Football Suffers Heartbreaking Loss in Triple Overtime to Salisbury, 49-47
Salisbury, Md. (11/26/11) – The Kean University football team's season came to an end this afternoon after rallying in the fourth quarter and forcing overtime, falling by the eventual score of 49-47 in triple overtime.
Trailing 34-27 in the third quarter the Cougars scored in the final minute of regulation, a two yard run by Darius Kinney, his second touchdown of the afternoon to knot the game at 34-all.
After winning the coin toss in the first overtime, Kean elected to play defense as both teams receive the ball beginning at the 25 yard line in college overtime procedure. The Cougar defense came up big forcing the Sea Gulls (11-1) to attempt a 34 yard field goal after gaining just eight yards in three downs which kicker Eric Hart sent wide left.
It was now Kean's turn on offense as Kean moved the ball into the redzone and all the way to the 11 yard line thanks to a six yard rush from Darius Kinney on third-and-two. Salisbury then stalled the Cougar drive and forced Kean into a field goal attempt, but Billy Daniels' kick was low, hitting into the line, forcing a second overtime.
The Cougars started on offense first and rushed their way into the endzone as Thomas D'Ambrisi started the drive with a 16 yard dash followed by back-to-back four yard runs by Kinney and Chris DiMicco. Kinney capped it off with a one yard run to put Kean on top 40-34. Daniels' extra point was good as Kean held a 41-34 advantage, their first of the game. Salisbury answered right back on the very next play as Dan Griffen completed just the second completion of the afternoon a 25 yard strike to Ross Flanigan. The Sea Gulls point after again tied things up at 41-all, forcing a third overtime session.
The Sea Gulls took the offensive possession and picked up a big first down with their third completion of the day, a 14 yard pass to Juma Richards. Two more rushing plays and the Sea Gulls found the endzone, as Randal Smedley picked up his second touchdown of the day. NCAA overtime rules dictate that in the third overtime all touchdowns scored must be followed by a two-point conversion attempt and Salisbury pulled it off with a rush to go ahead, 49-41.
The Salisbury defense appeared to halt the Cougars after forcing a fourth and 12 but D'Ambrisi found senior Chris Suozzo in the endzone as Kean scored their seventh touchdown of the day to put the score at 49-47. That would be as close as the Cougars would get, however, as D'Ambrisi's pass to T.J. Denehy fell incomplete after a slight slip from Denehy in the back corner of the endzone.
Salisbury started the matchup in Kean territory after a short punt on Kean's first possession. Smedley got the Sea Gulls on the board first with a 14 yard run to end a seven play, 48 yard drive.
The Cougars got right back into things and tied the game right back using an 80 yard, nine play drive. Facing a 2-and-13 from their own 28 yard line D'Ambrisi scrambled to find a wide open Matt Pitarresi down the sideline for a 42 yard grab. Two back-to-back rushes by backs Kinney and DiMicco pushed the ball downfield another 28 yards and put the Cougars in the redzone at the two yard line. After a short loss D'Ambrisi would run it in for his first touchdown of the day.
Salisbury closed out the first quarter with another touchdown drive. After a good kick return put the Sea Gulls into Kean territory, quarterback Dan Griffin punched it in with a one yard run to go-ahead 14-7. The Cougars looked to be driving down the field again, however D'Ambrisi's pass in the redzone was intercepted by Andre Carter. The Sea Gulls used that momentum and capped a 91 yard drive with a four yard run to take a 21-7 lead.
With just under three minutes to go in the second quarter the Cougars used three consecutive big plays, a 35 yard rush from DiMicco (on third and five) and 14 and 18 yard catches from Denehy, the later for the touchdown score to close the gap to seven heading into the break.
Salisbury scored on their first possession in the second half after marching 64 yards on seven plays. They also picked the perfect time to throw the ball for the first time all day, an 18 yard pass to Doug Tisce to go ahead 28-14.
The back and forth affair continued as the teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter.
D'Ambrisi was 15-of-26 for 271 and three passing touchdowns along with a rushing TD. D'Ambrisi is now the single-season record holder for passing touchdowns in a season with 21.
DiMicco finished the game with 155 yards rushing and one TD while Kinney had 61 yards and three scores on the afternoon.
On defense senior Bekim Bujari finished with a game-high 19 tackles, one shy of the Kean single-game record.