TCNJ shocks MSU on homecoming for first win of the season

EWING – The losing streak is over.

The College of New Jersey picked up their first win of the season on homecoming following a 23-20 win over Montclair State. It was the Lions first win (1-5) since last November against Kean University.

Coach Wayne Dickens is now 2-1 in homecoming games as the Lions head coach. He’s also 2-1 against the Red Hawks in his three-year tenure at the school.

“It’s tough in the sport of football, as you have to physically come out and play hard every week,” he said. “When you don’t get that joy at the end of winning, you have to dig deeper the following weeks to come out and play. We’ve been able to do that, and it finally paid off for us. Montclair has a heck of a team – they’re strong at just about every position. The difference was we made some key plays when we needed to make them.

“It says a lot about the guys, and that’s who these guys are. These TCNJ guys are going to do that now when they’re football guys and do it after graduation when they’re out in the business world. That’s the way they are; that’s their make-up. They will always play hard. We don’t always get the success at the end of it that we want, but we’ll play hard.”

Montclair State drops to 3-4 on the season. In addition, the loss snaps their three-game win streak.

As the time was expiring, the Red Hawks quarterback Ryan Davies threw a pass into the end zone as the six seconds were coming off the clock. The ball hit several players hands; however, the ball would fall to the ground as the Lions players rushed to the field to celebrate with the defensive guys on the field.

“That’s a huge play,” Dickens added. “You go over it in practice, but we don’t rep it in practice. You want to high-point the ball, and I saw a defensive players hands higher than the rest. He made sure the ball didn’t get caught in the end zone. That’s what you have to do in that play.”

With TCNJ up 10 in the fourth, the Red Hawks went on a four-play drive that resulted in a 28-yard touchdown reception by Julanee Prince from Davies.

“They’re a good football team,” Dickens stated. “It’s not a fluke, as they were 3-3 coming in here. Every week they play hard, and they were going to make plays. We knew that, and we had to be prepared for that. On that drive, we tried our best to not allow them to,”

Lions junior quarterback Michael Marchesano’s pass deflected into the hands of Nick Craig for a 25-yard TD. The extra point was missed for a 23-13 lead.

“Neither of them were to me, as they were both to Conor,” Craig mentioned. “I went up and tied to make something happen. Luckily, I was in the right place at the right time.”

After an interception by Lions junior defensive back Jordan Rogers in the third quarter, Trevor Osler hit Conor Mulholland for a 22-yard touchdown. With the extra point, the Lions went up 17-13.

Davies hit Aaron Williams for a 3-yard touchdown for the lead. However, the extra point was blocked for the 13-10 lead.

In the waning minutes of the first half, the visitors got on the board, as back Denzel Nieves scored on a five-yard touchdown.

The Lions led 10-0 against the Red Hawks after they had several fumbles that set up scoring plays. First, Brian Nagy connected on a 25-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.

On the next drive, Marchesano threw a pass, which was deflected into the hands of Craig for a 27-yard touchdown.

“It’s always hard to play catch up, but we had the lead this time,” Craig acknowledged. “We knew it wasn’t enough, and thankfully, we were able to go out there and score some more. Our defense really helped us out today.”

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