With the game tied 17-17 late in the fourth quarter, Rowan football’s defense tried keeping Kean University out of scoring distance in hopes to try and win their first game of the season.
Instead, Kean was able to capitalize on Rowan’s mistakes and defeat Rowan 24-17 last Saturday.
Kean started the drive on their own seven-yard line with 2:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, and a slip in the secondary allowed Kean a 68-yard pass and cross into Rowan’s side of the field.
“We got them pinned down. It’s a timeout, we’re talking about, they’re going to run ‘sprint to the field.’ We’ve got a play to defend ‘sprint to the field’ and the safety coming up just comes up too hard and slips and falls,” Head Coach Jay Accorsi said. “I think it’s one of those things that we’re just trying too hard in some instances and it’s hurting us.”
Later in that same drive, Rowan forced and recovered a fumble by Kean on Rowan’s one yard-line, but junior defensive lineman AJ Akins was called for lining up offsides which negated the play.
“The line official said the whole d-line was offsides, which is very, very hard to believe and when they made the call they said it was me,” Akins said. “I’ll take responsibility for that if I was offsides but, I don’t believe I was. But again, that’s something I can’t control. I can’t control the ref’s discretion on the line of scrimmage. I guess I’ve just got to do a better job of making sure I can’t give them anything to call when it comes to that kind of stuff.”
Accorsi found the penalty call to be frustrating as well, but was more concerned with the mistakes the team made throughout the game instead.
“It’s hard down there when it’s that close. It’s hard to see. There’s two other plays where they’re offsides and it’s not called. So, you know, when you’re away sometimes that’s going to happen,” Accorsi said. “But, again, the penalties didn’t cost us the game. We just didn’t make plays when we were supposed to.”
Rowan’s defensive performance stopped their run game. They held Kean to 80 yards rushing on the day, making it the first time Rowan held an opponent to under 100 yards on the ground this season.
“What I’m excited about is we held them to like 80-something yards rushing. We haven’t done that all year. We were giving up in the triple digits.” Accorsi said. “So, we went into the off week and we went into this game, defensively, saying ‘Listen, we’ve got to get back to basics. We can’t let teams run the football. We went in and we did that.”
Rowan fell to 0-4 after the loss and many of the games have been close until the end. Moving forward, the team needs to finish out close contests Akins explained.
“It’s just another one of the games that we played that were very winnable and we were not out of it all until the very end,” Akins said. “We’re technically 0-4, but . . . it would be different if we just got outright beat by all these teams but we didn’t. That’s just what makes it a lot harder on some of the guys but, like I said, we got to just dust it off and realize it’s a new week and it’s anybody’s game any Saturday.”
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