November 15, 2010 – The Montclair State Red Hawks football team is heading to the NCAA Division III playoffs following their win on Saturday against William Paterson University. The Red Hawks received one of the six at-large bids to the field of 32 teams, which was announced on Sunday. The University will play Hampden-Sydney on Saturday, November 20, at Fulton Field at Lewis C. Everett Stadium in Hampden-Sidney, Virginia. The winner will face the winner of the Wesley / Muhlenberg contest in the second round on November 27.
In many ways this game has been 40 years in the making as Montclair State and Hampden-Sydney last met in the 1970 Knute Rockne Bowl, which back then was the NCAA East Region championship (the West championship was the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, which is now the Division III championship contest). On November 28, 1970 Montclair edged Hampden-Sydney 7-6 in the Atlantic City Convention Center as the Red Hawks—then known as the Indians--stopped a two-point conversion attempt to preserve the victory. A grass field was installed for the contest.
The coincidences don’t end there as both the 1970 and 2010 Montclair State teams completed their seasons 9-1, for their respective years. In addition, the 1970 team began planning a reunion dinner earlier this year to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their championship win with the event scheduled for November 20, which is now the exact day of the repeat match up.
“This was a major athletic achievement for these players,” said Tim Sullivan, the offensive line coach of the 1970 team, who will attend the dinner along with Don MacKay the defensive line coach. Sullivan also remembers well how the team’s coach, Clary Anderson, adjusted to the independent spirit of these contemporary students during an era of changing attitudes. “Both the coaching staff and players blended together to form a successful team.”
The appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs will be Montclair State’s 10th overall and second straight, marking the first time Montclair State has made back-to-back appearances since a run of three straight playoffs from 1999-2001. Last season the Red Hawks knocked off Maine Maritime at home, 38-22 in the opening round before falling to eventual national-runner-up Mount Union the following week. Overall, Montclair State is 8-9 in its NCAA Division III playoff history and 9-9 in total NCAA trips, which includes the Knute Rockne Bowl.
Released: November 15, 2010