Saturday, September 10, 2016

FDU-Florham Football - Red Hawks run past Devils 25-15, in Home Opener

Photo Courtesy of FDU-Florham Athletics
MADISON, NJ – Despite grabbing the lead at half time, the Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham football team struggled to stop Montclair State University's running game and dropped a 25-15 decision in the season opener on Friday, Sept. 9 at Robert T. Shields Field.

The Devils fell to 0-1 on the season as the Red Hawks rose to 1-0.

Montclair struck early in the first quarter as freshman quarterback Ryan Adzima dropped off a short pass to John DiStefano, who weaved his way through the Devils' defense and broke several tackles en route to a 70-yard touchdown. Kicker Frank Schneeberger made the extra point to give the Red Hawks a 7-0 lead.

The Red Hawks widened their lead at the start of the second quarter as Schneeberger connected on a field goal from the 33-yards out to put Montclair up, 10-0.

However, the tides soon changed as the Devils took advantage of several Montclair penalties. Sophomore quarterback Joey McCain threw a nine-yard pass to sophomore running back Marquis Wright who dashed up the sideline and into the end zone, which capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive.

With a thunderous roar from the crowd, momentum shifted in favor of the Devils. FDU-Florham lined up for the extra point attempt but instead ran a fake that allowed freshman Robert Madison to receive the snap and dash into the end zone for a successful two-point conversion which put the Devils within two at 10-8.

The Devils excitement only continued from there when freshman kicker Nick Maciejewski recovered his own onside kick to put the Devils back in possession. But the Red Hawks defense responded by turning away the Devils' offense on the ensuing possession.

With 4:53 left in the third quarter, McCain hurled a 24-yard pass to freshman tight end John Pellegrini for the go-ahead touchdown in a drive that went 52 yards on 10 plays. Following a Maciejewski extra point, the Devils claimed a 15-10 lead.

Still, the Red Hawks defense was relentless and completely shut down the Devils' rushing game in the second half. The physical defensive effort prevented the home Devils from scoring over the game's final 30 minutes.

Montclair's DiStefano came up in the clutch, scoring on the first play of the second half by spinning his way out of four tackles and running 74 yards for his second touchdown of the night. The Red Hawks finished out the third quarter with a 19-yard safety that put them up, 18-15.

The Devils were never able to recover as DiStefano once again sealed the deal with a two-yard rush touchdown. Schneeberger's extra point closed out the game, 25-15, in favor of Montclair, dealing Adzima his first collegiate victory.

McCain threw for 223 yards in his first game as the Devils' starter and senior wide receiver Esaun Mobley picked up five receptions for 75 yards.

The Devils return to Robert T. Shields Field on Friday, Sept. 16 against Widener University at 7 p.m.

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