The Montclair State Red Hawks hosted the Christopher Newport University Captains in a fight to push for any sort of playoff contention on Oct. 17. Montclair State scored first, but allowed a staggering 22 unanswered points just in the second quarter of the game. In the second half, the Red Hawks responded with 25 unanswered points, putting a lock on a Montclair State victory and establishing a .500 record.
After two punts were traded between each team’s opening drive, Montclair State quarterback Ryan Davies hit wide receiver Aaron Williams for a 31-yard touchdown halfway through the first quarter.
In the following possession, Captain signal caller Tyler Quigley compiled a 74-yard drive that was capped off by a one-yard quarterback draw.
Senior CNU defensive back Wes Austin picked off Davies which eventually turned into a successful 23-yard field goal. Montclair State then fumbled the opening play of the following possession, which would lead to a 44-yard bomb from Quigley to junior wideout Taylor Loudan, turning the score to 15-7 CNU, but not before Quigley pieced together another top-notch drive, leaving the score at 22-7 heading into the half.
The Captains would get the ball back with 1:30 left on the clock, but were intercepted by Billy Shimko at the Red Hawk eight-yard line, ending the drive and the hole that Montclair State had dug themselves into at Sprague Field.
In the following half, Montclair State would hold CNU to just 51-yards off eight possessions and would score on four out of their seven drives.
On the initial CNU drive, defensive linemen Chris Palma and Josh Brown shared a 13-yard sack and Montclair State scored on the following possession. Davies connected with Williams for 27-yards before tailback Denzel Nieves popped off for a 22-yard run and two-yard blast into the end zone, making the score 22-14 with a little over 10 minutes left in the third.
Safety Anthony Mannato picked off Quigley on their following drive and took it to the Newport 15-yard line. Davies found senior fullback Zach Liguori for a gain of four yards, which led to a touchdown and had been successful with the two-point conversion thanks to tight end Nick Ruggiero. The score was tied at 22 with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
Montclair State’s defense stiffened once again as they forced another three-and-out and took over with a 64-yard drive. While the Red Hawks wouldn’t score on that possession, kicker Frank Schneeberger put a 29-yard field goal through the uprights with 12:59 remaining.
Montclair State shut out the next two CNU possessions before stripping backup quarterback Arsaiah Robinson at the Captains’ 39-yard line. On the following play, after the turnover, Nieves hauled for a 34-yard gain down to the five- yard line before bulldozing his way into the end zone to leave the score at 32-22 for Montclair State with 4:47 left in the game.
Shimko picked off CNU once again during the following drive, inevitably sealing the game for the Red Hawks. Nieves graded out at 24 carries for 104 yards. Davies finished with 14-of-27 with 131 yards and Nieves and Williams had three receptions each. Senior linebacker Michael Tenpenny topped the Montclair State defense with 11 tackles plus a sack.
The next game will be Saturday, Oct. 24, when the Montclair State Red Hawks travel to Ewing, N.J. to face the 0-5 TCNJ Lions. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.