Montclair, NJ – Sophomore quarterback Ja'Quill Burch threw for 240 yards and four touchdown passes as Montclair State scored off its points in the first in a 28-14 victory over Rowan University at Sprague Field on Saturday afternoon.
Burch connected with four difference receivers for scores as the Red Hawks (7-2, 5-2 NJAC) registered its second straight win and third in a row against the Profs (5-4, 4-4 NJAC). Montclair State improved to 34-34 all-time against the Profs, including wins in 10 of the last 13 contests.
The Red Hawks jumped out to a 7-0 on its first possession of the game as Montclair took over at the Rowan 47 following a short punt. Willie Barr ripped off a 10-yard run on the first play with Burch finding Carsen Johnson two plays later for 36 yards down to the Rowan 1. Burch then rolled out and hit Kyle Phipps for the short touchdown with 9:51 left.
The MSU defense set up the next drive as Giuseppe Gugliuzza picked off a pass at the MSU 38 and raced 36 yards to the Rowan 26. Barr had two six-yard runs with a penalty mixed in leaving Montclair with a 3rd-and-14 from the Rowan 30. Burch launched a ball into the end zone that wide receiver Kason Campbell was able to out-muscle a defender for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 4:59 to play in the first.
Another turnover by the Profs helped the Red Hawks to another touchdown. Linebacker Brennan Ray forced a fumble that was recovered by Jalen Harris at the Rowan 29. MSU moved the bal1 to the 13 before Burch connected with Mike Manzo-Lewis for the score extending the lead to 21-0 with 9:35 to go before halftime.
The Red Hawks final touchdown was a methodical 8-play, 80-yard drive midway through the second. Barr rushed for 17 yards on the first two plays with Stepp Oziegbe pulling in a 23-yard catch on 3rd-and-7 to theRowan 40. Ralph McLean followed with three consecutive runs, the last a 28-yard burst to the Rowan 3. Burch hit Johnson on the next play sending Montclair State into the break in front, 28-0.
Montclair held the Profs off the board until the fourth quarter. Backed up at their own 12, Rowan was able to push the ball out to its 27. Riley Giles found Elijah Rehm over the middle for a 73-yard touchdown with 7:23 left. Rowan missed the extra point however the Profs would get that back and seven more when Nate Lanier intercepted a pass and raced 42 yards for the touchdown. A Giles to Rehm two-point conversion trimmed Montclair's lead to 28-14 with 6:58 remaining.
A penalty on the kickoff backed the Red Hawks up to their own eight-yard line. On the second play the Red Hawks were stopped and were looking at a 3rd-and-9 from its own 9 however a penalty against the Profs gave MSU some breathing room out to its own 24 but more importantly a first down. Montclair used that to its advantage taking valuable time off the clock before punting the ball back to Rowan with 4:04 on the clock.
Rowan got the ball at its own 30 before eventually turning it over on downs. The Profs tried to run a fake punt on fourth down however that pass attempt went incomplete with 2:54 left. Montclair State would run out the clock with Barr converting a third down to seal the victory.
Linebacker Mauro Altamura led the MSU defense with nine tackles as the Red Hawks held Rowan to 229 yards of total offense. Ray contributed six tackles with Brandon Burdge getting five along with a sack. Burch was 22-of-41 through the air with Barr hauling in five for 52 yards. Johnson, Oziegbe, and Phipps had four catches apiece.
The Red Hawks totaled 388 yards of total offense and controlled the clock for 34:24 of the contest in addition to converting 8-of-18 on third down.
Montclair closes out its regular-season schedule next Saturday, November 10 on the road. The Red Hawks will make the short journey to Wayne to face William Paterson at Wightman Stadium with kickoff set for 1:00 pm.