The ECAC Bowl game will be the Red Hawks fifth ECAC Championship appearance and its second home game. Montclair captured the Southwest title with a 17-9 win at Dickinson in 1993 and then edged Widener, 15-7 in Chester, PA in the 1998 Southeast Championship. Three years ago, Montclair fell to Widener, 27-18 in the rematch.
Last year, Montclair State defeated Albright 17-13 as Jeff Bliss ( New Milford, NJ / New Milford) scored from a yard out with 2:38 remaining. Senior Ryan McCoach was named the Most Valuable Player of the game as he ran for 140 yards and also scored once.
Overall this will be Montclair State’s 14th appearance in post season play and its first back-to-back trips since a run of three consecutive NCAA berths from 1999-2001. Montclair made its first trip in 1970 as the then Indians captured the NCAA East Region Championship with a 7-6 win over Hampden-Sydney in the Knute Rockne Bowl in Atlantic City. MSU has also made eight NCAA Division III Playoff appearances going 7-8 and reaching the quarterfinals five times, including a semifinals berth in 1981. MSU's overall postseason record is 11-9.
The Red Hawks enter the game 8-2 after falling to Kean University 21-17 last Saturday. It is the 19th time the Montclair State has won eight or more games in a season. MSU’s only two losses have come to Cortland, an NCAA Division III Playoff participant and Kean, which takes on Delaware Valley in the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl on Saturday as well.
Albright enters the game 7-3 after suffering a 34-9 loss to Delaware Valley last week. The Lions earned a share of the Middle Atlantic Conference championship despite the loss.
This will be the second meeting between the teams, but they do share common opponents. Both squads faced Wilkes University and Western Connecticut with each team going 2-0. Montclair State knocked off the Colonels 13-6 in its season opener on September 13 and posted a 38-14 win at Western Connecticut on November 1. Albright defeated WestConn, 30-27 on September 12 and had a 17-10 win over Wilkes in its MAC game on October 25.