UNION, N.J -- The Kean University football team used a second quarter surge to power past Bridgewater State University by the final of 47-21 in the season opener for the Cougars on Saturday afternoon.
Junior Tyler Rodriguez led the offense with four total touchdowns as he tallied 190 yards on 10 completions with another 86 yards on the ground as the Cougars (1-0) won their first season opener since 2011.
With the game scoreless in the first quarter, and pinned insided their own one yard line following a great punt from BSU sophomore Nick Cidado, the Cougars marched 99 yards on seven plays in less than two minutes. Rodriquez capped off the drive with a 20-yard TD run to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
The Bears got on the board using a drive that spanned the first two quarters as sophomore quarterback Alex McLaughlin capped a 16-play, 63-yard drive with a 16 yard touchdown run, tying the game at seven-all.
The Cougars answered quickly as junior Damian Corredor broke numerous tackles and tip-toed his way down the sideline for a 60-yard TD scamper and a 14-7 lead.
The defense held the Bears deep in their own territory on the ensuing drive and after a bad punt the Cougars found themselves with the best field position of the day at the BSU 27. Five plays later, Rodriguez punched it in from three yards out to put Kean on top, 20-7.
Kean's final score of the first half came on a 10-yard strike to tight end Jonathan Schmitt and a 27-7 lead. Senior Qaudir Johnson highlighted the drive with a 50-yard grab.
Junior Austin Davis ended the half with his second interception of the day, to end any scoring chance for the Bears heading into the break.
Both teams traded scores in the third quarter. A 26-yard Corredor TD run was answered by a McLaughlin one-yard scoring plunge as the Cougards led 34-14 after three.
Kean sealed the game with two more TDs in the final stanza including a 41-yard scamper from Kyree Tyson-Jones.
BSU sophomore cornerback Kyle Dance picked off a pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown to acocunt for the final score of 47-21.
Offensively for the Cougars, Corredor finished with 122 yards and two touchdowns with Johnson recording 116 yards on four catches. Defensively Robert Meade III led all players with 14 total tackles including a forced fumble to go along with a pass breakup. Junior Stephan Lewis registered nine tackles with a breakup and junior Tom Winters provided eight tackles, a sack and two tackles for a loss.
Dance paced the BSU defense with his pick-six as well as five tackles, including one for loss, to go along with a pass breakup. Senior safety David Console recorded six tackles with one going for loss as well as a pass breakup, while senior linebacker Nicholas Salois led all Bears with seven stops.
On the offensive side of the ball, McLaughlin rushed for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Danny Higgins added 66 yards on the ground on ten carries, while senior running back Carlton Williamson rushed for 64 yards on 17 attempts.
Kean rushed for 342 yards and piled up 532 yards of total offense. Bridgewater finished with 210 rushing yards, but threw for just 73 yards and three interceptions. The Bears also converted just 6 of 19 third down opportunities.
The Cougars travel to The College of New Jersey to open up their NJAC slate next Saturday for a noon kickoff. The Bears host Worcester State University on Friday night at seven in the MASCAC opener for both teams.