Daniels’ 26-yard FG Lifts Kean Over Rowan in 2OT

Daniels' 26-yard FG Lifts Kean Over Rowan in 2OT

UNION, N.J. (10/31/09) - Sophomore Billy Daniels (Ridgewood, N.J.) kicked a 26-yard field goal in the second overtime to lift the Kean University football team to a 23-20 victory over Rowan University in a key New Jersey Athletic Conference match-up on Saturday afternoon.

Daniels had field goals in both overtimes, as the Cougars (7-1, 7-0 NJAC) remain undefeated in the conference and gave Head Coach Dan Garrett his 26th career coaching victory, breaking the school-record of 25 wins, in just his fourth season at the helm of the program.  It is also the second straight season the Cougars have won at least seven games, and third time in the last four years Kean has won seven games.

After Rowan (6-2, 5-2 NJAC) took a 10-point lead late in the third quarter, the Cougars tied the game following a Daniels' field goal and a one-yard TD run by sophomore quarterback Thomas D'Ambrisi (Eatontown, N.J.), and the Profs missed a potential game-winning field goal as time expired to force overtime.

Trailing 17-7 entering the fourth quarter, the Cougars trimmed the deficit to one score following a 22-yard field goal by Daniels, capping the nine-play, 59-yard drive with just under 10 minutes remaining.

The Cougar defense forced Rowan to punt from deep in their own territory following a three-and-out, and the Cougars took over near midfield following a 12-yard return by sophomore T.J. Denehy (Monrow Township, N.J.) with 8:12 remaining in the game. 

Kean's ground attack moved the offense down to a first-and-goal at the Rowan three-yard line, as senior running back Jared Chunn (Tinton Falls, N.J.) carried the ball five times for 32 yards and D'Ambrisi added five carries for 18-yards, punching the ball in from one-yard out to tie the game with just 1:49 remaining in the game.

Rowan was again forced to punt after just three plays, allowing the Cougars to take over at their own 13-yard line with 1:09 remaining following a 52-yard punt from senior Andrew Smith (Howell, N.J.).  However, Rowan caught a break with what could have been a costly Cougar mistake, as junior linebacker Jerome Gordon (Browns Mills, N.J.) intercepted a pass at the Kean 23-yard line with just 64 seconds remaining in the game. 

The Profs managed only two yards rushing on the next three plays, and after three straight timeouts, senior kicker Mark Getsinger (Deptford, N.J.) missed a 38-yard field goal wide right as time expired. 

In the first overtime, both teams exchanged 37-yard field goals, as Daniels first connected from the distance, forcing Getsinger to match the attempt to force the second overtime session.

The Cougars defense stepped up in the second overtime series, as Kean dropped Rowan quarterback Frank Wilczynski (Pine Hill, N.J.) for a five-yard loss on the first play.  Two plays later, Wilczynski completed a five-yard pass to sophomore tight end Kevin DelleDonne (Summit, N.J.) to move the back to the 23-yard line and set-up the 40-yard field goal attempt by Getsinger.  The kick was wide right, and the Cougars took over on their series needing just a field goal to win.

A Rowan face mask penalty on second play of the ensuing drive gave the Cougars first-and-10 at the 12-yard line, and after three straight rushes moved the ball to the 10-yard line, Daniels converted the 26-yard field goal to give the Cougars an overtime win over Rowan for the second time in three years.

In 2007, the Cougars rallied from a 28-14 fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Profs 35-28 overtime win at home.  Last season, Kean nearly rallied from a 30-7 deficit and had a potential game-tying drive before falling 30-22 at Rowan. 

In a scoreless first quarter, the Cougar defense limited the NJAC leading Rowan offense to just 28 total yards, as the Profs were held scoreless in the opening quarter for the first time this season. 

Rowan got on the scoreboard first in the second quarter, taking advantage of short field position after a Cougar punt, as Wilczynski capped the 45-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run midway through the quarter to take a 7-0 lead following the extra point.

On the ensuing kickoff, sophomore Jamahl Williams (Passaic, N.J.) returned the ball 92 yards for the touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 after the extra point Daniels.  The 92-yard return was tied for the seventh longest return in program history and first touchdown return for Williams. 

After heading into halftime tied at 7-7, the Profs wasted little time in the second half as freshman Tariq Gaines (Glassboro, N.J.) took the kickoff at the goal line and returned the ball 100 yards to regain the lead at 14-7 after the extra point by Getsinger. 

Getsinger added a 24-yard field goal later in the quarter, extending the Prof lead to 17-7 following the 14-play scoring drive that began at the Prof six-yard line after an 80-yard punt by Daniels.

For the Cougars, Chunn finished with 26 carries for 93 yards, including 76 yards in the second half.  D'Ambrisi completed 10-of-23 passes for 78 yards and added 12 carries for 44 yards and the team's lone offensive touchdown.

Defensively, the Cougars made eight tackles for a loss of 25 yards, as four players finished with at least 12 tackles.  Sophomore free safety Mike Mancini (Lacey Township, N.J.) made a team-high 12 tackles, including nine solo stops, and had one sacks for a nine-yard loss.  Linebackers Bekim Bujari (Secaucus, N.J.) and Victor D'Arrigo (Staten Island, N.Y.) had 11 tackles and 10 tackles, respectively, with each making two tackles for a loss.

In addition to his 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, Williams (pictured left) added 10 tackles, one interception and one pass break-up from his strong safety position.

Senior superback Ryan Leafey (Westville, N.J.) led the Rowan ground attack with 19 carries for 78 yards, while Wilczynski finished with 69 yards rushing and completed just 12-of-28 passes for 91 yards. 

The Rowan defense was led by Gordon, who made a team-high 11 tackles, including seven solo stops.  Senior linebacker Andrew Yezzi (Franklinville, N.J.) made nine tackles, including three for an eight yard loss. 

Today's game also marked the final regular season home game for the team's 14 seniors:  Chunn, Chris Aquino, Darnell Butler, Alex Cade, Matt Donaghue, Shabazz Green, Derric Harris, Darryl Jackson, Richard Jaeger, Kareem Johnson, Jason Liberti, Kyle Maher, James Manolio and Nick Muzzillo.  The senior class is the program's all-time winningest class, already with 26 wins over the last four seasons, and have posted four straight non-losing seasons for the first time in program history, including three seasons with at least seven wins. 

Kean looks to remain undefeated in the NJAC next week, when the Cougars travel to William Paterson University to face the Pioneers, who are 4-4 overall, 3-4 in the conference.  Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.