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No. 17 Montclair defense dominates to best Kean U, 21-7
Union, NJ - The Montclair Red Hawks (4-0,3-0) took advantage of field position provided by D3's second-ranked defense, and converted the advantage into 21 points to defeat New Jersey Athletic Conference foe Kean University on Friday night, 21-7. The 17th ranked defending NJAC Champs relied on defense to get off to an early start. Kean coached by former MSU player Dan Garrett built up some momentum in the second quarter, but the Montclair defense, coming in allowing only 4.3 points per game coming in, held the Cougars (2-2, 2-2) in check to preserve the victory at Kean's Alumni Stadium.
Montclair lost one yard on its opening series before punting, and Head Coach Rick Giancola huddled his offense around the dry board to make offensive adjustments as he usually does. When his Red Hawk offense took over on their own 36 following a a three-and-out defensive stand, QB Tom Fischer finished off the drive with a 19-yard TD pass to Bobby Roessing. Jake Del Vento's conversion put the visitors up, 7-0. After the tough Montclair defense held Kean to three-and-out on the next series, SS Chad Falcoun blocked the punt and MSU took over at Kean's 34. However, the Hawks could not capitalize as Delvento misfired on a 45-yard attempt. Giancola went back to the board. While his back was turned, CB Gary Knoeppel stepped in front of a Tom D'Ambrisi pass on the right sideline and took it the length of the field for a 35-yard TD scamper and a14-0 lead. The quarter ended that way and the Montclair D dominated up until that point.
The ensuing series for Kean started with 15 yards on a questionable call against Montclair on a late hit out of bounds. It seemed to give the Cougars the spark they needed and the momentum swung their way. Kean finished a 60-yard drive as D'Ambrisi (16 of 30, I INT, 136 yards, 1 TD) threaded a TD pass between two MSU defenders for a seven-yard scoring strike to Louis Haynes. Billy Daniels kick closed the margin, 14-7. DB Jamahl Williams intercepted a Tom Fischer pass for Kean and put the Cougars on offense again from their own 36. Kean LB Jerelle Peay, a Montclair native, had some things to say to the Montclair sideline at the end of the play. The Cougars were fired up and started on the prowl again. Kean got within the MSU ten, but Garrett decided to forgo a FG attempt on fourth and goal at the two. D'Ambrisi's pass fell incomplete, and Kean came away with no points for their efforts. It seemed to shift the momentum back to the Red Hawks. The half ended in their favor, 14-7.
No band, no dance team, no
Kean cheerleaders. No entertainment at all during the half time
intermission except watching lights of planes coming from the south out in the
distance behind the east stands land one after another into nearby Newark
Liberty Airport. At least three planes could always be seen at any on time
coming in one after another. Behind the west stands where we sat, every so
often we heard the horns of freight trains behind us before watching long lines
of rail cars probably coming out of New York on their way to somewhere out in
the heartland. Alumni Field sports a modern digital scoreboard on
its northwest corner which featured a short promotion of its athletic programs
and academic achievements of it athletes at the beginning of halftime. One
phrase hit home though, " Division three institution - Division 1 athletic
facilities." And how! I walked across the campus from the main
parking lot to Alumni Field along Cougar Way. What an impressive and
unexpectedly beautiful campus. Most buildings seemed new. The campus
is clean and beautifully landscaped. Walkways are well marked and well lit
when the sun goes down. Harwood Arena is impressive on the outside
and we heard it's state of the art on the inside. Alumni Field has turf
and the aforementioned electronic scoreboard and provides adequate
aluminum stands on both sides of the field. The adjacent baseball field is
also turf and seems to have adequate seating. Its outfield wall reads
"2007 National Baseball champs." We'd been there three years before to
watch the final Pride Bowl game played between Sprint football teams for Cornell
and Navy. The scoreboard was not there then, and we had not taken the
opportunity to see more of the campus that day. In 1985 when we watched
these two teams play each other back then, most of these buildings and modern
facilities did not exist. I recall seeing a high school lacrosse game
played once even before the with a large parking lot behind wooden bleachers
leading up to the gym at that time. The Polish Falcons Drum and Bugle
Corps practiced there in the lot that day. One would never recognize the
place from even a few years ago. The facilities make it look like a nice
place to go to school. With Montclair and Kean primarily being large state
universities in the densely populated metropolitan area, many students
commuter to school daily. The student body turn-outs for this game were
lacking despite the close proximity of the schools to one another and the short
distances of many students living nearby. Last season's game was for the
title and this game was an early rematch between two teams with winning records
thus far. Aside from the 25 cheerleaders from Montclair, there were very
few student supporters in the stands. The transient student bodies seem
counterproductive to stimulating a true school spirit at these institutions.
We feel bad for these kids in that they'll never really get to be
Kean started the second half from their own 28 after the kickoff return. They fumbled at their 45 to Montclair, but again finished with a Del Vento FG attempt that missed wide right. A punt return of 37 yards by Dan Keegan put the Red Hawks at Kean's 26-yard line. From the 24 ,Fischer ( 6 of 14, 2 INTs, 2 TDs, 87 yards) tossed a TD pass into the end zone as Bryon Lewin made a beautiful over the head catch to give Montclair a 21-7 lead. Another fumble halted the next Kean drive.
in the fourth, the teams traded punts and turnovers without either teams scoring. In the end, Kean out-gained MSU, 249-242. The Hawks took advantage of field position for the scores they had gotten. Montclair has allowed only 20 points in their four games and added seven on Knoeppel's INT to this week's total to boot. Next week, The College of New Jersey visits Montclair for Homecoming. The Cougars heads south to play Rowan. CollegeFootballFan.com goes to watch Illinois play Penn State in our first of six straight 1A (FBS) games.
Extra points: For Montclair HC Rick Giancola, this was his 195th win in 28 seasons. In our history, we have never seen him or Montclair State lose. With Giancola as HC, MSU is 11-0-1 under our watch. Overall, they are 13-0-1. The tie was a 10-10 tie with Wagner the first time we saw him coach during his first season at Montclair. Kean Coach Dan Garrett is 30-17 in his fifth season at Kean. He played for Giancola at Montclair from '93-'96.
Montclair started two true freshman on defense. Kean had one frosh start on defense and another on offense.
Montclair's quick RB Chris D'Andrea rushed 19 times for 91 yards. Kean RB Jason Gwaltney topped his yards with 102 on 27 carries. He lost one of Kean's two fumbles.