Rowan Football Hopes to Build Off Their First win of the Season as They Head to Montclair State

Rowan's AJ Akins lining up before a snap against William Paterson. Akins would record 1.5 sacks in their win last Saturday, bringing his season total to 6.5. Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. - Multimedia Editor / Nick Feldman

Rowan football is heading into this weekend’s matchup against Montclair State University with the wind in their sail after securing their first win of the season this past weekend.

The Profs are coming off a dominant 25-10 victory against William Paterson University and now have a record of 1-5 on the season and 1-2 in New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play. Defensive end AJ Akins, a junior, believes that the victory will mark the turning point for the team’s season.

“I feel like from week one, all the way until this past Saturday, we’ve been building and we’ve slowly been putting everything together,” Akins said. “And, as you saw on Saturday, we were finally able to put four quarters of football together. And now that we set that standard of what we can do, there’s no reason why we can’t continue to do it the rest of the year.” 

Akins registered 1.5 sacks this past Saturday, bringing him to 6.5 on the season. His performance also secured the top spot for sacks in the entire NJAC, putting him ahead of William Paterson’s Nazier Wright, who has 5.5.

“It does feel good. But, you know, you can’t really ever settle. Being on the top is great but, you know, there’s a lot of guys right behind me,” Akins said. “It’s just a motivator to just keep going, not settling for being at the top, and wanting to keep pushing that margin.”

Another player that will be looking to build off an impressive performance is kicker Jake Hurler, a sophomore.

Hurler is coming off a performance in which he went 4-5 on field goals and 1-2 on extra-point attempts. The performance was also enough to win Hurler NJAC Special Teams Player of the Week, and he’s now hoping he can maintain that level of play throughout the rest of the season.

“I’ve just got to keep up my consistency and just keep performing the way I did,” Hurler said.

Head Coach Jay Accorsi was thrilled with his team’s performance on Saturday, but he wants to see the team continue to improve moving forward.

“I think we just played really well in all phases, and that’s what we talked about to the team today in this morning’s meeting. We’ve just continually got to get better, in all phases, and play really good football and give ourselves a better chance to win the game,” Coach Accorsi said.

Rowan is entering this week’s road trip on a four-game losing streak to Montclair State, dating back to 2015, and Coach Accorsi is hopeful that his team’s season-long improvements will change that.

“I think we’ve thought that, even from week one, if we can improve every week and get better and better and better, we could play really high caliber Division III football — you know, conference level, NCAA playoff level. And I think we’re getting closer to that,” Coach Accorsi said. “That’s what we’re hoping for this week. We get better, we have a great practice week and set ourselves up to go up to Montclair, where the last few years we haven’t fared very well against them and we have not played very well up there. So, that’s what our challenge is this week.”

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