The Montclair State University football team lost in heartbreaking fashion to Kean University on a chilling Saturday night.
The Red Hawks seemed to dominate early in the game, putting up a 22-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but the Cougars of Kean never stopped fighting as they scored two late touchdowns to win the game 23-22.
Penalties continue to be an issue for the Red Hawks as they collected eight flags for a total of 73 yards. Despite the loss, Montclair State put up big numbers on the offensive side of the ball with 289 total yards and two touchdowns while special teams were able to score the rest of the points with a field goal and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown.
Offensive coordinator Steve Sciarappa was able to prepare the young offense earlier in the week to perform on Saturday night.
“The number one thing we’ve been working on is just execution of our basic gameplan,” Sciarappa said. “We have a young unit back there, especially in the skill position group. [We’re] just focusing on the little things, making sure the inches become the feet which will eventually become the mile. They have a great dedication and great focus on getting better every day.”
Nobody on the offense showed more dedication than the standout player of the game, junior tight end Eric Cowan. Cowan caught four passes for 167 yards and collected two touchdowns for Montclair State. One of his touchdowns came from a 77-yard pass, which is the longest reception this season by any player.
“As soon as I caught the ball and I turned around and saw no one was there, I just took off,” Cowan said. “My legs were getting a little heavy on me. The whole time I was thinking, ‘Please don’t catch me, please don’t catch me.’ But I made it happen, it was a good feeling.”
Cowan is also the second player this season to break 100 receiving yards in a game with his 167 receiving yards. He did it with only four receptions.
“I didn’t even know I did all that,” Cowan said. “Like I said, it just felt amazing. I mean I wish we would’ve come out with a win and all, so that kind of hurts me a little bit. But that just feels good.”
Sciarappa was happy to see Cowan have such a breakout performance.
“I wish we could get more of it from [Cowan] on an everyday basis,” Sciarappa said. “It’s a great performance, [Cowan] is such a great young man. [He’s] a really hard-working kid and he’s just been a big event waiting to happen and I’m glad to see it for him, especially that it finally happened for him.”
This loss is definitely one to forget as the Red Hawks look to put Saturday night behind them and move on to the next week. It’s a tough road ahead playing only New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) teams for the rest of the season.
“Just gotta keep pounding,” Cowan said. “That’s all we do. Just keep working going into next week, prepare for [The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)] and so on. It’s all we can do is just keep working.”
Montclair State keeps working hard each week and stays dedicated to the game with hopes of producing wins further down the road.
“As long as they stay the course, as long as they keep pounding, they’re going to get better and the wins are gonna come,” Sciarappa said.
The Red Hawks fall to a 2-4 record and remain winless against the NJAC. They look to get their first conference win against the Lions of TCNJ who sit with a 1-3 record. The game will be next week Saturday, Oct. 15 in Ewing, NJ.