Montclair, NJ – Senior quarterback Connor Cox found Malik Morris for a 71-yard touchdown with 5:26 remaining in the fourth quarter as No. 4 Frostburg State got past Montclair State, 24-17 at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.
Jamaal Moratn rushed for a pair of scores as the Bobcats bounced back from a 10-3 halftime deficit to improve to 6-0, 5-0 in NJAC play. Dre'Quan Reed had 13 tackles for FSU, which posted its third straight win over the Red Hawks in the final meeting between the schools. Frostburg State moves to Division II next season.
Sophomore quarterback Ja'Quill Burch threw for 194 yards and a pair of touchdowns for MSU (5-2, 4-2 NJAC), which dropped its second straight after opening the year with five consecutive victories.
Montclair used an early turnover to put the first points on the board. Mauro Altamura recovered a fumble at the Bobcats 25. The Red Hawks got to the FSU 4 before settling for a 21-yard field goal by Hunter Daly for a 3-0 lead a little over three minutes into the contest.
The Red Hawks has a chance to increase the lead as it drove to the Frostburg 15 on its next possession. Facing a 4th-and-1, FSU's defense came up big as Avery Thurman dropped the ball carrier for a one-yard loss keeping the game at 3-0.
The Bobcats tied the contest early in the second as it drove the ball to the MSU 22 before settling for a Jeremy Harrison 39-yard field goal and a 3-3 tie with 12:49 left before halftime. Montclair regained the lead with a 12-play, 74-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown that was kept alive by a penalty on against FSU fourth down after Walter Riley sacked Burch at midfield.
Given new life, MSU took advantage as Burch hit Vinny LoVerde for 14 yards to the Bobcats 9 and Daunte Fletcher for seven yards down to the 2 with 1:22 left. Burch connected with Craig Merkle for the touchdown as Montclair State led 10-3 at halftime.
Frostburg tied the score at 10-10 on its first possession of the second half. Cox converted a third down with a shovel pass to Grayson Boyce while falling down out to the FSU 48. He then hit Morris for 32 yards with a penalty placing the ball at the MSU 10. Morant finished off the drive with a 10-yard score with 10:52 to go in the third.
Getting the ball back, the Bobcats marched 80 yards for its next score. Cox again converted a third down early in the drive and found Morris for 23 yards to the 11. A penalty on third down set up Frostburg 1st-and-goal at the two. Cox was stopped short of the end zone but Morant rumbled in on the next play putting the Bobcats up 17-10 with five seconds gone by in the fourth.
Frostburg tried to add to its lead maneuvering the ball to Montclair 6. After stalling on the drive the Bobcats tried to extend the lead to 10 points with a field goal however Montclair's Rodney DiPrenda, Jr. blocked the 23-yard attempt keeping the game within a touchdown.
The play sparked the Red Hawks who responded with an 80-yard drive for the tying score. Burch connected with Stepp Oziegbe for 24 yards on a 3rd-and-10 and then found Daunte Fletcher for 48 yards down the right sideline putting the ball at the FSU 4. Two incompletions and a stopped run left MSU with another fourth down. This time MSU came through with Burch finding Brian Kowalczyk in the back of the end zone tying the game at 17-17 with 6:21 left.
But Frostburg State quieted that momentum two plays after the kickoff. Cox found Morris around midfield. The receive slipped a tackle and ran the rest of the way for the 71-yard touchdown and a 24-17 lead with 5:26 to play.
Needing a touchdown, Montclair's next chance ended in an interception as Wayne Palmer picked off a pass at the MSU 40 giving FSU the ball with 5:26. Faced with fourth down at the MSU 31, Cox quick-kicked pinning the Red Hawks at their own 1. Montclair turned the ball over on downs with 92 seconds left and the Bobcats took three kneel downs to end the game.
Cox finished 16-of-28 with Morris and Lincoln Ikubuo each catching seven passes for 180 and 110 yards, respectively. Thurman had six tackles while Carl Igweh registered a pair of sacks.
Merkle carried 16 times for 62 yards with Kowalczyk leading the receivers with four catches for 47 yards. Altamura and Brandon Burdge had eight tackles each with Burdge also forcing a fumble.
The Red Hawks head back out on the road next Saturday, October 27 for a 1:00 pm matchup in Dover, DE against No. 7 Wesley College.