Kean Holds Off William Paterson for NJAC Football Victory, 28-21

Kean Athletics

UNION, N.J. (11/8/08) - Sophomore Victor D'Arrigo (Staten Island, N.J.) made a game-high nine tackles and intercepted a pass just outside the goal line in the final minute, as the Kean University football team held off William Paterson University, 28-21, in New Jersey Athletic Conference action on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Cougars (6-3, 5-3 NJAC) secure their third straight non-losing season for just the second time in program history (1992-1994), while Kean junior Jared Chunn (Tinton Falls, N.J.) finished with 121 yards rushing to break the single-season rushing record.

For William Paterson (3-6, 2-6 NJAC), quarterback Matt Marshall (Burlington, N.J.) completed 20-of-34 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns.

The Cougars scored three straight touchdowns in the second half to break the 7-7 tie and build a 28-7 lead with 14:21 to go in the game.

The Pioneers were unable to get a punt off on their first drive of the second half and the Cougars took over at the WPU 13-yard line. Kean needed just one play to take the lead for good, as Chunn ran the ball in for the 13-yard touchdown and the 14-7 lead after the extra point by junior Rick Jaeger (Hazlet, N.J.).

Kean quickly got the ball back after forcing the Pioneers to punt after three plays. On the ensuing drive, rookie quarterback Thomas D'Ambrisi (Eatontown, N.J.) connected on a 17-yard pass to junior tight end Alex Cade (Galloway, N.J.) and a 34-yard completion to senior James Felton Plainfield, N.J.), the latter of which set-up first-and-goal at the three-yard line. After a one-yard rush by Chunn, sophomore fullback Sean Atkins (Perth Amboy, N.J.) punched the ball in from two-yards out and the Cougars extended the lead to two touchdowns at 21-7.

After the Cougars once again forced the Pioneers to punt after just three plays, Kean again drove deep into William Paterson territory, as D'Ambrisi hit sophomore Louis Haynes (Tinton Falls, N.J.) with an 18-yard completion on third and long. Kean would eventually move inside the 10-yard line on three straight carries by Chunn for a combined 20 yards, however William Paterson caught a break when senior Mike Lamego (North Arlington, N.J.) intercepted the D'Ambrisi pass in the endzone.

The Cougars got the ball right back though two plays later when junior Darryl Jackson (Red Bank, N.J.) recovered a fumble by the Pioneers at the WPU 35-yard line and ran it back 12 yards to the 23-yard line.

The Cougars built a 21-point lead, needing just three plays to extend the lead to 28-7, as Cade caught a D'Ambrisi pass inside the five-yard line and ran it in for the 16-yard touchdown reception.

The rest of the fourth quarter nearly belonged to the Pioneers, as William Paterson cut the deficit to 28-14 when Marshall had a three-yard touchdown pass to junior Joel Rivera (Hoboken, N.J.) to cap an eight-play, 49 yard drive with 10:27 remaining in the game.

The Pioneers recovered the on-side kick right at their own 40-yard line and nine plays later, Mashall had his third touchdown of the afternoon with a short two-yard pass to junior Derrik Rideg (Rochelle Park, N.J.) to pull the Pioneers to within touchdown and extra point at 28-21 with 6:42 left.

On the kickoff, William Paterson elected to kick the ball deep and the Cougars eventually moved the ball out to midfield following a 29-yard run by Chunn before being forced to punt with 3:31 remaining.

The Pioneers took over for their final drive at their own 39-yard line and quickly moved the ball inside the red-zone after back-to-back receptions of four and 38-yards by Rivera. WPU eventually had first and goal at the Kean five-yard line before Kean senior Jake Pew (Sussex, N.J.) pushed William Paterson back to the 11-yard line with the tackle for the loss of six yards. After a pair of incomplete passes, D'Arrigo intercepted the Pioneers' final attempt at the two-yard line to seal the Cougar victory.

The two teams combined for three turnovers in the opening quarter before William Paterson took the 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a nine-play, 44-yard drive that was capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from Marshall to junior Victor Soares (Paterson, N.J.) with 9:17 left in the quarters.

Kean answered right back and tied the game on its very next possession, as they took advantage of three Pioneer penalties for 31 yards on the 10-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown run by Chunn with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter.

On the ensuing possession for William Paterson, the Pioneers threatened in the final minute of the half at the Kean 20-yard line before Marshall was sacked twice for losses of seven yards apiece on back-to-back plays to end the half. Rookie Justin Laguna (Keansburg, N.J.) was a part of both sacks, while D'Arrigo assisted on the second sack to end the half and preserve the tie.

For the season, Chunn now has 1,316 yards rushing this season, breaking the mark of 1,311 held by Tidy Corbett (1998).

D'Ambrisi completed 12-of-16 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown, however he was picked off three times, including twice in the endzone. Cade was Kean's leading receiver, making four catches for 54 yards, as seven different Cougars caught passes.

Defensively, sophomore Jordan Cagle (Mount Holly, N.J.) added eight tackles, while Laguna (pictured left) finished with six tackles, including one and half sacks for a loss of 10 yards, and forced one fumble. Pew added six tackles, including two for a loss of 12 yards.

For William Paterson, Rivera caught eight passes for 72 yards and one touchdown, while Soares added six catches for 68 yards and one TD score.

Sophomore Marcus McKinney (Paterson, N.J.) led the Pioneer ground attack with 53 yards rushing on 14 carries.

Junior linebacker Jared Burke (Egg Harbor Twp., N.J.) led the Pioneer defense with seven tackles, including a sack for 14 yards and two tackles for a loss of 19 yards. Sophomore defensive lineman Dyon Moore (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and freshman Doug Dudek (Rockaway, N.J.) each added five tackles.

The Cougars closed out their regular season at home on Saturday, November 15, when they hosted #21 Montclair State University in NJAC action.