Rowan Football’s defense dominates in 16-6 win over Kean

Jason Blanks gets ready to line up in coverage. Blanks forced two turnovers in Saturday's 16-6 win. - Photo via Rowan Athletics

On Saturday, Nov. 4, Rowan football traveled into Alumni Stadium in Union, New Jersey to knock off the Cougars of Kean University 16-6. The win pushed the team’s record to 4-5 and secured a perfect 4-0 record on the road this season, which was a feat that the team didn’t accomplish last year.

All were shocked to see the 2022 All-Conference First Team running back James Fara make his return in this road game as Fara had missed the past three games due to a broken right wrist.

“I thought Fara played very well for someone who was playing with one arm,” Head Coach Jay Accorsi said. “He did a lot of great things and it was good to see him just being able to get out there… He brings a lot of excitement, energy, and experience to our offense.” 

Fara did return with a club on his right hand but was not limited at all in his first game back. He stepped into his usual bell cow role, carrying the ball 28 times for 98 yards and a touchdown. For Fara, it’s a return that he didn’t think was possible.

“When the injury first happened I was really upset. I thought I wouldn’t play again this year,” Fara said. “Just being able to come back even if it was with a club on it was fun to actually be on the field and play with my guys again.” 

Fara helped the Profs get on the board first, as his five-yard touchdown run capped off an eight-play, 75-yard drive to make it 7-0. A field goal on the ensuing drive gave Rowan a 10-0 lead to end the first quarter.

The second quarter was all about junior defensive back Jason Blanks, as he forced two turnovers in the quarter alone. Blanks forced a fumble at midfield to halt Kean’s offensive drive early in the second and then picked off Kean quarterback Christian Rando in the red zone to keep points off the board.

“We stood aggressive, we overpowered them,” Blanks said. “We know that teams in the NJAC (New Jersey Athletic Conference) can’t match us physically or athletically, so we used all of that in order to control the game.”

The defense continued to make plays in the second quarter, as a snap from Kean’s center went over Rando’s head and was recovered by junior linebacker Chris Rodgers for a 16-yard touchdown.

With Rowan up 16-0 and looking to run away with the game, the flow of the game would change after running back Marlon Boston fumbled the ball with just a few minutes to go before the half. Kean recovered it at the nine-yard line, and took advantage of this mistake immediately, as Rando found wide receiver Dazzy Iannuzzio on the first play of the drive to get the Cougars on the board.

From there, Kean decided to go for two to make it a one-possession game, but the Profs defense was able to foil the attempt and keep the score 16-6.

“We viewed it as an opportunity for our defense to come up big with a stop to kill any momentum that they thought they had and it stood like that for the rest of the game,” Blanks said.

This stop did indeed kill the Cougars’ momentum, as Rowan’s defense shut them out throughout the entirety of the second half.  

Rowan looked to ice the game after quarterback Nate Maiers and the rest of the offense put together a 19-play drive late in the third. The Profs, however, failed to get any points out of it after sophomore kicker Tommy Laperriere missed a 28-yard field goal, but the drive did take over 10 minutes off the clock.

Maiers had another efficient week under center, completing 18 of his 25 passes for 169 yards and no turnovers. Coach Accorsi knows that he’s going to need another good week out of his quarterback in order to get a win against William Paterson on the team’s Senior Night.

“Nate Maiers is playing really well, spreading the ball around to all the receivers, playing great defense… William Paterson is a very scary team so it’s a priority for us to stay on our Ps and Qs for us to win,” Accorsi said.

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