UNION, N.J. (10/22/11) – Junior Darius Kinney had 177 yards of total offense and two touchdowns and freshman Reginald Hodge-Grant made a pair of interceptions to lead the #19 Kean University football team to a 26-13 win over Morrisville State College in New Jersey Athletic Conference action in front of a Homecoming crowd on Saturday afternoon.
Kinney had 157 yards rushing and added a 20-yard touchdown reception for the Cougars (6-1, 5-1 NJAC), who also received 84 yards receiving from junior T.J. Denehy.
For the Mustangs (1-6, 1-5 NJAC), quarterback Lemar Johnson had 197 yards passing and 128 yards on the ground.
The Cougars took a 7-0 lead on their third possession of the game, as Kinney broke a 55-yard touchdown run on the fifth play of the 66-yard drive for his first touchdown of the season and the only score of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Denehy set up the Cougars in Morrisville territory with a 33-yard punt return to the Mustang 47-yard line. Kinney had three carries for 27 yards before connecting with quarterback Thomas D'Ambrisi on the 20-yard touchdown reception, giving the Cougars a 13-0 lead following a botched snap on the point after attempt.
After the two teams traded three-and-out possessions, Hodge would end a long Mustang drive with his first interception of the season, as Morrisville went for it on fourth-and-five just outside the red zone and Hodge-Grant made the interception at the Kean 23-yard line.
With less than two minutes remaining in the half, the Cougars looked to add more points to the board on the ensuing drive. Kean went 58 yards in eight plays, before Mustang sophomore Austin Erlwein intercepted what appeared to be a 19-yard touchdown pass to Kean tight end Scott Davis in the endzone, as the score remained 13-0 heading into halftime.
The Cougar defense forced Morrisville to punt after just three plays to open the second half and would extend the lead to 16-0 with the 40-yard field goal by senior kicker Billy Daniels on Kean's first drive of third quarter.
Johnson would help Morrisville answer right back with a scoring drive, as he carried the ball four times for 28 yards, before completing a 26-yard touchdown pass to Nate McConnell to cap the eight-play, 75-yard drive. Kean junior Brett Yajcaji blocked the extra point attempt to keep the double-digit lead for the Cougars at 16-6 midway through the third quarter.
A dead-ball penalty against the Cougars led the Mustangs to attempt the on-side kick from their own 45-yard line, however Kean junior Jerelle Peay fell on the ball for the Cougars at the Kean-31-yard line. The Kean offense would go right back to work, as a 41-yard completion to Denehy would move the Cougars inside the redzone. Daniels would later extend the Kean lead to 19-6 with the 27-yard field goal with just under four minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Cougar defense would set up another touchdown drive, as senior nose tackle Ray Wegrzynek sacked Johnson for a 23-yard loss back to the Morrisville 33-yard line on fourth down. After taking over on downs, D'Ambrisi completed a five-yard pass to Chris Suozzo and senior running back Chris DiMicco added a pair of rushes for 12 yards, before D'Ambrisi hit Denehy at the goal line with the 16-yard touchdown reception for the 26-6 lead following the Daniels extra point.
Johnson opened the next Morrisville possession with a seven-yard completion and after five Johnson carries for 36 yards and a pair of Cougar penalties, freshman running back Earl Sneak carried the ball the final six yards for the rushing touchdown with less than five minutes remaining, as Morrisville cut the Kean lead to 26-13 following the extra point.
Hodge-Grant would seal the win for the Cougars with his second interception of the game, as he ended a 10-play, 80-yard drive by the Mustangs in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. After Morrisville started its final drive at their own 14-yard line, Johnson completed 4-of-7 passes for 86 yards, including a 57-yard completion to Josh Powell to set up first-and-goal at the Kean six-yard line. On the very next play, Hodge-Grant intercepted the Johnson pass in the endzone and the Cougars took a knee to seal the conference victory
Kinney had 13 carries for 157 yards and one touchdown, while DiMicco added nine rushes for 40 yards. D'Ambrisi completed 14-of-23 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, junior linebacker Brad Higgins had eight tackles, including seven solo stops and two tackles for a loss of three yards. Junior Mike Mancini added seven solo stops, while senior Bekim Bujari had five solo tackles and one quarterback hurry.
For the Mustangs, Johnson completed 14-of-32 passes for 197 yards and one touchdown and added 30 carries for 128 yards. McConnell made five receptions for 76 yards.
On defense, junior Terrance Parson and freshman TJ Barnaba each made five solo stops to lead the Mustangs.
Kean hosts Rowan University in the Cougars final regular season home game next Saturday, October 29. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.