The defense lead the Captains to another conference victory
In a game filled with penalties, the Captains ended with a 13-3 win over fellow New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opponent, the Kean University Cougars.
In 2017, the Captains went into their game against the Cougars with a lot of confidence due to their 3-4 record. The Cougars went on to stun the Captains and dominated them 27-7 in front of their home crowd.
This year, the Captains knew they could not overlook the Cougars’ 1-6 record no matter how bad they seemed. The first quarter was filled with defensive stands by both teams. The Captains’ offense gradually came down the field but was shut down by their opponents’ defense when they got inside their territory.
On the Captains’ first drive, they got down to the Cougars’ 22-yard line after a few big plays, but could not convert on the drive as quarterback Brock Carnes got sacked on back to back downs for a total loss of 12 yards, forcing the Captains to punt early in the game.
Their next offensive drive the Captains started in their own territory thanks to a 22-yard punt return by Garrison Mayo.
Carnes threw three straight incompletions, but since they were in such a field position, Dylan Curran was able to complete a 47-yard field goal to give the home team the early 3-0 lead.
This was Curran’s longest field goal of his career and second longest in program history behind Mason Suders’ 50-yard field goal on Nov. 8, 2014 against Maryville College.
Curran’s outstanding play also helped him earn NJAC special teams player of the week.After a few back and forth possessions, the Captains finally looked like they were going to score the games first touchdown.
Nick Hunter completed a 19-yard pass to Michael Vandertulip to put the Captains on the Cougars’ four-yard line. Two plays later, Carnes fumbled the ball on second and goal after a solid hit by the Cougars defensive player.
Midway through the second quarter, the Cougars blocked Curran’s punt and recovered the ball on the CNU 15-yard line.
The Captains defense managed to forc a field goal. On the field goal attempt from 33-yards, the Cougars kicker missed the kick wide left.
Unfortunately for the Captains, a flag gave the Cougars a new set of downs and they were able to attempt another 33-yard field goal, this time nailing the ball through the uprights, tying the game up at 3-3.
Neither team could put up any more points in the first half, resulting in a 3-3 game at the half.
On the second play of the third quarter, Torin Prentice intercepted the ball giving the Captains the ball back on the Cougars’ 42-yard line.
Just a few plays later, Curran completed a 38-yard field goal, giving the Captains a 6-3 lead early in the third.
At the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter, the Captains pieced together a 12-play, 88-yard drive which ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jack Anderson to Cole Blais.
This gave the Captains a 13-3 lead, which ended up being the final score.
The next drive the Cougars started to air the ball out but were quickly denied as D.J. Wright intercepted the opposing teams pass down field, giving the Captains the ball back once again.
This was the nail in the coffin in the game. The Captains’ defense continued to shut down the Cougars’ offense to close the game out.
Offensively, the Captains didn’t have an outstanding day but they were led by Blais’s four catches for 50 yards and the game’s solo touchdown. C.J. Donaldson also helped paced the offense as he ran for 40 yards off 12 carries.
The defense was the MVP of this game. They only gave up 111 yards off of 64 plays. The Cougars only managed 1.73 yards per play.
Leading the charge was junior linebacker Conner Ryan with 2.5 sacks, four tackles, a forced fumble and two passes broken up. His defensive performance helped Ryan earn NJAC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
Ben James also had himself a day with five total tackles, 1.5 sacks and three passes broken up.
The Captains’ victory on homecoming day helped them improve to 5-2, equalling their win total from just a year ago.
They are also currently 4-2 during conference play which puts them at fourth in the conference behind Salisbury University, Frostburg State and Montclair State. The Captains’ two losses were to Montclair and Frostburg, losing both games in tough overtime losses.
The Captains will return to action on Saturday, November 3, at 1 p.m. against The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J. Their opponent is currently 2-6 and are currently ranked 7th in the NJAC.