EWING, N.J. – After dropping their previous 19 games, the FDU-Florham football team snapped their losing streak and took to the air to trump the TCNJ Lions 34-29 at Lions Stadium in Ewing, N.J. on Saturday afternoon.
The Devils' (1-0) offense flashed their weapons and put on an aerial attack, exploiting the Lions' (0-2) defense. Sophomore wide out Malik Pressley, was the Devils top target and proved to be unstoppable as he picked apart the Lions secondary all afternoon.
Pressley finished the game with 15 receptions for 309 yards and four touchdowns. His jaw-dropping 309 receiving yards broke the FDU-Florham single-game receiving yards record. The sophomore receiver's four touchdowns also tied the FDU-Florham single-game receiving touchdown record.
Throwing to the sophomore standout receiver was senior quarterback, Tyler Maurer, who also had himself an exceptional day on the field, throwing for 348 yards and five touchdowns. His five touchdowns in the air tied a FDU-Florham single-game passing touchdown record.
Despite the flashy numbers displayed by the Devils' offense, to kick off the game, they found themselves backed up on their own one-yard line. A costly mishandled snap on a punt, led to the Lions recovering the ball and eventually rushing for a goal line score.
Following a TCNJ 32-yard field goal, FDU-Florham was down 10-0 late in the first quarter. However, on their next drive, senior quarterback Tyler Maurer dropped back to pass and threw the ball deep on the left side of the field to a wide open Pressley in stride for the 41-yard score.
The Devils defense came up big near the end of the first half, forcing the Lions to punt the ball from deep in their own territory. With good field positioning, Maurer connected with Pressley for a 37-yard reception before finding him in the end zone on a fade route for the touchdown.
Holding onto a slim lead, the Devils defense stepped up again and did not allow the Lions to gain a single positive yard on the following drive. On the defensive side of the ball, Cristian Paez, Tim Francisco and Chris Fitzgerald laid some hard hits on the opposition and remained poised throughout the game. Paez and Francisco had a team-high nine tackles apiece, while Fitzgerald racked up eight.
With the first half winding down, the Devils started their drive near midfield and Maurer found Pressley on the right side of the field for a 34-yard score.
The Lions did not back down and following the Pressley score, they countered with a Victor Scalici rushing touchdown. Scalici totaled three touchdowns and rushed for 94 yards for the Lions.
To open up the second half, Maurer targeted Esaun Mobley twice, but he was unable to reel in the catch. The Devils got the ball back and following a Pressley 42-yard reception, Mobley got another chance and he did not disappoint as he brought in the ball and sprinted into the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown.
Leading 27-17, the Devils defense forced a big three and out. With the ball back in Maurer's hands, he rifled the pass deep to Pressley and the sophomore wide out grabbed it and scored a 60-yard touchdown.
Despite being down, the Lions offense was not phased and Scalici capped off a seven play, 67-yard drive, with a 21-yard rushing score.
The Devils worked to take time off the clock in the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead as they hit the ground hard withAnthony Ognibene. The senior running back totaled 110 yards on the ground on 24 carries.
Unable to milk the rest of the clock out, the Devils were forced to punt and once the Lions got the ball back, they drove down the field and scored on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Michael Marchesano to Nick Craig. TCNJ went for the two-point conversion on the play but was unsuccessful.
Trailing by five, the Lions special teams came onto the field and attempted the onside kick. The ball rolled the appropriate 10 yards and after players from both teams piled on top of it, it was sophomore Tyler Adams who came up with ball to seal the Devils their first victory in nearly two years.