Football Captures ECAC Southeast Bowl Championship
UNION, N.J. (11/21/09) - For the second time in the last four seasons, the Kean University football team captured the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southeast Bowl Championship, defeating Ursinus College, 35-14, on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,979 fans at Kean Alumni Stadium.
Senior running back Jared Chunn (Tinton Falls, N.J.) finished with 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns to earn Most Valuable Player honors, as the Cougars tied the school record for wins in a season with their ninth victory of the year and capture just the third ECAC title in the 40-year history of the program.
For Ursinus (6-5), senior quarterback Justin Decristofaro (Jenkintown, Pa.) passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns.
On Kean's second possession of the game, sophomore quarterback Thomas D'Ambrisi (Eatontown, N.J.) aired it out to junior wide receiver Matt Puorro (Point Pleasant, N.J.) just outside the endzone, as Puorro outjumped the Bear defense to grab the 36-yard touchdown pass, capping the six-play, 64-yard drive with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter for the early 7-0 lead.
Ursinus answered right back with a touchdown, moving the ball 63-yards downfield on seven plays when Decristofaro responded with a 37-yard touchdown pass of his own to sophomore wide receiver Kahlil Pittman (Willow Grove, Pa.) to tie the game at 7-7 with just two seconds remaining on the clock in the first quarter.
Chunn would give the Cougars the lead for good in the second quarter when he ran for a 27-yard touchdown score on a drive that was set up when Kean junior Ricardo Esteves (Tinton Falls, N.J.) recovered the Ursinus fumble in Ursinus territory following a Cougar punt.
In the second half, sophomore T.J. Denehy (Monroe Township, N.J.) extended the Cougar lead after returning an Ursinus punt 65-yards for the touchdown and the 20-7 lead after the extra point conversion with 10:58 left in the third quarter.
The Bears pulled back to within 20-14 later in the quarter after forcing a fumble on a Kean punt return that freshman Buddy Ferro (Clifton Heights, Pa.) recovered at the Kean 17-yard line to set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Decristofaro to junior tight end C.J. Yespelkis (Wayne, Pa.) with just over eight minutes remaining in the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars put the game out of reach with a pair of touchdowns and the Kean defense held the Bears to -26 yards rushing in the quarter to capture its second ECAC title under Head Coach Dan Garrett.
On the first scoring drive of the quarter, the Cougars took over at the Ursinus 19-yard line when junior Rick Brandt (Little Silver, N.J.) blocked the Bear punt that junior Tom Moncrief (Keyport, N.J.) recovered. Chunn took the ball the rest of the way, first with a two-yard carry before breaking the 17-yard touchdown run for his second score of the game. D'Ambrisi competed the two-point conversion to senior tight end Alex Cade (Galloway, N.J.) for the two touchdown lead with 8:30 left in the game.
With just under seven minutes remaining, D'Ambrisi connected with senior wide receiver Derris Harris (Freehold, N.J.) on the 46-yard touchdown pass to close out the scoring.
It was Chunn's sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season, as he finishes his career in second place on Kean's all-time rushing yards list with 3,597 yards, just 34 yards shy of Trenell Smith's school-record of 3,631 career yards. Chunn, who is the only player in school history to record two 1,000 yard rushing seasons, finished the season with 1,189 yards rushing.
Defensively, the Cougars held the Bears to just 39 yards rushing and Kean has allowed just 916 yards rushing all season to set a new school record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a season. The Cougars shattered the old record of 944 yards allowed in nine games in 1995.
The Kean defense recorded 10.0 tackles for a loss of 51 yards and had 6.0 sacks for a 45-yard loss, while also making three interceptions.
Senior defensive end Darnell Butler (Rahway, N.J.) had a team-high two tackles for a loss of 15 yards, both on sacks, and sophomore defensive back Mike Mancini (Lacey Township, N.J.) had six tackles, including one sack for a seven-yard loss, and one interception that he returned 40-yards.
Senior linebacker Kyle Maher (Red Bank, N.J.) made a team-high seven tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss (-8 yards) and one sack (-7 yards), while freshman Justin McLendon (South Brunswick, N.J.) added six tackles, one interception and one pass break-up. Junior cornerback Chris Lauda (Staten Island, N.Y.) broke-up a game-high three passes, giving him 15 pass break-ups during the season.
D'Ambrisi finished 11-of-18 for 149 yards and two touchdown passes, as Harris caught four passes for 61 yards and Chunn added two receptions for 25 yards.
For Ursinus, senior wide receiver Shea Wisler (Green Lane, Pa.) had four receptions for a game-high 66 yards receiving and Pitman added four catches for 59 yards and the one touchdown.
Junior defensive tackle Dave Queroli (Narberth, Pa.) and junior linebacker Joe Galie (Phoenixville, Pa.) each made seven tackles for the Bear defense, as Galie had 1.5 tackles for a loss of three yards. Rookie defensive back Chris Rountree (Lawnside, N.J.) had three tackles and his eighth interception of the season.
The nine Cougar victories tie the 1987 squad for most wins in a season, while the two losses is tied for the fewest number of losses in a season (1974, 1987, 1994).