By Emma Tripicchio
The Lions welcomed the Rowan University Profs onto their home field on Nov. 12 for a 7:30 p.m. matchup under the Friday night lights.
Rowan took control early, going into halftime with a 28-14 lead, and holding on to win the game 35-21.
The profs took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but the Lions responded with a 15-play drive that was capped off with a touchdown by sophomore quarterback Stephen Begen to tie the game.
In the second period, Rowan took a 14-7 lead, but a personal foul on the Profs put the ball in Rowan’s redzone. The College took this opportunity and scored to tie the game at 14 apiece.
With less than two minutes to go, Rowan took the momentum back, scoring a 34-yard touchdown, putting the Profs ahead at the half.
In the third quarter, Rowan scored twice more to take a commanding 35-14 lead.
The Lions got the ball back and saw an opportunity to score. Begen threw the ball to senior wide receiver Matthew Macaulay for a 24-yard catch and made it a 35-21 game. That was the last time the College had the ball in their possession.
On defense, senior linebacker Tyler Ludwikoski led the Lions with 11 tackles, while junior defensive lineman Ryan McMGuire had seven of his own. Senior defensive lineman Jared Lyles helped push the team closer to victory with nine stops on defense.
Begen was 11-for-18 on the day, with 166 yards while totaling a touchdown and an interception. Macaulay had four catches for a total of 86 yards.
The Lions held three celebrations for their seniors during the event — the cheerleaders and dance team were honored at halftime, while the football team was honored at the conclusion of the game.
Assistant coach Rocky Hager, who is retiring, received a special send off along with the seniors. He has been coaching at the College as the co-special teams coordinator for the past eight years.
For mechanical engineering freshman Jayson Schmidt, being a player on the team as well as being one of the youngest has its benefits.
“Playing with the team was an awesome experience,” he said. “The older guys on the team welcomed me with open arms and made this team and TCNJ feel like home.”
Like many others on the team, Schmidt looks up to the seniors he has played alongside with this past semester. He plans to build off of what the seniors preached all season long in order to improve for next season.
“The rest of the team and I are going to work hard this off-season and work for the NJAC championship,” he said.