By Matthew Shaffer
The College’s football team lost a nail-biter to Rowan, 24-20, giving up a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter. The loss gave the Lions a 2-8 record on the season, while Rowan finished at 4-6.
To start things off in Glassboro, New Jersey, Rowan called five straight running plays, slowly marching up the field. That drive put Rowan at the 10-yard line, but it was forced to kick a 27-yard field goal on fourth down.
On the next drive, the Lions answered back with a score of their own. On third and short, junior quarterback Andrew Donoghue found senior wide receiver Vinny Guckin for a 34-yard hookup. The catch set up a 27-yard rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Mark Pacini, making the score 7-3.
Rowan wasted no time and started driving back down into Lions’ territory before fumbling the ball right at the end of the first quarter.
The College stuck to what worked on its first drive, and handed it off to Pacini, who grinded out another first-half touchdown early in the second quarter, extending the lead to 14-3.
Rowan was quiet for the rest of the first half until finding itself in the red zone by the two-minute warning. A goal line stand by the defense prompted Rowan to attempt a 20-yard chip shot field goal, which was blocked by junior defensive back Shane Richey. It was a big play by the special teams going into halftime.
On the first possession for the Lions, the team went 10 plays for 72 yards and a touchdown, draining five minutes off the clock. It was a Donoghue bomb to Senior reciever Jack Clevenger that led to the 13-yard score from Guckin. The extra point was missed, which proved to be a critical point later in the game. Going into the fourth quarter, the Lions were up 20-3.
Rowan received a punt early in the fourth and put together a touchdown drive on a 33-yard reception, cutting the lead to 10. The Lions’ offense went three and out on their next possession and gave the ball right back to Rowan.
On the third play from scrimmage the Lions let up a 70-yard touchdown reception to cut the lead to a mere three points at 20-17.
Unable to get a first down again, the Lions’ offense was forced to punt, giving Rowan the ball with three minutes to go. Rowan drove down the field for 76 yards in only one minute and 47 seconds.
The Lions’ defense was unable to stop them on third down and two, giving up a touchdown with 28 seconds left and putting Rowan ahead 24-20. It was 21 unanswered points, as well as over 500 yards of total offense for Rowan that led to the last minute victory over the College.
Pacini had an impressive day on the ground, scoring two touchdowns while gaining 162 yards. Overall, it was a disappointing season for the College, with the team losing multiple close games and going six games under .500.
The Lions will look to add new recruits and tighten things up in the offseason as they prepare for yet another rigorous season in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.