Dominant Defense Leads Football to 16-7 Triumph Over TCNJ

UNION, N.J. (9/16/16) – The Kean University football team picked off three passes and blanked The College of New Jersey in the second half to post a 16-7 NJAC win in the Cougars' home opener on Friday night.

Darin Hungerford led the team with 11 tackles, and Nick Sachs had 2.5 tackles for a loss. The Cougars forced four turnovers and did not cough the ball up at all themselves.

Click here to see highlights from tonight's win!

The biggest play of the first half came on a muffed punt that was recovered by Kean's Kevin Stevens, Jr. at the TCNJ 20-yard line. Combined with Steve Ferlisi's 41-yard kick, it was a huge field position swing. Quarterback Charles App completed an 18-yard pass to LeRon Dillard to put Kean on the two-yard line, and 'Wan McCrary punched it in on the next play for the only points of the first half.

First-half time of possession was nearly perfectly split: 15:04-14:56. App racked up 42 first-half rushing yards and 119 yards through the air.

Hungerford (pictured left) had five first-half tackles, including 1.5 tackles for a loss and half a sack.

After the teams combined for 18 possessions in the first half, there were only nine in the second half of the game. Vaughn Scott of the Cougars took the halftime kickoff back 37 yards, and in 15 plays Kean set up Aryeh Moslavi for a 31-yard field goal that made the score 10-0.

The Lions countered with a one-yard touchdown plunge by Mike Marchisano on their next possession, trimming the Kean lead down to three points with 1:08 to go in the third quarter.

With 5:51 left in the game and the score still 10-7, Kean took over on its own 32 yard line. App completed a pass to Dillard for 26 yards to flip the field and then, with TCNJ playing up to guard against a clock-bleeding run, App hit Dillard over the top of the defense for an 18-yard TD that made the score 16-7. Robert Meade III picked off a pass on the Lions' next series that effectively ended the game.

Austin Davis and Stevens also had interceptions for Kean in the game. The Cougars themselves did not turn the ball over at all.

Punter Steve Ferlisi (pictured left) was a big weapon for Kean; the veteran downed four punts inside the TCNJ 20-yard line.

Running back Brian Matthews racked up 125 yards on the ground, and App finished 16-26 with 202 passing yards. Dillard caught seven balls for 94 yards and David Patterson Jr. added 65 receiving yards.

The Cougars will return to the road and tangle with NJAC rival William Paterson University at 1 p.m. on Saturday.