Morrisville State takes down NJAC favored Rowan, pulls 41-21 upset
MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – The Morrisville State College football team posted the biggest upset in program history Saturday afternoon, handing New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) favored Rowan University a 41-21 conference defeat on Drake Field in Morrisville.
The victory is the third straight for the Mustangs this season and the second within the conference, as they improve to 3-2 overall, and 2-0 in NJAC play. It is the first win for Morrisville State against Rowan in six meetings.
Rowan drops to 3-2 overall, and falls to 2-1 in NJAC action.
Morrisville State's offensive scheme met the Profs head-on and managed to total 444 yards total offense on the day, including 193 on the ground against a Rowan defense that has been stingy all season, allowing on average just 105 yards in the running game.
Junior quarterback Lemar Johnson (Ossining, N.Y.) completed 17-of-31 passes on the day for two touchdowns, adding a net 78 yards in the rushing game for three scores. Cristian Pena (Ridgewood, N.Y.) added 97 yards and a score on the ground, while racking up 63 yards on four receptions in the passing game.
Josh Powell (Yonkers, N.Y.) posted his fourth straight 100+ yard receiving game, catching five for an even 100 yards.
Defensively, Morrisville State held Rowan to 297 yards total offense and forced three turnovers, including an interception and two fumbles. A trio of Mustangs paved the way with nine tackles each, including Travis French (Newark Valley, N.Y.) who made five solo tackles, while teammates Jeremy Stewart (Moravia, N.Y.) and Delroy Young (Binghamton, N.Y.) each posted nine.
David Williams (Central Islip, N.Y.) had seven stuffs up the center, also recording a tackle for a loss of a yard.
Rowan's Paul Hamersma connected on 17-of-34 attempts for 178 yards and an interception, five to Frankie Goris who posted a team high 78 yards in the receiving game. Withler Marcelin carried the ball 24 times for a net 84-yards and two scores to lead the Profs on the ground.
Darren Dungee put forth a 14 tackle performance for the Profs in the defensive effort, registering a sack for a loss of 11 yards.
Morrisville State went scoreless on the opening drive, but quickly regained possession as Javion Bobb (Brooklyn, N.Y.) forced a Marcelin fumble that was recovered by Williams at the Rowan 19 yard line minutes into the contest.
Following a 12-yard rushing gain down to the seven, Johnson hit Anthony Gray (Smallwood, N.Y.) in the back left corner of the endzone for the early score and 7-0 Mustang lead.
On the ensuing possession, Rowan used their running game to march downfield, capping off a seven play, 55-yard drive with a five yard rushing score from Matt Dortch.
The Profs regained the ball after just three Mustang plays as a pass from Johnson sailed off the fingertips of a tight end and into the hands of John Albecker at the Mustangs 42 yard line, setting up a five play drive that was capped off by a Marcelin score for the 14-7 Rowan lead after the opening quarter.
After a quarter closing punt that gave Rowan midfield position, Morrisville State's defense started the second in the same manner as the first, and forced the second Prof turnover of the day. Marcelin had a 12-yard gain before Caleb Wright (Cortland, N.Y.) got a hand on the ball and popped it loose into the arms of Chad Dorrance (Cazenovia, N.Y.) on the Mustangs 37 yard line.
Rowan forced a quick three and out for the Mustangs on the ensuing drive, before surrendering the ball themselves to a punt that was returned by Gray down to the Rowan 42.
Following two touches by Pena early on in the drive, Johnson found a hole up center behind lineman Nate Ryan (Staten Island, N.Y.) that resulted in a 43-yard rushing score, tying the contest at 14 at 11:04 in the quarter.
Late in the quarter, faced with a third and six situation, Johnson threaded the ball in between two defenders to Gray at the Rowan 36, before the offensive line provided a wide open hole for Pena up the center for the 36-yard score and 21-14 Mustang lead at the half.
In the third, Morrisville State defensive back Freddie Gaetan (Bronx, N.Y.) had a huge pass breakup deep in Mustang territory to force a quick three-and-out on Rowans opening drive.
Morrisville State was unable to capitalize off the ensuing drive, but a crucial illegal block by Rowan on the punt return pinned the Profs deep in their own territory to start their drive.
Hamersma chipped away at the Mustang defense before finding a wide open Frankie Goris for a 17-yard gain. Goris was dragged down from behind by French who saved the touchdown, but another double figure gain by Goris three plays later positioned Rowan for the one-yard scoring run, and 21 all game.
For most of the contest, Rowan applied double coverage on Powell, but it didn't stop Johnson from threading the needle to one of the Mustangs top receivers on third down, including a 20-yard completion that somehow landed in the arms of Powell at the Rowan 10.
Johnson converted the fourth down for the Mustangs, and picked up a six yard gain, down to the Rowan four, before carrying the ball in for his second score of the day to cap off the 13-play, 77-yard drive with 3:34 to go in the third.
On the ensuring Rowan drive, the Morrisville State defense again forced a third down for Rowan, and Young came up huge in the secondary, knocking away a ball from Joe Marchiani that would have given the Profs a first down and brought them within Mustang territory.
With what appeared to be a tiring Rowan defense, the Mustangs didn't let up for the final two minutes of the quarter, and behind great blocking by the offensive line, and specifically Ryan and Ryan Mogensen (Westernville, N.Y.), Pena was able to find a hole twice for a 16-yard gain, before Johnson hit Powell on a 20-yard pass play down to the Rowan 26.
After being backed up by a holding penalty, Johnson found a wide open Shane Carroll (Morrisville, N.Y.) on an 18-yard pass play to get into the red zone, and gave Pena two straight calls, getting down to the Rowan two yard line.
A personal foul penalty backed the Mustangs up again, but Johnson found Clarke wide open on the slant for the 15-yard score early in the fourth, for a 34-21 Morrisville State lead.
With Rowan threatening to drive midway through the fourth quarter to get back within reach, French came out of nowhere to sack Hamersma for a 15-yard loss and force the Profs to punt.
The following Morrisville State drive resulted in a punt, but one by Tyler Dunworth (Poestenkill, N.Y.) that took a bounce and pinned Rowan on their own two yard line with 3:17 to go in the quarter.
Rowan's fate was sealed on the following drive attempt as Hamersma was intercepted by Stewart at the 36-yard line, and returned 24-yards, setting up a 12-yard scoring drive for the 41-21 upset victory over a team that has garnered national attention.
Morrisville State is on the road next week at The College of New Jersey, taking on the Lions at noon.
Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President's Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.