Rowan football ready for NJAC opener against William Paterson

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With the bye week over, there are only a few days remaining until the Rowan University football home opener.  The team is looking to earn their first conference win of the season against New Jersey Atlantic Conference rival William Paterson University on Sept. 16.

When these two teams faced off last year, Rowan’s defense was able to hold the Pioneers to only a field goal in their 26-3 victory. This year’s game will feature two 1-0 teams fighting to get an early lead in the conference.

This is the 46th meeting between the two universities and the Profs lead the series 38-7, having won the last eight contests.

Head coach Jay Accorsi is no stranger to the Pioneers, having played them in each season he has manned the Profs, and will look to add another win to his resume after using the bye week to prepare his team for their first conference game of the season.

The break allowed the team to rest players and gave others opportunities to earn more time on the field.

“We did some things differently,” Accorsi said. “We got a chance to develop some players, look at some different players that didn’t play that much last game and prepare for our first conference battle.”

The Profs will need some help on the field from offensive players like senior wide receivers Zac Frantz and Kevin Lenart, both of whom helped with a pair of touchdowns in the 19-14 comeback victory over Widener University on Sept. 3.

Lenart is looking to keep the momentum rolling this Friday night.

“This is our first conference game, so this is when it really starts to matter. We want to come out and make a statement early,” Lenart said.

Rowan junior quarterback Dante Pinckney will be another player to watch after helping orchestrate the week one win at Widener. Pinckney completed 17-of-29 passes and threw for two touchdowns with one interception.

Pinckney and the Profs managed to seal the victory with an interception late in the fourth quarter by from defensive back Shaquille Lee.

The brown and gold defense will be looking to follow up on an impressive showing. Against Widener, they did not allow any points in the second half. They should continue to enforce their presence against a team that is averaging 7.4 yards per pass and 3.9 yards per rush.

Despite their exciting win to open the season, the Rowan University football team has not changed their mindset as they get ready for William Paterson.

“We just have to take it one game at a time,” junior defensive back Shaquille Lee said. “It’s a little smack in the face that we got picked [to finish] fourth so we just want to show people what we’re made of this year.”

Last season, Wesley College, Salisbury University, Frostburg State University, Christopher Newport University and Southern Virginia University joined the conference. With a win on Friday, Rowan can give themselves an early advantage in the second season of the expanded NJAC and stray away from that “underdog” tag that was placed on them in the preseason.

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