 12-yard run to the Montclair 4. Hevalow then rambled for the touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Profs closed to 20-7.
After forcing a Montclair punt on its next possession, the Profs looked to cut that deficit deeper as it went from its own 27 to the MSU 16 with just over nine minutes on the clock. But Carroll misfired on two straight attempts leaving Rowan with a fourth-and-5. Following timeout, Brock dropped back to pass and scrambled looking for the first down only to be stopped by Ed Kirschenbaum (Lake Como, NJ / Manasquan) two yards shy of the marker as Montclair State took over on downs.
The Red Hawks then changed the momentum on the second play as Fischer hit Dan Keegan (Fairfield, NJ / West Essex), who mad a diving catch along the sideline for a 32-yard gain out to the MSU 47. Freshman A.J. Scoppa (New Milford, NJ / New Milford) had back-to-back two-yard runs before ripping off a 47-yard run down to the Rowan 2. He would score on the next play as Montclair led 26-7 with 5:31 on the clock.
Scoppa finished with 73 yards on 14 carries while Fischer went 13-of-24 through the air with two interceptions. Defensively, Kirschenbaum led MSU with 12 tackles while Mario McLean (Montville, NJ / Montville) and Chad Faulcon (Cranford, NJ / Cranford) each had nine. Bach finished with six tackles and two sacks while Kevin Cloghessy (West Hempstead, NY / Hempstead) added seven tackles and a breakup.
Brock led Rowan with 135 yards of total offense. He was the Profs' leading ground gainer with 72 yards on 16 carries while going 7-of-28 for 63 yards. Keith Corcoran (Atlantic City, NJ / St. Joseph's (Hammonton)) had 18 rushed for 66 while Hevalow was 13 carries for 58 yards as Rowan ran for 203 on the ground. Dean Hammel (Sewell, NJ / Washington Township) led the Profs with 11 tackles.
Both teams are back in action next Saturday, September 25. Montclair State is on the road to face Morrisville State in Upstate New York while Rowan is back home to take on William Paterson. Both kickoffs are slated for 1:00 pm.