Ewing, NJ (10/22/11) – Montclair suffered its first loss of the season as the Red Hawks fell to The College of New Jersey, 27-21 at Lions Stadium on Saturday.
Senior running back Chris D'Andrea (Union, NJ / Union) rushed for 146 yards and accounted for all three MSU touchdowns as the Red Hawks fell to 6-1 overall, 5-1 in the NJAC and into a first-place tie with Kean and Rowan. D'Andrea, who had two touchdown runs and a scoring reception, moved past the 1,000-yard mark for the season becoming the first back to accomplish that feat since Ryan McCoach in 2007.
D'Andrea now has 1,116 yards which is the sixth-best single-season total in program history.
TCNJ led 20-7 at the half, but Montclair State put a pair of touchdowns on the board in the third quarter to take a 21-20 lead. The first of those scores came on a 55-yard run by D'Andrea and the senior running back then caught a two-yard pass from quarterback Drew Cathey (East Rutherford, NJ/Becton Regional) on a 4th-and-goal from the two. Jake DelVento (Island Heights, NJ/Toms River South) added the extra point after each score to put MSU back in front.
The Lions got the deciding score early in the fourth period as Lion quarterback Jay Donoghue (Shamong, NJ/Seneca) hooked up with Joe Falco (Ocean, NJ/Ocean Township) on a 3rd-and-goal from the seven. Tyler Olsson (Kendall Park, NJ/South Brunswick) extended the margin to 27-20 splitting the uprights.
Later in the quarter, the Lions made sure that the Red Hawks didn’t get a chance to tie the game as they ate up the final 7:42 of the quarter after a huge 37-yard punt return by Scottie Mathurin (Mahwah, NJ/Mahwah) set the offense up on the MSU side of the field. Mathurin broke a hard tackle, before dodging defenders en route to a 37-yard return.
Balance was the theme for TCNJ’s offense as Donoghue rushed for 65 yards and Falco chipped in with 56 as both players carried the ball 16 times. Donoghue was also a solid 18-for-30 through the air for 102 yards.
D’Andrea, the nation’s third leading rusher, finished with his 146 yards on 24 attempts. Cathey, making his second start of the season, went 15-of-27 for 146 and a touchdown.
TCNJ got the home crowd into the game early as Olsson connected on a 26-yard field go on the initial drive.
The Red Hawks didn’t waste any time taking the lead as D’Andrea rattled off 58-yard touchdown run, with DelVento adding the point after.
TCNJ came right back on the en suing possession as Donoghue lunged in from the one-yard line and Olsson booted the PAT putting the hosts back in front, 10-3.
A number of key plays fueled the Lions back into the lead as senior Derek Goreczny (Somerville, NJ/Hunterdon Central) blocked a punt that set up a 21-yard field goal by Olsson. That score came an even two minutes into the second quarter.
Senior safety Phil Gatti (Florham Park, NJ/Hanover Park) set up the next TCNJ score as he picked off a pass at the Lion 29 and returned it 60 yards to the Red Hawk 11. TCNJ needed only one play to punch it into the end zone as Falco scooted to the far corner for the score. Olsson again tacked on the extra point increasing the margin to 20-7.
Junior Greg Burns (Hamilton, NJ/Hamilton West) anchored TCNJ’s defense with a season-high 13 tackles as he moved into the top five in program history with 224 career tackles. Nick Bricker (Middletown, NJ/Middletown South) also had double figures in tackles with 10, including six solo.
The Red Hawks are back home at Sprague Field next Saturday, October 29 for their annual Homecoming Game against Western Connecticut at 2:00 pm.