/seasons/2018/contrib/20180915786ka5

Montclair St. Wins NJAC Opener; Red Hawks Down So. Virginia, 24-3

More news about: Montclair State

Montclair, NJ - Sophomore quarterback JA'QUILL BURCH threw two touchdown passes and junior KASON CAMPBELL returned another kickoff for a touchdown as Montclair State improved to 2-0 on the season with a 24-3 victory over Southern Virginia in its NJAC opener at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.

Senior linebacker MAURO ALTAMURA had a fine all-around game with 14 tackles (12 solo), a sack, fumble recovery and three tackles for loss as the Red Hawks are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2011 and the 30th time in its history. Montclair also upped its record to 5-0 all-time against the Knights (0-3, 0-3 NJAC) in th final meeting between the two. Southern Virginia will leave the NJAC after this season and join the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).

SVU controlled the ball for nearly 10 minutes of the opening quarter but could only come away with three points. The Knights pushed the ball to the MSU 11 on the first possession of the game however a lost fumble on a handoff was recovered by Altamura ending that threat. Later in the period, the Knights put together a 14-play, 63-yard drive that took seven minutes off the clock and got the MSU 2 however it would settle for a field goal from 19 yards by Jackson Hatch. The points were the first for SVU against Montclair since the initial meeting between the two in 2014.

The Red Hawks answered with a field goal of their own. Converting a pair of third downs, Burch connected with Campbell for 26 yards down to the SVU 2 before HUNTER DALY came on and converted a 21-yard attempts knotting the game at 3-3 with 10:03 to go before halftime. MSU came up with a big defensive play as RODNEY DIPRENDA, JR. picked off a Tate Briggs pass at the SVU 36. Montclair State quickly capitalized on it as Burch dropped a pass over a defender into the end zone for WILLIE BARR giving the Red Hawks a 10-3 advantage. 

MSU nearly increased that lead late in the half as it marched from its own 11 down to the SVU 20. Burch hit BRIAN KOWALCZYK for 25 yards on a third down out to the MSU 40 and completed a 45-yard pass for Campbell placing the ball at the Knights 20. SVU would hold forcing a field goal attempt that clanged off the left upright as time expired.

But that missed opportunity was quickly gotten back on the second half kickoff as Campbell took the ball at his own 9, found a crease on the right side and outran the rest of the coverage tip-toeing down the sideline for the 91-yard score and a 17-3 MSU lead. It was the second straight week and third consecutive game in which Campbell brought back a kickoff for a touchdown and now owns the MSU career mark in that category breaking the tie he held with Don Cooper (1968-69) in addition to tying the single-season record.

The defense would set up Montclair's final score. After pinning the Knights at their own 1, cornerback JALEN HARRIS made a diving interception on a tipped ball at the SVU 17. Three plays later, Burch found STEPP OZIEGBE in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown and a 24-3 lead with 6:35 to play in the third.

Barr and CRAIG MERKLE each ran for 36 yards to lead the MSU ground attack that had 114 yards on the day. The Red Hawks finished with 361 yards of offense and held the ball for 28 of the final 45 minutes of the contest. Montclair totaled 31:42 in possession time, including 11:56 in the fourth. Campbell had three catches for 88 yards as Burch connected with eight different receivers in the game. JAKE WEBER (one sack) and BRENNAN RAY had seven tackles apiece with the latter posting two for loss. Linebacker SEAMUS NELSON added three tackles and a pair of pass breakups.

After spending the first two weeks at home, Montclair now heads out on the road for the next two contests starting on Saturday, September 22 in Newport News, VA at Christopher Newport University. Kickoff at POMOCO Stadium is scheduled for 1:00 pm.

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D3football.com Top 25, preseason

The D3football.com Top 25, entering the 2019 season. This is the 17th season of the D3football.com Top 25.

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1 Mary Hardin-Baylor (24) 15-0 624
2 Mount Union (1) 14-1 599
3 St. John's 12-1 566
4 UW-Whitewater 12-1 555
5 North Central (Ill.) 10-2 482
6 Johns Hopkins 12-2 457
7 St. Thomas 8-2 414
8 Muhlenberg 11-2 405
9 Hardin-Simmons 9-2 397
10 Bethel 11-2 396  
11 Whitworth 10-1 336  
12 Linfield 7-2 291  
13 Brockport 11-1 230  
14 Delaware Valley 9-2 223  
15 Illinois Wesleyan 8-2 197  
16 Berry 10-2 190  
17 John Carroll 9-2 168  
18 Wittenberg 9-1 162  
19 RPI 10-2 152  
20 Centre 10-2 137  
21 Washington and Jefferson 9-2 132  
22 Wheaton (Ill.) 8-2 109  
23 Wabash 9-1 105  
24 Randolph-Macon 9-3 91  
25 St. Norbert 10-2 83

Others receiving votes: Trine 73; UW-La Crosse 71; Wartburg 61; Wesley 59; Washington U. 58; Montclair State 49; Alfred 48; Ithaca 42; UW-Oshkosh 40; Central 29; Case Western Reserve 25; Baldwin Wallace 20; Salisbury 15; Trinity (Texas) 10; Hope 10; Redlands 6; Marietta 3; Trinity (Conn.) 3, MIT 2.

The D3football.com Top 25 is voted on by a panel of 25 coaches, Sports Information Directors and media members from across the country, and is published weekly. Points are awarded on a 25-24-23-22-etc. basis.