Bad things come in threes, and the Rowan University football team is finding that out.
For the third week in a row, the brown and gold lost to a New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent. On Saturday, Kean University defeated the Profs 24-10 in what was their final home game of the season.
The Profs’ three-game skid comes right after winning as many consecutive games prior — a streak in which they knocked off two nationally-ranked opponents in Christopher Newport and Salisbury University.
Rowan showed promise on their first drive with back-to-back first downs, but a costly fumble by junior wide receiver Jamel Smith prevented the home team from capitalizing on a good scoring opportunity.
This would be a recurring theme as the brown and gold fumbled a total of three times in the first quarter.
Junior quarterback Dante Pinckney had one of those fumbles, along with interceptions in the second and fourth quarters, the first of which was returned for a touchdown. Since being named NJAC Offensive Player of the Week after the upset over Salisbury on Oct. 8, Pinckney has only one rushing touchdown with five fumbles and six interceptions.
Kean was able to take advantage of penalties and mistakes by a struggling Rowan defense to jump out 21-3 going into halftime.
Despite a good effort from the brown and gold offense in the second half, they failed to come up with big plays and were held to just a late fourth quarter touchdown.
Rowan starting out the season 5-1 seems like a distant memory since their recent three-game skid. The Profs will miss the playoffs for the second straight year, but are still planning to finish the season strong. Seniors like defensive back Bobby Barbieri are not ready to call it quits just yet.
“It was a frustrating game, it was my last one on this field,” Barbieri said. “You come here to play for Rowan, for the love of the game. You’ve got one game left for the seniors, so you go out there and give it your all.”
The brown and gold will face The College of New Jersey (2-7, 2-6) this Friday at 7 p.m., wrapping up their season under the lights for what should be a winnable game.
It will be the 58th time Rowan and TCNJ have faced off against each other. The Profs sit with a 37-18-2 advantage, but the Lions stole last year’s game in Glassboro, 20-0.
The Lions are also coming off their second straight win, a 28-25 quadruple overtime victory at Southern Virginia University. TCNJ started its season 0-7.
Rowan head coach Jay Accorsi will look to get his senior players one last win against a familiar conference opponent. If the Profs want to be successful, they will have to make some adjustments on both sides of the ball.
“Every team in the conference is tough. It’s a shame, but we’ve been so close,” Accorsi said. “We have to muster up a way to feel good about ourselves to play well enough to win again.”