Devils Beat TCNJ In Overtime Thriller, 24-23

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MADISON, NJ - Senior quarterback Matt Jeffers (Burlington, NJ/Burlington Twp.) connected with senior running back Brendon Griffin (Riverside, NJ/Riverside) for a 25-yard touchdown pass in the first series of overtime to give the College at Florham Devils a 24-17 lead but TCNJ responded with a touchdown of their own to close the gap to 24-23, however the extra point was wide right allowing the Devils to pull out the victory on Friday night at Shields Field.

With the win, the Devils improved to 2-0 while the Lions dropped to 0-2.  It is the first 2-0 start for FDU since 2004.

FDU got the ball first and marched right down the field to take a 7-0 lead on a 27-yard touchdown run by Griffin.  The drive went eight plays for 66 yards and the big play came when Jeffers found sophomore wide receiver Doug Van Orden (Madison, NJ/Madison) for a 12-yard gain on third-and-seven from the FDU 48 yard line.  On the ensuing kickoff, junior linebacker Ed Coleman (East Orange, NJ/Hudson Valley CC) forced and recovered a fumble giving the Devils the ball back on the TCNJ 33 yard line.  Jeffers converted a third-and-two with an 11-yard pass to junior wide receiver Tim Grey (Ft. Washington, PA/Upper Dublin) before the drive stalled.  Sophomore kicker Travis Mullen (Palm Harbor, FL/East Lake) came on to give FDU a 10-0 lead with a 23-yard field goal.

After FDU stopped a TCNJ drive, the Devils took over on their own 10 yard line.  On third-and-15 from the five, Jeffers was picked off by junior safety Shawn Brown (Long Branch, NJ/Long Branch) who then returned it 30 yards for a touchdown to cut the TCNJ deficit to 10-7 with 2:56 left in the first quarter.  Each offense then went three-and-out and as TCNJ tried to punt, senior defensive back Matt Porricelli (Howell, NJ/Freehold Twp.) came through to block it to give the Devils the ball on the TCNJ 29 yard line just a minute into the second quarter.  On the second play of the drive, Jeffers hooked up with Grey for a 29-yard scoring strike to give FDU a 17-7 advantage with 13:29 left in the half.  Neither team got much going after that until TCNJ got the ball at their own 34 with 1:09 to go in the half.  The Lions drove 47 yards in eight plays to set up a 37-yard field goal by junior kicker Tyler Olsson (Kendall Park, NJ/South Brunswick) with 0:06 remaining that cut FDU's halftime lead to 17-10.

On their second possession of the third quarter, TCNJ started with the ball on the FDU 40 yard line and went those 40 yards in nine plays to tie the game at 17-17 on a three-yard touchdown run by junior running back Justin Doniloski (Rockaway, NJ/Morris Hills).  It was a back-and-forth battle after that, as each team advanced into opposing territory but couldn't get any points.  With 6:14 left in regulation, the Devils took over on their own 16 yard line and on first down Jeffers hit Griffin for a 32-yard gain to the FDU 48.  Senior running back Bayshawn Wells (Lawrence, NJ/Lawrence) then carried three straight times for 17 yards before Griffin had a three-yard run down to the TCNJ 32.  A personal foul by the Lions after the play pushed the ball to the 17 but a false start by FDU made it first-and-15 on the 22.  Jeffers ran for seven yards before Wells carried for one yard and FDU faced 3-and-7 from the 14.  TCNJ then jumped offside giving the Devils third-and-two but Griffin could only muster one yard to make it fourth-and-1 from the eight with 1:35 left in the game.  Mullen came on to attempt the go-ahead three points from 25 yards out but it was blocked by junior defensive back Phil Gatti (Florham Park, NJ/Hanover Park).  The Lions then elected to run out the clock to set up overtime.

TCNJ won the overtime coin toss and elected to defend first, giving FDU the ball.  After an incompletion on first down, Jeffers hit Griffin coming out of the backfield for a 25-yard score to put the Devils up 24-17.  TCNJ then got the ball and sophomore quarterback Nicholas Tyson (Freehold, NJ/Freehold Boro) ran three consecutive times for 15 yards setting up second-and-six on the FDU 10 yard line.  The Lions gained the six yards and the first down on a rushing play making it first-and-goal on the four.  Tyson then ran around right end and stuck the ball over the goal line to pull the Lions to within 24-23.  Olsson then came on for the point after but pushed it wide right allowing FDU to pick up the hard-fought victory.

Jeffers finished the game 17-of-34 for 212 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception through the air while rushing seven time for 58 yards.  Griffin had 10 carries for 41 yards and a score on the ground while catching two passes for 57 yards and a score through the air.  Wells had 11 rushes for 40 yards, freshman wide receiver Anthony Fruncillo (Tinton Falls, NJ/Monmouth Regional) finished with five grabs for 44 yards, senior tight end Beau Reed (Ocean, NJ/Rumson) made three catches for 51 yards, and Grey notched three receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown.

FDU had two stellar efforts on the defensive side of the ball as junior linebackersSteve Hoverson (Middletown, NJ/Middletown North) and Ryan Daly (Tinton Falls, NJ/Monmouth Regional) finished with 17 and 16 tackles, respectively.  Senior safety Gino Abbate (Port Reading, NJ/Woodbridge) had 10 tackles while junior defensive back Steve Margolin (Kenilworth, NJ/David Brearly) tallied eight tackles and a sack.

The Devils return to action on Saturday, September 25, 2010, when they go on the road for the first time in the 2010 season to take on Apprentice in Newport News, VA, beginning at 1 pm.