Montclair, N.J. (11/16/13) – Rookie Danzel Nieves picked up a pair of third quarter touchdowns to send the Montclair State University football team past Kean University by the final of 21-14 in the season finale for both on Saturday evening.
Sophomore quarterback Robert Meade III (pictured left) accounted for both Kean touchdowns as he rushed for 165 yards and a score while throwing for 97 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars finished the year at 2-8, 1-6 in the NJAC.
Senior running back A.J. Scoppa added a 60-yard touchdown run as the Red Hawks finished the year at 4-6 overall, 3-4 in the NJAC. Montclair, which improved to 32-7 all-time against the Cougars, finished the year winning three of its final four contests.
Tied 7-7 at halftime, Montclair State's Billy Merz returned the second-half kickoff 52 yards to the Kean 38 giving MSU great field position. Nieves ripped off a 13 yard run to the 25 on the first play however Montclair stalled and attempted a 36-yard field goal attempt. The snap on the kick was low however junior Anthony Mannato turned the misfortune for the Red Hawks into a 17 yard run down to the Kean 2. Nieves, who ran 23 times in the game, barreled in from a yard out on the next play giving Montclair State a 14-7 lead with 11:34 left in the third.
Kean got the ball back and used a fake punt on fourth down from its own 22 getting a first down as Jonathan Schmitt rumbled 18 yards to the Kean 40. The drive would eventually end and a punt pinned Montclair at its own 15.
The Red Hawks then used on a 12-play, 85-yard drive. Nieves had a 15-yard run to the MSU 32 and Ryan Davies hit Aaron Williams for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-7 out to the 48 yard line. A face-mask penalty and a 19 yard run by Nieves moved the ball to the Kean 19. Davies connected with Williams on an 11-yard gain to the Kean 8 leaving MSU a yard shy of the first down. MSU elected to go for it and Davies delivered with a two-yard sneak. Nieves scampered around the right side on the next play for the touchdown as Montclair State led 21-7 with 58 seconds to go.
Kean would answer immediately with a 73-yard drive that was covered mostly by Meade. He ripped off a 17 yard run on the first play and later added a 20 yard on 3rd-and-1 to the MSU 17. Meade found Michael Gallant for nine yards to the MSU 8 and then ran twice, the second a 2 yard plunge for the touchdown as Kean cut the lead to 21-14 with 12:01 to play in the fourth.
Montclair was forced to punt on its next possession however Mike Borrelli pinned the Cougars at their own 8 with 8:32 left. Meade had a 19-yard run to the 27 and later rushed for seven more yards setting up a 3rd-and-6 from the Kean 31. Montclair linebacker Adnan Sakiri then charged in off the right side sacking Meade for an 11-yard loss forcing the Cougars to punt the ball away.
Kean would get one last chance with 1:03 to play and moved to ball to its own 42 yard line before a mishandled snap on 4th-and-1 ended the game.
Montclair State jumped out to a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter as Scoppa raced around the right end and pulled away from several defenders for a 60-yard touchdown. He finished with 84 yards on eight carries.
Kean tied the game in the second quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Meade to Dominic Trimarco capping a nine-play, 75-yard drive.
Defensively seniors Matt Clerk (pictured right) and Bob Klecha led the defense, both with six tackles a piece. Clerk recorded one sack for a loss of 11 yards while Klecha added two tackles for a loss.