The Montclair State University football team could not finish business in a 14-6 loss to the ranked Delaware Valley University Aggies. One of the main struggles of the game was penalties as Montclair State had 13 penalties totaling 108 yards. Despite a valiant effort from the defense, the Red Hawks couldn’t finish the job.
Sophomore quarterback Mason Murdock ended the game with 13 completions for 121 yards and a touchdown. The rushing game was led by junior running back Makai Mickens who had 13 rushing attempts for 40 yards.
“It wasn’t an ideal game at all,” Mickens said. “But it’s something we can build on in the future. This is a ranked team and obviously, we didn’t get our way. We saw some good things. We saw some bad things most of the time.”
The Red Hawks’ offense struggled with turnovers as well. They had four fumbles, three of which were lost in the first quarter alone, along with an interception.
“When you’re going against a team like this, those mistakes kill us and kill us,” Mickens said. “That just shoots us in the foot and puts the defense in a bad position every single time. We just have to capitalize on those mistakes and can’t do that against a team like this.”
On the other side of the ball, the defense played a hard-fought game showing little signs of fatiguing or giving up. Despite giving up two touchdowns, the defense was able to record a sack by senior defensive lineman Dimitri Pali and an interception by sophomore defensive back Kimani Carrington.
Team captain and graduate student defensive back Mike Ramos commented on the loss.
“That’s a tough loss to have right here,” Ramos said. “I’m truly proud of everybody. Our defense, we played our tails off, our offense stuck with it and put one in at the end. It’s one of those [games] that you’re going to remember the rest of the season. But, it’s not going to change our mentality, we’re going to come back to work Monday and work harder.”
Ramos was a true leader today as he led the team with seven solo tackles, three of which were for a loss of yards and had two broken-up passes.
“I’m just one guy out of eleven,” Ramos said. “My teammates put me in good positions, they do their job and all [I’ve got to] do is my job. When I have big games like that, it’s all because of the other 10 guys out there.”
The offense showed signs of life late into the fourth quarter when senior wide receiver Clarence Wilkins scored the team’s only touchdown.
“[It doesn’t] matter where we are in the game, what the score is, we keep pounding, and that was the energy on the sideline,” Ramos said. “Unfortunately, our defense couldn’t get another stop. But, you know, it’s the nature of the game. It happens and you gotta just keep pushing through.”
While the Red Hawks would like to forget this game, they won’t. They want to use what happened in the loss to better themselves for next week and learn from their mistakes.
When asked what the mindset is going into next week, Mickens was pretty clear.
“To dominate and recuperate from this game and understand what we did wrong,” Mickens said.
The Red Hawks look to rest this Sunday but will be back to work Monday preparing for the next game. The team is staying optimistic and not letting this loss affect their mentality.
“Next week we got Salve Regina [University], [we’ve got to] rest up,” Ramos said. “Come Monday, we’ll have the game plan set and have the same mentality. Keep pounding, keep pushing. This week’s over and we got more games to play.”
As Ramos said, the Red Hawks take on the Salve Regina Seahawks next week in Newport, Rhode Island on Saturday, Sept. 17.