The Red Hawks delivered their first opening-day victory in four years with a 25-15 win against the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Devils on Sept. 9. The matchup at FDU-Florham’s Robert T. Shields Field marked the first time the two teams had met in 22 years, and only the third time they had ever faced off.
Coming off of a 4-6 season and the loss of 19 seniors, the Red Hawks utilized their youth. Head Coach Rick Giancola started freshman quarterback Ryan Adzima, who was named the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Football Offensive Rookie of the Week after throwing for 135 yards and one touchdown against the Devils .
Senior running back John DiStefano finished Friday’s game with 305 all-purpose yards, the most by a Montclair State player since Ryan McCoach and Rahson Moore totaled 254 yards in 2006 and 1999, respectively. The senior was five yards short of matching the previous Red Hawk record of 310 all-purpose yards set in 1985. DiStefano’s 305 all-purpose yards, along with his 184 rushing yards, were new career-highs.
The Devils were up 15-10 at the start of the second half but the Red Hawks were able to take control, both offensively and defensively, and stop them in their tracks. On just the second possession of the third quarter, Montclair State regained the lead for the rest of the game with 74-yard touchdown run by DiStefano.
The Red Hawks will look to continue their momentum as they head on the road for their first conference matchup of 2016 against Salisbury University (1-0) on Saturday, Sept. 17 at noon.