Defense Solid as Football Wins Fifth Straight, 23-7

Buffalo, NY (10/17/09) —Montclair State (5-1/5-0) limited Buffalo State (1-5/1-4) to just 93 yards of total offense in a 23-7 victory in an NJAC game today at Coyer Field. The win was MSU's fifth straight as they remained tied with Kean atop the NJAC standings.

Jeff Bliss (New Milford, NJ/New Milford) paced the Red Hawks offense with 27 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown as he became the 10th player in MSU history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark for his career. Bliss has run for 2,011 - good enough for ninth on the all-time rushing list.  Tom Fischer (Livingston, NJ/Livingston) was 20 of 24 for 99 yards and a touchdown and had four interceptions. 

Kenny Murphy (Lancaster/Lancaster) was 8 of 25 for just 53 yards and an interception for Buffalo State.  Matt Pacana (N. Tonawanda/N. Tonawanda) led the Bengals’ defense with 13 tackles, including four for loss.  Eddie Weiser (Grand Island/Grand Island) had five tackles and two interceptions.

Each team had four turnovers and the two teams combined to commit 19 penalties for 186 yards.

Montclair scored first midway through the first quarter after a Brian Tweer (Butler, NJ/Butler) interception gave the Red Hawks a drive start at the Bengals’ 32 yard line.  Bliss found the end zone on a 4-yard run just three plays later.

Kam Johnson (Henrietta/Rush-Henrietta) flipped the field for the Bengals early in the second quarter, returning an interception 16 yards to the Red Hawks’ 14.  Willie Hordge (Buffalo/Forestbrook (TX)) evened the score at 7-7 for the Bengals four plays later, turning a four-and-2 play into a 6-yard touchdown run.

Montclair reclaimed the lead on its next possession, marching 65 yards on seven plays, capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass from Fischer to A.J. Letizia (Dumont, NJ/Dumont) in the back of the end zone.

A pair of Buffalo State interceptions by Joe Schriever (E. Amherst/Williamsville East) and Weiser stalled Montclair drives and kept the score just 14-7 at the intermission.

After a scoreless third quarter, Montclair’s Mario McLean (Boonton, NJ/Montville) sacked Buffalo State quarterback Ryan Lehotsky (N. Royalton, OH/N. Royalton) and Walter McCloud (Union, NY/St. Peter’s Prep) recovered the fumble in Bengals’ territory.  After the turnover, Matt Jimenez (Waldwick, NY/Waldwick) scampered 35 yards for the touchdown to push the lead to 21-7. 

The Red Hawks completed the scoring with a safety later in the fourth quarter on a bad snap that sailed through the end zone on a Bengals’ punt attempt.

Montclair State is back out on the road next week as the Red Hawks head to Ewing, NJ to face The College of New Jersey in the renewal of the oldest active collegiate football rivalry in New Jersey. Kickoff at Lions Stadium is scheduled for 2:00 pm.